The school holidays have arrived and the beach is surely on the wish list of every child this summer. The good news is that if you live in or around The Hague you have an excellent choice of beaches to explore. So get your bucket and spades, sun cream and a picnic ready and head off to one of these sandy locations.
The most famous Hague beach is undoubtedly Scheveningen which not only offers sand, sea, relaxation, water sports and, if you are lucky, a little sun, but also has its fair share of places to eat and drink, as well as entertainment and attractions for young and old.
Things to Do: There is lots to do in Scheveningen: from relaxing on the beach, taking a walk to Glow Golf and surfing at the Surfer’s Village. You can also head to Scheveningen harbour for sailing, offshore fishing and day trips or a spot of shopping or boat watching from a terrace.
Once the children tire of building sandcastles and splashing in the sea there is much more to keep them entertained.
The Kurhaus hotel is a notable site to cast your eyes over in Scheveningen, but there is also a huge range of beach clubs and restaurants to grab a bite to eat or a drink at or take a long leisurely lunch or dinner along the beach and the promenade.
There are also two theatres, a Pathe cinema, a shopping centre and a Sea Life Centre.
For the adults there is the Museum Beelden aan Zee and a Holland Casino in Scheveningen.
Safety: the Rescue Brigade and a flag warning system are in operation on Scheveningen beach (a red flag means that swimming is not advised, a yellow flag means that swimming can be dangerous). Consult the Hague Volunteer Rescue Brigade for specific warnings.
Getting there: Scheveningen has plenty of parking garages but note that on busy days these are quickly full. As soon as a real summer’s day is forecast the roads to Scheveningen are quickly congested and you can expect traffic jams for miles around trying to get into the area. Luckily, Scheveningen is also very well served by public transport, namely trams and buses. You can find more detail here.
More southerly on the Dutch coastline, Kijkduin is a lesser-known beach than Scheveningen but also a resort of The Hague. It’s a family friendly beach worth exploring, particularly with smaller children. It is also a fabulous starting or finish point for a walk or a cycle in the dunes surrounding the beach.
Facilities: there is a shopping centre with specialised shops as well as various restaurants along Kijkduin’s promenade. For the children there is a play boat and a lighthouse to explore.
Safety: the Rescue Brigade and a flag warning system is in operation in Kijkduin. A red flag means that swimming is not advised, a yellow flag means that swimming can be dangerous. Consult the Hague Volunteer Rescue Brigade for specific warnings.
Getting There: Kijkduin offers a range of (some free) parking and there are bus and tram routes directly from The Hague to the promenade.
There are eight kilometres of coastline around Wassenaar and the beach is accessible from two points: the Meijendelse Slag on the south side and the Wassenaarse Slag on the north side. The beach here is much quieter than those in The Hague with fewer amenities, but perfect for making sand castle, relaxing and building dams (or is that something just my little Dutch sons do?).
Facilities: There is a beach library on sunny summer days available and a handful of beach clubs for food and drink as well as deck chair and parasol rental.
Safety: the Rescue Brigade is operational in the high season at the Wassenaarse Slag entry to the beach and there is also a police hut there.
Getting There: There are two large paid parking areas, which provide good access to the beach and the dunes. Alternatively cycling is a good option.
Katwijk aan Zee
If you move in a northerly direction from Scheveningen past Wassenaar you will end up in Katwijk aan Zee, a seaside resort that attracts its fair share of tourists. Katwijk has a Quality Coast Award and has been awarded the Blue Flag, an international environment standard.
The promenade is practically on the water’s edge, making for a nice stroll. Sea, sand and beach huts as well as parasol and deck chair rental – all you need for a day on the beach.
Facilities: Aside from being the hometown of Dutch international footballer Dirk Kuyt, Katwijk also houses the oldest lighthouse (De Vuurbaak) on the Dutch coast as well as an idyllic looking white church, aptly named De Witte Kerk.
Along the beach itself and on the promenade there are plenty of places to eat and drink ranging from restaurants to beach clubs covering most of the cuisines you’d expect to find in the Netherlands. There is a shopping centre (Zeezijde) close to the beach.
There is also a small art museum (Katwijks Museum) which displays work of both Dutch and foreign artists who painted in Katwijk.
Safety: There is a police hut on Katwijk beach, which provides information about the quality of the water, the tide, the weather and special events. Special wheelchairs for the sand can be found in some of the beach clubs and are free to use.
The Rescue Brigade and lifeguards are active on Katwijk’s 4km long beach and there is a first aid post. There is a flag system to indicate where swimming is safe. A red flag means that swimming is not advised, a yellow flag means that swimming can be dangerous. Consult the Katwijk Reddingbrigade website for further information.
Getting there: there are various possibilities for parking including parking garages and street parking. Charges apply so be sure to check the signs when you park.
There are bus routes direct from The Hague Central Station, as well as from Leiden to Katwijk’s boulevard.
Noordwijk aan Zee
Continue moving north up the coast and you reach Noordwijk aan Zee, which also holds the Quality Coast Award and the international Blue Flag. You can rent parasols, deck chairs and windbreakers on the beach and there are plenty of places to quench your thirst and satisfy hunger, big or small.
Facilities: Noordwijk is home to luxury hotel Huis ter Duin, which you may have seen as the backdrop on TV news items for when the Dutch football team gathers together. Huis ter Duin also hosted Obama and other world leaders during the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014.
In fact, Noordwijk aan Zee is associated with chic beach tourists – but we common folk are also very welcome.
There are two boulevards to explore, one more traditional that the other with plenty of food and drink options. A lighthouse sits on Wilhelmina Boulevard.
There is a kite surf school in Noordwijk for the more active beach goer and for those wanting to relax there is a beach library available on sunny days during the summer months.
The Atlantic Wall museum is housed in Noordwijk and can be visited without reservations on Sundays between May and September.
Safety: There is a police hut on the beach. The Rescue Brigade and lifeguards are active on Noordwijk’s beach and there is a first aid post. A flag system is in operation to indicate where swimming is safe.
Getting There: You can park in one of the five parking garages, or find a parking space on one of the streets, and in all cases charges apply. You can either catch a train to Leiden and take a bus from Leiden Centraal to Noordwijk or catch a direct bus from Centraal Station in the Hague (not operational in the weekend).