When, in 1885, the famous Kurhaus hotel (see below) was opened at Scheveningen Beach, 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 than it is today.
With the arrival of the train, Scheveningen also 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 since it’s just a quick 15-minute tram ride away.
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Scheveningen Beach – part of the city of The Hague
The Hague – Den Haag – is a different city for many reasons. It’s home to the government and the royal family. Another reason, most definitely, its easy access to the beach. The golden combination of city and beach is well known in cities like Barcelona, Los Angeles, and Lisbon. But right here in Holland, The Hague has it too.
Where is Scheveningen Beach?
Scheveningen is part of the city of The Hague. It’s not a separate town anymore but a neighborhood. You can easily reach Scheveningen beach by tram from both main The Hague train stations.
Scheveningen Pronunciation – How do you even attempt to pronounce this?
Scheveningen. What a name. The phonetic pronunciation is: [ˈsxeːvənɪŋə(n)]. I don’t know about you, but this makes it look even more complicated :-). Listen to the correct pronunciation of Scheveningen here.
For me, it’s effortless to pronounce because I’m 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 a foreigner, just by asking to pronounce it. 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 tiny 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.
Scheveningen Beach Today
Today, Scheveningen is a summer hotspot and the beach destination for The Hague city. It offers many beach restaurants, attractions, surfers, and sunbathers.
Now, I have to be honest, Scheveningen beach isn’t the most beautiful coastal town you will ever see like any in the Netherlands and Belgium. It’s pretty ugly due to a lot of modern development. However, it’s getting better. And there are still many reasons to go and explore, especially when the sun is out!
Here are ten things to do in Scheveningen Beach for a great day out:
The Panorama Mesdag Museum is a 360 degrees painting of Scheveningen Beach
I highly recommend visiting 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.
I can get lost in all the details. It’s remarkable. This museum is small. An hour is enough, but truly worth the detour.
Visit the Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus
The Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus is usually called just the Kurhaus Hotel in Dutch. Many foreigners also call it the Scheveningen Hotel because it’s a prominent landmark building and undoubtedly the most famous local beach hotel.
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 liberally. If you can get a glimpse of water, it’s an ocean-view room, so make sure you have an ocean-facing room with a full view of the beach. You should be able to see the ocean from your bed, not only by hanging out of your window. Also, make sure to get a room with a balcony. 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 of 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
Imagine your feet in the sand while enjoying a glass of wine or a cold beer. And enjoy a lovely warm summer afternoon. This is easily possible if you opt for a break at one of many beach restaurants, bars, and clubs ON the beach.
Skip the restaurants on the boulevard. Most are tourist traps and not that great. Especially the one advertising extensive menus at their entrances. Why advertise that way if you’re that good that people would line up anyway?
But the ones on the beach can be fun and offer surprisingly good quality! There are many you can choose from. It’s up to you which one you like best. Choose by theme and music you appreciate most.
Another tip, look at the crowds. The busier they are, the better quality you can expect. The most popular are the Beachclubs Indigo, Patagonia Beach, and Whoosah. They’re famous for their vibe and food.
I recently had breakfast at Bora Bora (across from Sea Life Scheveningen and the “Beelden aan Zee” museum). It had a super relaxed vibe. The service was excellent, and the food was delicious. I can highly recommend this place (unsponsored, I really liked it)
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. Scheveningen is not all about the beach. The old town also has cozy shopping and more cozy restaurants and cafes.
The Keizerstraat is 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“ 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 me 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 to escape the beach scene. And also to get away 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 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 on 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 than it ever did before.
The main attraction is 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 one has 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.
I recommend going up and enjoying the beach this way. An unusual form of doing this is booking a high tea or dinner in one of the gondolas. Make sure, though, to make advanced reservations.
You can get tickets for the SkyView Ferris wheel here.
There is much more to do on the Scheveningen Pier
How about Bungee Jumping from the Bungy Jump Tower or zip lining along the pier? Extra fun since you can go simultaneously with someone else. The boardwalk is also home to restaurants and shops. It’s free to visit.
The pier also has a genuinely 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. However, this luxury hotel located at the Pier 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!
Enjoy some sunbathing at Schevingen Beach
How can we not recommend sunbathing on a beautiful summer day? 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 lie down in the sand, there are plenty of beach chairs for hire. You won’t be able to miss them.
Scheveningen Nude Beach
It is important to note that this is Holland, one of the most liberal countries on the planet. Thus, of course, there is a nude beach — there are zero excuses for coming home with any tan lines. But if this is not your cup of tea, it is good to know where the nude beach is. It can be found on a stretch called “the Noorderstrand.” Look for the pole posts 96.5 – 98. It’s a 10-minute walk up north from the “Zwarte Pad” tram stop.
The Scheveningen nude beach is signposted in different languages and is 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 although sunbathing this far up north in January might not be a great idea, please be careful not to get pneumonia, it can still be an excellent destination during the colder months.
The Hagues beaches are blessed with lengthy and vast stretches of coastline. It’s the perfect setting for a hike. You can go far, too, especially if you go north, without interruption.
I 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 than looking at impressive waves in front of you. Plus, long, empty stretches of sand! The Dutch have a word for it: “Uitwaaien”. It means clearing your head on a windy day outdoors. The Washington Post wrote an excellent article on the word “Uitwaaien“.
The best part is to end your walk with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, of course, with whipped cream on top, at one of the beach restaurants!
The New Year dive Scheveningen
Nowadays, an authentic tradition in Holland is 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 (which, in the opinion of many, they are right?). After their bravery, they celebrate the new year 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.
Frequently Asked Question For Visiting Scheveningen Beach
Where is Scheveningen Beach located?
Scheveningen Beach is located near The Hague in the Netherlands, along the North Sea coast.
How to get to The Hague Scheveningen Beach?
From The Hague Central station, the easiest way to reach the beach is by tram. If you come by car expect heavy traffic in summer, and parking is never free.
Where to park at 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. Parking is paid in Scheveningen.
Is Scheveningen Beach suitable for a day trip?
Yes, because Scheveningen is so easily accessible by train and tram. Also, because of its proximity to The Hague, it makes for a great combination. Visit the highlights of The Hague first and then close the day at the beach.
Which Scheveningen Beach Attraction Excites 🌟 You The Most?
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Which of the highlighted attractions are you most excited to visit and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.
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