A comparison of well-dated and well-documented aeolian records from the Younger Dryas and model simulations executed with an Atmospheric General Circulation Model (AGCM) shows that during this marked cold interval depositional winds in northwestern and central Europe came from westerly quadrants. Two AGCM grid cells representing The Netherlands and central Poland are compared. Whereas in The Netherlands extensive river dunes were formed, in Poland the Younger Dryas is considered a phase of remodeling and limited aeolian activity. This regional contrast may be explained by differences in the surface wind climate, differences in sediment supply by dissimilar river types and differences in the vegetation cover. The model simulations show that wind speeds were higher in The Netherlands than in central Poland due to the proximity of the ocean. Aeolian landforms indicate that during the Younger Dryas in The Netherlands depositional winds came from the SW to W, whereas in central Poland W winds dominated. Model experiments support these observations. It is suggested that aeolian processes primarily took place during the winter season.