Holland hit by heavy snow

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Heavy snow storms have brought Amsterdam and other Dutch cities to a standstill.

The national meteorological institute (KNMI) issued a weather warning on Friday afternoon, calling on people to avoid travelling. In the middle of the Friday rush hour, thousands of cars got stuck on motorways near Utrecht and Rotterdam. Up to 10 cm of snow has fallen in the western half of the country, and the east will be affected too, making major traffic arteries unpassable.

Rail services had just returned to normal following disruption in Utrecht, the central hub of the train system, when the snow set in and led to widespread delays. Amsterdam has cancelled all of its bus services, as have bus companies in some rural areas.

Weather forecasters say the snow is likely to continue throughout the weekend, with temperatures remaining below freezing until Monday.

It's the second period of significant snowfall in Holland this season, despite the country's reputation for relatively mild and wet winters.