The science of seasonal predictions has advanced considerably in the last decade. Today, operational predictions are generated by several institutions, especially for variables such as (sea) surface temperatures and precipitation. In contrast, few studies have been conducted on the seasonal predictability of extreme meteorological events such as European windstorms in winter. In this study, the predictive skill of extra-tropical wintertime windstorms in the North Atlantic/European region is explored in sets of seasonal hindcast ensembles from the Development of a European Multimodel Ensemble System for Seasonal-to-Interannual Prediction (DEMETER) and the ENSEMBLE-based predictions of climate changes and their impacts (ENSEMBLES) projects. The observed temporal and spatial climatological distributions of these windstorms are reasonably well reproduced in the hindcast data. Using hindcasts starting on 1 November, significant predictive skill is found for the December February windstorm frequency in the period 1980-2001, but also for the January-April storm frequency. Specifically, the model suite run at Meteo France shows consistently high skill. Some aspects of the variability of skill are discussed. Predictive skill in the 1980-2001 period is usually higher than for the 1960-2001 period. Furthermore, the level of skill turns out to be related to the storm frequency of a given winter. Generally, winters with high storm frequency are better predicted than winters with medium storm frequency. Physical mechanisms potentially leading to such a variability of skill are discussed.