When it comes to packing for my semester abroad, I might have really made a mistake or two. I just revised my whole packing list and looking at it in retrospective really makes me cringe. Everything in italics is what I think about it now or what I would have changed. I hope this is helpful, as I really had no clue what to bring and the Netherlands can be challenging when it comes to combining style with disappointing weather.
Have fun cringing with me!
The countdown is getting closer and closer to January 30th and I’ve just recently faced the fact that I really need to start packing. In this post I will try to list all the items I’m bringing with me for half a year in Amsterdam.
First things first: I am a notorious overpacker, and always bring a bunch of items I never wear. This trait makes packing a hell of a challenge! Aside from that, I feel like Amsterdam is a very fashionable place – and so am I. I guess it will be extremely hard to stay under 23kg with all the outfits I have in mind.
Yes, Amsterdam is fashionable, but in my honest opinion Dutch people just jump on any trend they can find and wear outfits just like they see them on the mannequins. There’s hardly any original style going on, like you would find in Milano or Paris. I’d say the Netherlands are mainly about athleisure and casual apparel.
I will go to Amsterdam with my big old suitcase, a carry-on (that will be filled with shoes) and one personal item only.
This worked out but it was definitely a close one. I think my luggage totaled up to be 22.5 kg!
But what about summer clothing? Well, my plan is to set up a box of summer clothing now and then have my family mail it to me later. That or I’ll try to get a cheap flight deal and get it myself.
I went home over the weekend in April and got my summer clothing myslef which was the biggest mistake ever. There was one super sunny week before I flew to Austria, which eld me to believe that it was going to get warmer soon. HAHAHA I was so stupid to believe that. Honestly, I would not bring any summer items at all, besides some basic shorts and some cute tops but that’s it. The weather in the Netherlands sucks really bad.
Anyways, I tried cutting it down to my most essential items and clothing I will really wear.
Here’s my list on what I’m bringing for half a year in Amsterdam:
- Tops: 4 knit sweaters, 2 turtlenecks (literally the most worn item in my closet), 1 nice blouse (I actually hate wearing blouses but I’m bringing one just in case I have to look formal at some point), 4 T-shirts, 2 knit cardigans. Bring more layers and forget about blouses and ‘nice clothing’.
- Bottoms: 3 pairs of black pants (Honestly, I wear black pants 99% of the time). This worked fine but I could have brought some more comfy pants.
- Jackets: my big ol’ Canada Goose parka, my light Moncler down jacket, my black formal coat. I think I could have skipped my balck coat. I honestly spent February till April in my big parka because it was sooooo cold and windy all the time.
- Underwear: I’m definitely not going to list every single undergarment I’m bringing with me here. But I’m bringing a lot.
- Hosiery: lots of thicc socks and some sneaker socks (cold around the ankle but so fashionable), 2 pairs of black tights (for a night-out yay). Forget about the tights, I think I only wore a skirt like 2 times during the 5 months there.
Clothing for a Night Out
- Dresses: 1 nice short dress. Forget it!! Amsterdam is not about dressing up at all.
- Tops: 1 long sleeve bodysuit, 2 short sleeve bodysuits, 2 nice tops. Skip all of that too.
- Dresses: 3 day dresses. Forget it, forget it, forget it.
- Tops: 3 crop tops, 3 summer tops. Nope.
- Bottoms: 2 shorts, 2 skirts, 2 flowy summer pants. Not worn once.
- 1 bikini (Holland has a beach after all, duh). Haha, how stupid was I to think I would need a bikini?!
- Winter stuff: my big scarf, a regular beanie, gloves. That was all well needed.
- Some basic jewellery: dainty necklace, bracelets, my watch. Forget about it.
- Purses: Longchamp Le Pliage, Furla Metropolis shoulder bag, small wallet. Yes.
- sunglasses. I don’t care whether it’s raining, hailing or sun is shining – I will wear them.
- Boots: big Zara boots with pearls, Uggs. Big yes.
- Trainers: Nike Free trainers. Wore them through most of spring.
- my beloved Birkenstock sandals. Worn once.
- flip flops (even though I might bring these in winter already and use them at my dorm). Yes, needed for the filthy dorm kitchen.
- Medication: birth control, vitamins (especially Vitamin C as this boosts your immune system!), band-aids, some pain meds and hangover remedies. Bring that Vitamin C!! People get sick very easily in Holland cause it’s always cold and windy.
- Dental stuff: my electric toothbrush + replacement heads, toothpaste
- Nivea cream (my all-time favorite for all body parts!)
- Skin Care Routine: face wash (fresh soy flace cleanser), face cream (Bepanthenol),
- Hair care: full size shampoo + conditioner (this might even last me for 6 months as I only have to wash my hair once a week, believe it or not), hair brush, straightener, curling wand, shower cap (Yes, I use this every single day, because of the fact that, well, I wash my hair only once a week). Worked out well.
- Make up bag: foundation, brow liner, masacara, eyelash curler, basic eye palette, bronzer, highlighter, nude lipstick, some basic brushes, tweezers, make up remover wipes. Honestly, I should not have brought any make up, no one hardly ever puts it on, even for going out.
- Nail stuff: nail file, cuticle remover and a nude polish
- Personal hygiene stuff: tampons, pads, cotton pads, q-tips etc.
- Eye stuff: contact lenses, lens solution, lens case, glasses
- some trash bags (not only for trash but also to store things in when traveling)
All types of toiletries and so on are ridiculously expensive in Holland. Everything costs about 2-3€ more! So my tip for this is: bring as much toiletries, make up, hygienic stuff from your home-country as you can!
- ringbinder with all important documents
- pencilcase: some pens, highlighters
- USB flash drive
- MacBook + charger
- iPhone chargers
- one of these pop-up laundry bags
Pro Tip: Get some of these vacuum bags! Yes, the ones you see on TV! They are sooo helpful when it comes to packing. Especially winter clothing and heavy knits take up so much space on the suitcase. When you put them in the vacuum bags they only take up about a third of the initially required space. These worked fine, but one of them popped when I was packing up my bags in June, so that made the whole process a lot harder, as I still had loads of thick knitwear.
Anyway, that’s it for now. Wow, that list sure is long and my suitcase sure will explode. It was really hard to cut down my necessities and not weigh in heavier than 23kg.
I will revise this list when my journey has ended and let you know which items I could have skipped and what I should have brought!
Any recommendations on things I forgot and should add to this list?
So yeah, I hope this was helpful to some of you. I honestly think that it is so hard to pack the right things for a trip that is so long, but after all it all worked out well. Life in Holland is ridiculously expensive, so do make sure to bring stuff from back home!