Did you know that average temperatures in the Netherlands have risen by almost 2 degrees in the last hundred years? That's faster than the average global warming registered across Europe. This, and the rising water levels, will no doubt have adverse affects on the low-lying Cloggies, but let me tell you a secret... come a little bit closer, children...
... the Netherlands is just AWESOME in summer. And I don't mean summer as in "the months between spring and autumn", but rather summer as in those few days where the wind dies down briefly and it doesn't rain for 48 straight hours. When the temps rise to 25 degrees or above, which (if the average temp stats are right) is going to happen more and more frequently. Throw in the long summer evenings (the sun only sets as late as 10.30pm), and you've got yourself a wonderful recipe for bliss.
I think I can categorically state that cycling around The Hague in this weather is one of the best feelings of contentment that you are ever likely to experience. Couple this with the fact that it's been school holidays, and the working hours become known as 'Komkommertijd' (rough translation: very quiet and unproductive because you can't get anything done due to lack of work force).
It's almost impossible to get any service during July and August as shops, restaurants and service providers all go on holiday. Generally for an entire month. No replacements or skeleton staff, simply pop a sign on the door and close up for a few weeks (don't even bother with an exact date: "we should reopen around the beginning of September.." will suffice). Our GP just changed his outgoing voice message - stating how long he would be away and leaving a number to contact a hospital in his absense. How do you think this would sit in South Africa?
Frustrations over the service industry aside, komkommertijd is probably my best time of year in the Netherlands. It's similar to staying in Joburg over Christmas and New Year. What a pleasure.
Unfortunately, these factors of maximum temperatures and minimal people only combine perfectly for a few all-too-short weeks, and then it'll be back to dodging gaggles of spotty teens on their way to school. Until then, let me reiterate: summer in the Netherlands is just... sublime.