Hitting the beach may not be the first thing that comes to mind when visiting Amsterdam, a city better known for 17th-century canals, ancient windmills, and delectable cheese than sun, sand and surf. But when summer comes, it’s time to discover nearby spots where you can soak up some rays, including one with a name so difficult to pronounce, Dutchies use it to see just how ridiculous foreigners can sound—Scheveningen, a coastal resort just north of The Hague‘s wealthy northernmost district.
Since the debut of its new boardwalk in 2013, the popular tourist town has become known for the best sun, sand and surf on Holland’s western coast. In addition to a sandy beach, colorful esplanade, pier and lighthouse, there’s a SEALIFE aquarium, Pathé cinema, the Steigenberger Kurhaus hotel and music theater, Scheveningen Ship Museum and a Holland Casino.
Water activities include bungee jumping, surfing and swimming—plenty to satisfy adrenaline junkies, surfers, and anyone who just wants to chill on a beach, beer and/or book in hand.
If you’re traveling by train from Amsterdam, allow about an hour to reach Scheveningen. Set off early and rent a bike when you arrive, opting for either a full or half-day excursion. On two wheels, head past the four-kilometer stretch of esplanade to Kijkduin Beach, a 20-minute ride along the coast. Pack a picnic with Dutch cheese and cold cuts, and stop along the way to eat on the sand.
If you prefer hiking to cycling, head for nearby sand dunes and forests where you’ll be far removed from the seat of government in The Hague. Beyond Scheveningen Beach, continue to Westbroek Park for more tranquil green space, plus a fragrant rose garden and children’s playground.
Chills and Thrills: Nightlife in Scheveningen
Some of Scheveningen’s clubs offer peace and seclusion with a tropical twist; others are more boisterous and better for watching dudes in the waves and strolling surfer girls. On the beach side, enjoy drinks, snacks or a meal with a perfect view of crashing waves.
Don’t get too loose, or you might wind up spontaneously getting hitched at The Blue Lagoon. Instead, chill out at Bora Bora‘s toasty fire pit, celebrate at Crazy Pianos or get raunchy at Club Live, previously owned by porn star Kim Holland. Join a poker game at the Holland Casino or gamble on a great show at the renowned Circus Theater.
Fairytale Sculptures by The Sea
One of the most whimsical attractions on Scheveningen Boulevard is Sprookjes Beelden aan Zee or Fairytale Sculptures by the Sea. Designed by architect Manuel de Solà-Morales, the outdoor installation features 23 playful sculptures by American artist Tom Otterness, including a sky-high Crying Giant, 12-meter Herring Eater, and sculptures depicting Hans Brinker and Hansel and Gretel.
The bronze figures reveal hints of Otterness’ critical attitude toward social structure. Best known for his works in subway stations and monuments, his most famous creation, The Real World, is a garden project with human and animal figures in Battery Park, New York. Visit the enchanting Scheveningen creatures anytime; the boardwalk is open 24/7.
For more breezy escapes from Amsterdam offering everything from peaceful sand dune beaches to classic seaside resorts, check out The Top Beaches In The Netherlands.
A side of Amsterdam I never imagined! Looks too good for just a day trip. Any recommendations of where we could stay here?
I visited The Hague’s beach at the start of June, and I must say it was beautiful. We walked almost the entire length between the bars at the top to the beach volleyball arena in the south. If only I’d seen this post sooner, we would have stayed an extra day to visit Scheveningen. An excuse to come back!
Scheveningen is much more laid-back than Den Hague. Enjoy the fun promenade + bungee jumping when you return!
Although it seems closer to Rotterdam than to Amsterdam, from either one of them it can be a great one-day trip, enjoy the beach and have a relaxing time by the sea before coming back to the city for an intense day of sightseeing.
For random visitors of Holland it’s cassual to visit Amsterdam, and that’s it. I believe that the true gems of a country are hidden on such other places. Scheveningen seems to be on the list of places that I’ll visit when I come there.
Melissa, thank you for these beautiful stories about Holland’s beauties. Your love for this country is reflected in every story, and is really giving me a warm feeling about it. Reading your stories will make Amsterdam not another city where I’ve visited, but a beautiful memory that will stay on my mind and on my heart for a long long time.
They say that energy is contagious, and your energetic passion about Holland will affect on all the people who see the blog and read your stories
Hardly waiting to see it!!
I’m glad I’ve inspired you, Blerta. Every day I wake up in Amsterdam is a good one. I look forward to meeting you soon.
Scheveningen is actually a neighbourhood of Den Haag, it might feel like a town but has never been one.
The post makes me want to add on an extra day to go to Scheveningen. The last time I visited the Netherlands, we stayed at Den Haag, visited some friends in Delft, Rotterdam and enjoyed the beach at Haag. That trip however was marred by rain. This post however, illustrates Scheveningen well, and makes a traveler want to visit.
I missed Scheveningen the last time I had been to Den Haag, but then again, it was pretty wet last time around, this article makes me wanna go there, especially when the sun’s up. An article that in a way captures the beauty with effective inputs on what one, as a tourist should look for.
Reblogged this on UnClogged in Amsterdam and commented:
There’s still a month left of summer to enjoy the beach. Enjoy one of Holland’s finest, just north of The Hague, on a day trip from Amsterdam.
After reading your post I basically have to visit Scheveningen! Though I must say as a Swede it’s not very hard to pronounce! 😉
I’ll do the dutch cheese + bike thing. That sounds like a perfect day for me!
Thanks for inspiring us to visit places we might not have ever known about if it wasn’t for you and you’re beautiful language!
At first, I thought, what is there to say about just a beach (that I went to two or three times), but I really learned something! For example, I never paid attention to the sculptures that you described. Now, I feel like I have never been there and should visit it again, maybe even next week 🙂 thank you!
When I used to live in The Hague, I often went to Scheveningen, it is easy to reach by tram and a nice escape from the city. My favorite spot there was Kijkduin, nice parties there also.