There is still much to be done, but Roel Oude Avenhuis (36) and Ruben Woudenberg (37) are confident: at opening these days, sand has washed off the whitewashed wooden floor, and the beds are on the wide beach in front of the establishment that will have a new wall , showers for kite surfers and surfers were connected and Boca Grande opened its doors.
The beach strip about 8 kilometers south of Zwarte Pad is where most visitors settle. The two entrepreneurs who were able to fund their beach club through crowdfunding could have opted for that, too, but that was exactly the part that was least discovered: “more space.” Kiters hardly get close to the bathers and it’s precisely this mix that they want to gather around them through catering school and surfing.
Robin (left) and Roel from Boca Grande
Nick Van Den Dongen
The area in Kijkduin is under full development, the brands Avenhuis and Woudenberg, both residents of “Scheef”, as they say here. This is evident from the high cranes that were built to build the necessary (luxury) housing, but also with the plans of South Beach Street, a park like Scheveningen is also known. With nine bars on the beach, with all the necessary space in between, it’s much quieter here. Well, thanks to the harbor, the waves in Scheveningen are more beautiful, “but there are 500 men in the sea.”
“A place for the future,” say the two, who hope to become the area’s water sports hub. “Kijkduin was rundown, but it seems to have become a hot spot. We will have to do more to attract people, but the advantage is that you can build a community. People who want to be active first, but then want to relax with their feet in the sand.”
With offshore winds, you can always surf the water at Zandmotor, a little further away. An artificial sandbank, also known as DeltaDuin, built in 2011 (costing €70 million). It is shaped like a peninsula whose sand naturally spreads along the coast by wind and currents, creating wider beaches and sand dunes. A unique piece of nature that may have garnered worldwide attention, but it does not attract the crowds that fill the beaches of Scheveningen.
From afar we can see the sidewalk with a pinwheel, it is quiet and quiet here, with its own section for nudists in the summer.
Let’s not now good old Forget about Scheveningen, because the most unpredictable seaside resort for foreign tourists is not for nothing the most famous and largest seaside resort in Northwest Europe. According to the latest figures, Scheveningen was visited 4.6 million times in 2019 and the pier was the biggest attraction in The Hague in the same year with 2.5 million visitors.
Ironically, this mass attraction is in danger of disappearing, much to the chagrin of many. Significant maintenance (and a big bag of money) is needed to replace or repair parts in the short term, or else it won’t be safe to build before 2025.
It is part of the seaside resort’s history that originated in 1818 with the creation of the first hammam in the Netherlands, by Jacob Bronk. With a harbour, boulevard, beach and park restaurants, and must-see attractions like Holland Casino, Sea Life, and the famous Kurhaus, the Hague area is a place you often see as a Dutch overseas tourist. .
Still in development: Aan de Koot, a no-nonsense beach bar in its own words, opened on Noorderstrand at the end of last month. They don’t like it in Scheef and this immediately characterizes the place, for example, Bloemendaal.
Today, on the day the sun finally shows itself again, showing its best side: a man and a dog walking on the beach, the bronze stands out from 23 stubbornly fanciful portraits of Tom Otterence that were set well in 2004. the sky is blue. Beer is on restaurant tables, beach bars are preparing for a great season when everything is allowed again, and fresh fish is in great demand from the stalls to be found here and there.
It takes a little longer to find the so-called cafes in The Hague. Most often these are simple wooden chains where real residents of The Hague get a “cup of coffee” and at the same time discuss the results of football, the situation in the world and the fortunes of their acquaintances. Cultural and historical places are threatened by the arrival of trendy coffee shops, which we partake of just as hard with our visit to the hot spot Tigershark Coffee.
The number of cafe chains has halved in the past 20 years, but locals still know where to find them: for example in the square near the Muzee Scheveningen Museum of Cultural and Natural History. The decor is simple, but the more modest the interior, the better the coffee.
horse and carriage
Towards the center, we walk around Hofje van De Lange and Betje van Duijne, tip from a resident. In the side streets of the Werfstraat we find the original fishermen’s houses. Some are better preserved than others, but with a little imagination you can still get a taste of the past and see sea fisherman Jean de Lange (1891-1990) driving over the cobblestones with a horse and cart. For 75 cents he drove the kids across town and onto the beach and in the 1960s collected potato peels with them. Now a surfer in a wet suit with a short plate under his arm is riding a bike, his hair still wet.
The neighborhood has changed, according to someone who has lived here for 50 years. Although the houses are small, they are a stone’s throw from the sea and are therefore worth a ‘fortune’. The horse and cart have given way to the Teslas and “we know us” is on the decline, but he still enjoys living there nonetheless. “The best thing is that I can hear my watch ticking,” explains Calm in the neighborhood.
“Scheveningen will always retain its charm,” Boca Grandi owners Oude Avenhuis and Woudenberg know. “You have the urban feel of The Hague and the cool atmosphere of the surfers. You get a sense of nostalgia there.” It was mixed with culture, nature and history. And good coffee, of course.