Culture Nature

Visit The Hague beach: Scheveningen

The Hague Beach, Scheveningen: The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide (photo by Arjan de Jager)

When I was telling you guys a few months ago why you should really visit The Hague if you come to The Netherlands, most of you showed a lot of surprise. Not only were you all delighted to know that The Hague holds so many cultural gems, like Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring, but many of you were pretty surprised that The Hague is right by the sea. Well, it is. And The Hague beach, Scheveningen, is an absolute must-visit. Especially this year. 

Okay, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out The Hague is by the sea. Just open Google Maps or an old-fashioned atlas (ah!) and the proximity to the coast is more than obvious. Through history, this wasn’t the case, however.

The Hague was once the capital of The Netherlands, until (under French occupation) the capital and government were moved to Amsterdam. The government moved back when The Netherlands became an independent republic, and later a kingdom. Back then The Hague was a centre of the Dutch royals, government and diplomacy. And the villages along the coast were simple fisherman’s villages, detached from the city, albeit not too far away.

This year, it’s 200 years ago that the first bathhouse was opened at Scheveningen beach, with royal permission. The 4 cabins with baths launched the era of high-class entertainment at sea. Within a couple of decades, more bathhouses were built including the impressive pier and luxurious Kurhaus, which is still one of the most popular beach resorts in The Netherlands.

For centuries the royal, rich and not-so-famous came to Scheveningen as doctors prescribed stays at the seaside for health reasons. Lungs, skins and weary minds from the busy and often overcrowded industrial cities benefited from the clean sea air the entertainment Scheveningen provided. Some wonderful historical photos from The Hague beach have been published lately and I can’t wait to share these (with permission) with you all.

The Hague beach, Scheveningen: The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

The Hague beach, Scheveningen: The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

The Hague beach, Scheveningen: The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

The Hague beach, Scheveningen: The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Photos were kindly provided by MuZee and The Hague city archives

Aren’t these photos just amazing! I love those wicker seats where people would just lounge and read in. Except for the ones brave enough venturing into the sea into a carriage, whilst wearing massively heavy bathing suits. 

Art at sea

Since Scheveningen became such a popular destination, ways had to be found to keep the masses entertained and for some reason, art was the way to do this. And this is pretty much the same today. MuZee is at the heart of it all. A cultural and historical museum depicting Scheveningen history, culture and everyday life.

But even more visible are all the sculptures scattered in along the boulevard and throughout the sand dunes. They’re known as Beelden aan zee (sculptures by the see), also exhibited in the museum which also hosts a variety of exhibitions every year.

Beach in The Netherlands: where to go? The Hague, Scheveningen | Your Dutch Guide

Beach in The Netherlands: where to go? The Hague, Scheveningen | Your Dutch Guide

Beach in The Netherlands, art at sea (Ringen aan Zee), photo by Bruno Doedens | Your Dutch Guide

Ringen aan Zee: beach art

To celebrate the 200 anniversary of Scheveningen being Holland’s most popular beach town, art was also chosen a way to do this and I must say: I love this beach art so much. Artist Bruno Doedens has created Ringen aan zee (rings at sea) to redevelop the seaside landscape. Rikke Munkholm is making sea faces and SLeM has placed shells on the beach, which are telling the stories of The Hague beach.

The iconic pier

Just like other historical beach resorts throughout Europa, like for example Brighton in the UK, Scheveningen was enriched with a proper pier. It was opened in 1901 so rich guests from the Kurhaus hotel were able to walk, covered and sheltered from the masses, along the promenade and felt like they were actually walking over the sea. On the end of the pier music, acrobats and actors were always entertaining the crowds. The pier was heavily bombed during the Second World War and a new pier was opened in 1961.

Beach in The Netherlands: Scheveningen. Pier in Scheveningen | Your Dutch Guide

To the beach in The Netherlands: Scheveningen | Your Dutch Guide

Surfing in The Netherlands: Scheveningen (photp by Jurjen Drenth) | Your Dutch Guide

Surfing and beach clubs

You may not think The Netherlands are the best of summer destinations in Europe, but when the sun is out, it’s actually quite nice to be at the beach. You can even take surf lessons in Scheveningen if you like, or just have a drink at their beach club Hart Beach. Scheveningen has a lovely variety of great beach clubs, though I like the ones along Zwarte Pad best as they’re a little bit more remote from the main beaches.

How to get to The Hague beach, Scheveningen

  • Getting to The Hague is actually quite easy, as you can simply catch a train from Amsterdam. There are regular trains and it’ll take less than an hour to get there.
  • In The Hague simply hop on tram no. 1, 9 or 11 to get to Scheveningen.
  • You need an OV Chip Card, which you can charge as you go, to travel on all public transport in The Netherlands.
  • Or you can grab a rental bike and cycle to Scheveningen within 20 minutes.
  • If the weather is going to be nice, why not stay at a hotel in Scheveningen? The Hague is only 10 minutes away from the beach and there is just something about waking up to the sound of the sea.

Read more about The Hague

Pin for later!

Discover The Hague Beach, Scheveningen, in The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Sandra
    March 5, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I missed Scheveningen the last time I had been to the Netherlands, but then again, it was pretty wet last time around. This article makes me wanna go there, especially when the sun’s up.

  • Reply
    Annabel
    March 5, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    I hadn’t realised The Hague was on the coast. Hope I’m not the only one! I love the art.

  • Reply
    Lydia C. Lee
    March 5, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    We didn’t have time, but what a gorgeous place!!

  • Reply
    Caity Pfohl
    March 5, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    I know next to nothing about The Hague so it’s great to learn more! There’s something so special and festive about a great beach pier. Love those old photos, too – wow!

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 7, 2018 at 10:10 am

      The Hague is an excellent city to discover. You could do it in a day I guess, but 2 days would be far more enjoyable.

  • Reply
    Lolo
    March 6, 2018 at 10:17 am

    This beach reminds me a lot of Blankenberge Beach in Belgium! I would love to explore more of the coastline up there! I practically cried last time I was there bc I had forgotten the joy of soft sand!

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 7, 2018 at 10:08 am

      I simply adore the Belgian coast, we used to go there all the time when I was little. I totally get your comparison, though I’d say Scheveningen is a bit more like Oostende or Nieuwpoort.

  • Reply
    Susanna
    March 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    I hadn’t really given The Hague much thought before this, thanks for enlightening me!

  • Reply
    Tanja
    March 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    My husband was here at the beach, he said that it was very windy:)

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 7, 2018 at 10:09 am

      LOL, wind? In Holland? Nah!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 7, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    I guess I just don’t really associate beaches with the Netherlands but maybe I should! The Hague’s beach is a beach if I’ve ever seen one – and those colorful columns holding up the pier… just beautiful!

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 8, 2018 at 8:07 am

      The Netherlands have really lovely (and broad) beaches. When the sun’s out, it’s lovely. But they’re pretty good on a crips winter day as well.

  • Reply
    Neha
    March 7, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    I always enjoy reading your posts about Holland. This one is no exception. Loved the quirky pictures too 🙂

  • Reply
    Emma Raphael
    March 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    I am sure this is close to where my aunt had a holiday place many moons ago (my Grandmother is Dutch). I remember a lighthouse would keep me awake at night 😀 The art there now is incredible!

  • Reply
    Ruth
    March 8, 2018 at 5:07 am

    I am not from Europe so, I am not that familiar with European beaches. However, I have lived close to the ocean my entire life. This place looks incredible! I adore, adore piers! You have given me a fantastic idea for The Netherlands.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    March 8, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Scheveningen always sounds such a lovely place – what fantastic old photos. It always seems to differ from the standard image of The Hague with its palaces and art, but the sculptures and that wonderful beach art seems so fitting.

  • Reply
    Sharon
    March 9, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    OK, you’ve convinced me that The Hague is worth visiting! Piers are one of my favorites, and this colorful one is unlike any I’ve seen. Thanks for an inspiration post with lovely photos!

  • Reply
    Wendy Maes
    March 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Den Haag is echt een van de leukste steden van Nederland! Er hangt altijd zo’n speciaal sfeertje.

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