This paper analyses the late summer heatwave over Europe in 2016. Central, western and southwestern Europe were primarily affected by the high temperatures. Seville, Spain, for example, experienced the highest September temperature on record on 5 September 2016, reaching a maximum of 44.8°C, and temperatures in Trier, Germany reached 34.2°C on 13 September 2016. The heatwave was marked by three distinct peaks, accompanied by record‐breaking values for 500hPa geopotential heights and, to a lesser extent, 850hPa temperatures. These peaks were associated with the arrival of high‐amplitude Rossby wave packets in western Europe. The latter originated several days before the event over western North America. During the three peaks of the heatwave, subsidence and the ensuing adiabatic compression in the free atmosphere in combination with boundary layer processes, rather than local temperature advection, were instrumental in the occurrence of the extreme temperature episodes.