I have the possibility of a last-minute trip to the Netherlands and Belgium in early February of next year as I've found a conference I can attend in Amsterdam at that time. I've been looking at guidebooks and information online, but most of it is geared towards travelling during high season (or at least, not in the winter). I'm just wondering what to expect weather-wise. The cold doesn't bother me (I'm Canadian after all), but strong winds and rain/snow might. Is there much chance of snow on the ground at that time? Frozen canals? I'm trying to figure out a trip that has nice options for photography, but with good alternatives (museums, galleries, etc) in case the weather throws a wrench in the works. I like the bleak and minimalist aspect that winter brings, so that's not a big issue (blue sky, colourful pretty postcard pictures are not what I usually shoot). I'll be travelling by train for the most part, although I'm open to renting a car to get out into the countryside, if worthwhile, for interesting landscapes/small towns. I've been to the Netherlands before, having spent time in Amsterdam, Keukenhof gardens (it was late April), and Texel. I'll be in Amsterdam 2 days for the conference at the end of my trip, plus one more for museums and photography. Prior to that I'll have 7-10 days for (mostly) Belgium as I've never been there before. At the moment I'm thinking of spending 1-2 days each in Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and possibly Brussels. In all likelihood I would stay in one place (like Ghent) and day trip from there, avoiding having to check in and out of hotels all the time. The only thing I'm worried about is the weather (if stay somewhere locally at least I can head back to the hotel to warm up/dry off/change and/or rest) and having to lug my tripod around during the day, mostly because I would like to get some evening/night shots of various buildings/streets. Also I'm looking at one or two places in the Netherlands to visit before heading back to Amsterdam (Delft and/or Leiden probably, although I'm open to other suggestions). I noticed that I will be there during Carnaval, which I would like to see and experience, particularly in Binche, if only for the day (hotels are already sold out, but nearby towns still have availability), but it's not a deal breaker. If I do go, that means any other trips within the Netherlands would have to be cut. I'm open to other suggestions though, for either country. As usual, this is getting wordy, but basically I'd like any suggestions about what to see and do at this time, and if my itinerary makes sense (or not) given the time of year I'll be travelling and for interesting photo opportunities.