This photo of the Netherlands was created by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the International Space Station. It orbits the Earth every 92 minutes at an altitude of about 425 kilometers. He took the photo on Tuesday, June 1, around half past six in the Dutch evening.
It was a sunny day: the blue and green colors are very bright. It was not raining – some veil clouds (cirrus clouds) moved over the land. The wind was blowing from the east, which can be traced back to the plume of smoke in Workum (Friesland) blowing to the west. If you look closely, you will also see a small dark gray cloud above Oldebroek – close to Zwolle and Kampen. It was caused by a fire there.
It was low tide at the time the photo was taken. As a result, the channel pattern of the Wadden Sea is clearly visible, as is the sand around the islands.
Also striking are the yellow-gray pieces of land in, for example, Flevoland and Wieringermeer. That is bare soil in the arable areas; crops are grown there that only grow later in the season. Satellite images from that same day in 2020 already show many more green fields. This shows that the growing season started later this year than in 2020. It is not surprising that the spring in 2021 was relatively cold.
What is also striking is the color difference in IJsselmeer, Markermeer and Waddenzee. Variations in depth, in amount of sediment and in algae growth can explain this color difference. Deeper water looks darker and water with relatively much sediment is greenish. The Houtribdijk separates the blue IJsselmeer from the green Markermeer.
The large forests, for example the Veluwe, can be recognized as very dark spots. The urban areas are gray. This can be clearly seen in Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, for example.