When in 1885, the famous Kurhaus hotel (see below) was opened, Scheveningen quickly became the playground for the rich and the aristocracy. Horse-drawn carriages would drive people into the sea to bathe. It was a very different experience as it is today.
When the train arrived at the Hague, Scheveningen became a resort for the masses. Its proximity to the city was a significant contributor. Today it's one of the main seaside resorts in Holland.
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Scheveningen Beach - part of the city of The Hague
The Hague - Den Haag - is such a different city for many reasons, like it's home to the government and the royal family. Another reason, most definitely, is the beach.
The golden combination of city and beach is, of course, well known in cities like Barcelona, Los Angeles, or Lisbon. But right here in Holland, The Hague has it too.
Where is Scheveningen beach?
The beach is located on the west side of the city. It's actually part of the city. It's not a separate town. You can easily reach the beach by tram from both main The Hague train stations.
Scheveningen Pronunciation - How do you even attempt to pronounce this?
Scheveningen. What a name, right? The phonetic pronunciation is: [ˈsxeːvənɪŋə(n)]. We don’t know about you, but this makes it look even more complicated :-). Listen to the correct pronunciation of Scheveningen.
For Herman and myself, it’s effortless to pronounce because we’re Dutch. But it’s impossible to do it correctly as a foreigner. The hard Sch sound is almost impossible for non-natives.
Did you know this was very helpful during the Second World War? The name was used to figure out who was a local and who was a foreigner. Just by asking to pronounce it. Because of course, only a Dutchman could say it correctly.
From a sleepy fishing village to the well known The Hague Seaside resort
Scheveningen has been a seaside resort for over 200 years. But it wasn't always like that. Up to that moment, it was just a small fishing village. That all changed in 1818 when the first bathhouse was built here. It wasn’t more than just a wooden shed with four bathtubs filled with salty seawater positioned on the beach. The wealthy believed the salty water was healthy for them. And they came in droves to do just that. But of course not in public. That is how it all started.
PS we highly recommend a visit to the the Panorama Mesdag Museum (it houses a breathtaking circular 360 degrees painting that is bigger than life. It truly gives you a great understanding of this era and how people lived back then. We can personally get lost in all the details. It's remarkable.
Scheveningen Beach Today
Today, Scheveningen is a summer hotspot and the beach in The Hague, including all kinds of beach restaurants, attractions, surfers, and sunbathers.
Now, we have to be honest, Scheveningen isn’t the most beautiful coastal town you will ever see in your life. Actually, it’s pretty ugly due to a lot of modern development. And let's just keep it at that none of those developments won an award for being tasteful.
However, it’s getting better. And there are still lots of reasons to go and explore, especially when the sun is out! Adding that Scheveningen is easily accessible from the city center (a 15-minute tram ride), there is not much not to like.
Our 9 things to do in Scheveningen:
Visit the Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus
The Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus is usually called just the Kurhaus hotel in Dutch. Many foreigners also simply call it the Scheveningen hotel because it’s such a prominent landmark building, and certainly the most famous of the local beach hotels.
This gorgeous hotel has been in operation since 1885. That is over 135 years! So much history. We highly recommend visiting when you're here. You can stay here as well. People’s opinions vary though on the rooms. Most people complain about the size of the room and the view (it’s only worth your money with a full ocean view). The hotel takes the term ocean view quite liberal.
Our tip if you decide to splurge on a stay here, make sure you book a room, or a suite, with a seaside view and a balcony. In the booking comments, make sure to ask for full ocean view (not from the side, you should be able to see the ocean from your bed!) And ask for a higher floor. Don’t go for the cheapest “city view” rooms. The view is terrible; these rooms are far overpriced for what you get!
High Tea Scheveningen at the Kurhaus
A quick Google search, and you will find different places to enjoy a high tea in Scheveningen, but why not do it at the iconic Kurhaus? It’s a great way to appreciate the building and the view on the beach. All while you share an elaborate étagère filled with sweet and savory treats with your loved ones.
The restaurant welcomes you with a glass of bubbles and serves unlimited tea from tea house Ronnefeldt. This tea house has been in operation since 1823 and serves tea in luxury hotels around the world. Make sure to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance if you would like to book this experience.
Enjoy a drink or a meal at one of the trendy beach pavilions
With your feet in the sand while enjoying a glass of wine or a cold beer. Skip the restaurants on the boulevard. Most are tourist traps, but the ones on the beach itself can be a lot of fun and offer surprisingly good quality!
There are many you can choose. It’s up to you which one you like best. Choose by theme and music you appreciate most. Also, look at the crowds, the busier they are, the better quality you can expect. The most popular are the Beachclubs Indigo, Patagonia Beach, or Whoosah. They’re famous for their vibe and food.
On the left side of the promenade, you’ll find the Fat Mermaid (another beach bar/restaurant), a great spot to relax on your way to the Fisher’s Wife statue. Or even further down the beach, you’ll find “Heart Beach,” a surf school and restaurant. Another great place to go for a meal. Their seafood is fantastic. Oh, and it’s right at the cast iron red lighthouse (a perfect spot for pictures!)
Visit the "Fisher's wife statue"
The Fisher's wife statue was erected in 1982 and made by Gerard Bakker. It’s an impressive statue of a woman in traditional local clothing staring over the sea. She is looking as if she expects loved ones to return. But they don’t. She is here to commemorate all who died at sea.
Stroll along the hip “Keizerstraat’
Right at the foot of the "Fisher's wife statue" starts the Keizersstraat. A shopping street in the old town of Scheveningen. And one that is becoming increasingly trendy.
You’ll find one of a kind stores like the High Definition Records store. This incredibly narrow store is full of unique records. Or the concept store “Stijlbandiet.” Another great find.
If you’re looking for a dose of Zen, the restaurant “1900 aan Zee (at sea) is a perfect place for lunch, coffee or a snack (or all three). All food and cakes are homemade. And did you know they even organize yoga lessons at the beach? Well, you do now.
And - this one makes us very happy - if you love chocolate, make sure to leave some room for Meneer Chocolade (Mr. Chocolate) famous chocolate cake. Meneer Chocolade is a restaurant run by two ‘surf dudes' who also happen to be patissiers. Pretty impressive, they also serve lunch and a killer "pain au chocolat" pastry. You'll find their restaurant just a bit further down the street.
Visit the old harbor for great seafood
The old harbor is the perfect place if you want to get away from the beach. And from the sand in between your toes. As a former fishing village, it’s home to fantastic seafood restaurants.
You’ll trip over the many seafood restaurants here. Two of the local favorites are Waterproef (in part of their excellent wine offering) and Catch by Simonis. Simonis is the region's leading fish supplier. A meal at their restaurant is a great way to end the day.
Visit the Pier and enjoy a ride in the Ferris Wheel Skyview Scheveningen
The Scheveningen pier, voted the ugliest structure in the country, has been completely renovated in recent years. After being left in decline for years, it was sold by the city for a symbolic price of just €1. Now it’s revamped into an excellent place for entertainment at a unique location. And it feels much more like a traditional pier then it ever did before.
The main attraction is for sure, the new Ferris Wheel at the pier. It’s Europe’s first Ferris wheel above the sea. It’s 50 meters high (150ft) and has 36 closed cabins (the VIP ones have a glass floor). It looks very similar to the London Eye.
From the Ferris wheel, as you can imagine, you have a perfect view of the sea, the coastline, and of course, the city of the Hague. We highly recommend going up and enjoy the beach this way. An unusual way of doing this is by booking a high tea or diner in one of the gondolas. Make sure though to make advanced reservations.
Strandweg 156 Scheveningen - website
There is much more to do on the Scheveningen Pier
How about Bungee Jumping from the Bungy Jump Tower, or go zip lining along the pier. Extra fun since you can go simultaneously with someone. The boardwalk is also home to restaurants and shops. It's free to visit.
And it has a truly unique all suites hotel; The Pier Suites Scheveningen. Their marketing slogan: Oceanview, guaranteed. A nod to the Kurhaus hotel, because they sometimes stretch the term sea view quite a bit. This luxury hotel located at the Pier, however, is built above the sea. Thus indeed, the views are guaranteed. It’s an excellent alternative for a special place to stay during your trip.
Visit the museum ‘Beelden aan Zee’ (Sculptures at Sea)
You can find this museum right next to the Fat Mermaid beach club. It started as a private initiative and is now a full, indoor- and outdoor museum. And this is not your traditional sculpture museum either. This museum focuses exclusively on contemporary sculptures. It is unique in the Netherlands. The museum has been open since 1994 and is home to over 2000 sculptures. Wow!
Harteveltstraat 1, Scheveningen - website
Enjoy some sunbathing at the beach
How can we not recommend sunbathing on a beautiful summer day? When you’re in a beach resort like this. Scheveningen is blessed with a beautiful wide sandy beach with plenty of space for us all. The busiest part will be in front of the promenade. But if you walk in either direction, the crowds thin out very quickly. And if you don’t want to lay down in the sand, there are plenty of beach chairs for hire. You won’t be able to miss them.
And this is Holland, one of the most liberal countries on the planet. Thus, of course, there is a nude beach — zero excuses for coming home with any lines.
The nude beach can be found on a stretch called “the Noorderstrand” or look for the pole posts 96.5 - 98. This is the area where it’s allowed to get dressed in your Adam and Eve's costume. It’s a 10-minute walk up north from the “Zwarte Pad” tram stop.
Don’t worry, the Scheveningen nude beach is signposted in different languages, and it’s quite a hike up north. You won’t quickly get there by accident. Note it’s not allowed to be nude at local beach clubs there and there are no lifeguards in this area.
The beach is not there for sunny days alone
Most people flock to the beach on warm sunny days. And it’s fun for sure! Sunbathing in January this far up north might indeed not be a great idea. Especially at the nude beaches, people, please be careful not to get pneumonia.
That doesn’t mean you should skip the beach, though if the weather is less than ideal. The Hagues beaches are blessed with lengthy and wide stretches of coastline. It’s the perfect setting for a hike. You can go far too, especially if you go north, without interruption.
We love the beach even more on these less than ideal days, weatherwise. There isn’t a better way to clear the mind if the wind is blowing in your face, looking at impressive waves in front of you. Plus long, empty stretches of sand! To finally end your walk with a steaming hot chocolate, of course, with whipped cream on top, at one of the beach restaurants!
The New Year dive Scheveningen
Nowadays, a real tradition in Holland, the New Year Dive in Scheveningen. Every year since 1965, thousands of heroes defy the cold and dive into the North Sea to ring in the new year.
Dressed in only their bathing suits and an orange hat with the colors of the Dutch flag, they run into the sea like crazy people. After which they celebrate the new year together with sausage rolls, green pea soup, and hot drinks.
It’s quite an event to experience yourself (as a participant or observing from a safe distance). It happens every year on January 1st at noon. You can register from 10:30 am if you want to dive yourself.
How to get to The Hague Scheveningen Beach?
From The Hague Central station, the easiest way to reach the beach is by tram number 9. Tram 17 takes you the old Scheveningen harbour. From The Hague Hollands Spoor station, you can take tram 1. Or take tram 11 or 17 to the old port.
If you come by car (you can rent one here), it's easy to travel to Scheveningen. Get there via the A4 (from Amsterdam), A12 (from Utrecht), A13 (from Rotterdam), or the A44 (from Leiden). There is no problem to travel to The Hague Beach in wintertime. However, lots of traffic in the summertime.
Where to park for Scheveningen Beach?
The best places to park are the parking lot "Het Zwarte Pad," or the parking garages at the Holland casino or the Kurhaus theater. Parking is paid in Scheveningen.
Where to stay in Scheveningen the Netherlands:
Obvious options are, of course, the iconic Kurhaus hotel and the scenic Pier Suites hotel mentioned earlier in this post. Other popular places to spend the night are the Carlton Beach Club Scheveningen. Or the smaller Strandhotel The Hague nearby. Just click the names of the hotels to search for availability and to book.
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If you enjoyed our travel tips in this post about Scheveningen then please join the conversation and let us know in the comments at the bottom of this page. We'd love to hear what you think. Have you been to any of these suggestions? Are you planning them for your next trip? We want to know.
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