Life in the Netherlands consists of braving it through the cold and the rain for most of the year as you eagerly look forward to the warmth of summer.
The atmosphere immediately changes as soon as the sun comes out. Not only do the flowers start blooming, but most people ditch their heavy winter jackets for light spring coats, and fewer people can be seen dining inside restaurants while the outdoor cafés become more and more crowded.
Soon after, people start finding their way to the beach.
Scheveningen Beach is the closest beach to me and one of the more popular beaches in The Hague. The best way to get to Scheveningen Beach from The Hague Central Station is by tram. Tram 9 goes to the beach and the journey takes about 17 minutes. You can also get bus 23 to the beach from a bus stop called Theresiastraat which is a 10-minute walk from the train station. It’s slightly cheaper than the tram and takes 20 minutes to get there. Alternatively, you can drive there if you prefer.
Our first visit to the beach was in spring. We took the bus there and arrived just before noon. Thankfully, it wasn’t crowded. There were a few people camped on the sand, others were walking their dogs along the shore, but otherwise, it was mostly deserted.
Our first stop was the Ferris wheel. We found a few shops next to it which sell a variety of things. One of them was a restaurant where we bought a packet of Dutch fries and admired the beach from its balcony.
Next, we decided to walk along the beach and see how far we could get. To our right were a row of hotels overlooking the beach, and to our left were several restaurants sitting right by the shore. We decided to stop at one called the Zanzibar Beach Club and sample some of its refreshments. It was quite lively for early spring. I had a cup of hot chocolate, and my sister had a strawberry mojito. We also ordered a slice of cheesecake to share. It was just what we needed at the time.
Most restaurants along the beach serve a wide range of seafood dishes as there’s a daily supply of fresh fish from the sea available to them. However, you can also enjoy pizzas, vegetable salads, and desserts, among other things at many of the restaurants here.
As the weather gets warmer and the beach gets busier, a number of sports are hosted on the Hague Beach Stadium, which is built on Scheveningen beach in spring and stays in place up until the end of September. The stadium can host up to 2,000 people at capacity. Admission to the stadium is always free, so if you’d like to watch any of these sports, you have to get there early. Some of the sports hosted here include beach volleyball, beach tennis, beach handball, beach soccer, and beach hockey.
Scheveningen Beach is also considered to be the best surfing spot in the Netherlands because of the good wind that blows over the sea and creates the perfect conditions for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and wave surfing. If you’ll be staying around the Hague for a while, you can also apply for surfing lessons at one of the surfing schools in Scheveningen and learn how to ride the waves like a pro.
For those planning to visit the beach with children, you’ll be happy to know that there are a number of activities for them as well. There are ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ located on the terraces by the sea. This collection is permanently on display here and is sometimes accompanied by temporary sculptures made by Dutch sculptors.
The Sea Life Center is also located in Scheveningen and is a great place for children to not only learn about different sea creatures but also interact with them. It is made up of 45 aquariums that house up to 150 different species from the marine world. There’s also an underwater tunnel for the kids to look forward to here. As they walk through it, they’ll see sharks and turtles swimming overhead in the surrounding waters. Entry to the center is €15.50, but you can save up to €3 if you buy your ticket online. Entry is free for children under three years old.
You can buy tickets to the Sea Life Center here: https://www.visitsealife.com/scheveningen/tickets-jaarpas/tickets/ticket/
Towards the end of the summer, there’s also the Kite Festival and the Fireworks Festival to look forward to – both of which take place on the beach. Vlaggetjesdag, which translates to ‘Flag Day’ in English, also takes place in Scheveningen. The event marks the arrival of the New Dutch herring year in and year out.
Needless to say, there’s so much to see and do on Scheveningen beach in the summer. It’s definitely worth visiting and is sure to have something for everyone - regardless of what tickles one's fancy.
P.S. Make sure you always carry a jacket or a sweater with you when visiting the beach, as it tends to get chilly as the evening draws near.