Navigation Menu+

Nestled among sandy dunes right outside the Hague, in the South Holland province, Scheveningen is one of the most famous seaside resorts in the Netherlands. This former fishing village turned modern resort has it all: wide sandy beaches, luxury hotels, water sports, good food, legends, and more.

Scheveningen was the second beach I’ve visited in the Netherlands, after Zandvoort, and it was love at first sight. My first visit to Scheveningen wasn’t a beach trip: it was a bit of respite from the busy city, after sorting out some papers in the Hague, at the embassy. I was amazed that only a tram ride away I found myself on the seashore, in the middle of a summer resort, where people were sunbathing and enjoying ice cream and the waves.

History and legends

Scheveningen is a district of the Hague, and, historically, it has always been part of the same region as the Hague, never a separate municipality. However, this former fishers village considered itself a separate entity from the city and it has its own coat of arms, a distinct culture and even a dialect (although not many speak it anymore) and a football club. The first reference to the name Sceveninghe goes back to around 1280. There is no consensus about the first inhabitants: they were either Anglo-Saxons or of Scandinavian origin. Along the centuries, the village braved the sea and survived many storms, like the one in 1470, when half of the village was engulfed by the sea.

The strong connection to the sea gave birth to some legends, like the one of the Waterreus (water giant), a cursed sea creature who helped a poor girl catch a lot of fish each day until they eventually fall in love, she broke his curse and they got married and lived happily ever after. Nowadays, the legend lives on in the families wearing this name.

The transformation to a seaside resort started in 1818 with a wooden building constructed on the beach by Jacob Pronk, from where people could bathe in the sea from four separate rooms (going to the beach was quite different back in the days!). Since then, the place has attracted many tourists every summer.

Scheveningen Beach

However, Scheveningen is not Malaga or Santorini, and it will never attract people who want to bathe in azure blue waters at 35 degrees Celsius. Scheveningen has the charm of a nordic seaside resort, with windswept dunes and wide stretches of sand and furious waves. That’s why, it’s most probably enjoyed at its real value by nordic people (and the German tourists that swear by it and come here every year). When I first moved to the Netherlands, I wouldn’t dream of bathing in the cold waters of the North Sea.

For many years, the Dutch beaches were, for me, a place where you only go for a nice walk, to admire the beautiful sea and breathe the salty air, dreaming of tall ships and sea voyages. It was years later, after acclimatising myself with the Dutch weather (and the climate change that brought higher temperatures and more sun), that I started enjoying the beaches also for sunbathing and swimming. So if you are new to the Netherlands and shake your head at my praising of this Dutch resort, just give it a few years!

But even if you don’t dare swimming in the sea, you can still fall in love with Scheveningen! The spectacular wide beach is very inviting, the pier gives a distinct feature and the surrounding nature is splendid!


What to do in Scheveningen

The best thing to do in Scheveningen is the obvious: enjoy the beach and the sea. The long beach is split in a few areas, and you can choose any of them, having the chance to find a quieter spot if you walk further from the main entrance.

But if you have more time to spend here, there are other things you should consider when in Scheveningen:

  • The Pier – Walk along the pier for a great view over the beach. This is an activity you can do also on a rainy day, because parts of the pier are covered.
  • Bungy Jumping: if you dare, plunge from the top of the pier towards the foamy sea waters. The feeling must be very cool!
  • The Pier SkyView – Europe’s first Ferris Wheel over the sea, boasting captivating views from 50 metres over the sea and the Hague skyline.
  • Surf lessons. You can register for surf lessons at one of the surf schools on the beach.
  • Visit the old part of the village, Oud Scheveningen, to get an idea of how this place used to be.
Scheveningen Village
Photo Source: The Hague and Partners

  • Muzee Scheveningen – Learn about the history and culture of Scheveningen at this museum.
  • Madurodamvisit the miniature park depicting Dutch architecture and way of life.
  • Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus – you can’t miss this imposing art deco masterpiece built in the late 1800s. It will stand tall in front of you when you arrive there.
Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus

  • The harbour: if you are a fan of ships, you have to pass by the harbour with its two piers with red and green lighthouses.
  • Discover the surrounding nature. Scheveningen has beautiful parks all around it, on the tall sandy dunes: The Scheveningen Forest, Westduinpark and Oostduinpark are natural areas beautiful for a walk or a bike trip.
  • Celestial Vault in Kijkduin: Although it’s just outside of Scheveningen, the vault is still close by, right next to Westduinpark, and worth a visit. This artificial crater was created by artist James Turrell, and it’s a place where you can lie down and watch the clouds.
Meyendal dune area. Photo The Hague and Partners
Meyendal dune area. Photo The Hague and Partners

Events in Scheveningen

There are a few important events happening in Scheveningen every year, attracting big crowds and a lot of attention.

Nieuwjaarsduik (New Year’s dive) — a winter swim on the first day of the year. This is happening in various seaside towns in the Netherlands, but the one in Scheveningen is the largest.

Flag Day (Vlaggetjesdag) — in spring, when the first new herring of the year is auctioned and marks the start of the herring season. The day is marked with music, orchestras, sailing and various demonstrations.

The Fireworks Festival — this festival is also a competition. For about two weekends in August, the sky will be illuminated by impressive fireworks, offering an amazing view from the beach.

The Fireworks festival

Vreugdevuur — from the second Christmas day to New Year’s eve. This is a large competition between two subdivisions of Scheveningen (Duindorp and Scheveningen Dorp) to build the largest tower made out of pallets and then lighting it on fire to signal the beginning of the year. This competition sparks discussions and controversy each year, but for now it still holds.

With so many attractions, it’s no wonder Scheveningen charms so many visitors each year. And no matter the season you decide to go for a visit, you will enjoy the unique view over the pier, the large stretches of sand and the spectacular dunes.

Note: All the photos are copyright @Amsterdamian, unless stated otherwise.

This page includes affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra costs to you.

  • Stay tuned for more and follow Amsterdamian on Instagram and Facebook for daily stories about life in the Netherlands. Please share this post if you liked it!



  1. Discover the Dutch Provinces: South Holland | Amsterdamian - Amsterdam Blog - […] Scheveningen: A Charming Seaside Resort with a Rich History […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *