The intensity and occurrence of extreme weather events are expected to change with climate change. This change necessitates adaptive responses to extreme events, which need to take into account different societal perspectives, in order to be robust. In this paper, we explore the perspectives of different social actors in the Netherlands with respect to extreme weather events and ways to adapt to these events. The paper reports on a set of 41 interviews, using the repertory grid technique. The results were analyzed, to identify (a) the perspectives that stakeholders hold as most important for adaptation to extreme weather events; (b) the determinants of differences in perspectives. We find six different perspectives, all of which prioritize different adaptive actions. Producing robust adaptive responses which include different perspectives is therefore not a straightforward matter and is likely to result in win-lose situations. Further, differences in perspectives were not closely related to different sectors the interviewees belonged to. Thus, the traditional approach of involving different sectors to discuss and produce adaptation measures may be too limiting and needs to be supplemented to involving actors with different perspectives. The level of concern and level of information influenced the ways interviewees perceive adaptation priorities for extreme weather events. Participation in information events does not always result in perceived need to prepare for extreme events, something that adaptation communication needs to take into account. © 2013 The Author(s).