The Hague’s seaside suburb of Scheveningen is also the most popular holiday resort in The Netherlands. Just a tram ride from the center of the city, Scheveningen has a 2.5-mile (four km) long promenade backing a sandy beach and the pristine waters of the North Sea. It had its heyday in the 19th century but recent injections of cash have spruced the town up to its former gentility.
The pier is the focus of Scheveningen beach and there’s plenty for families to enjoy around here, from bungy jumping to banana boating and wind surfing. Jet skis, surfboards and sailing dinghies can be hired and there are various schools teaching all manner of watersports. Kids will also love the sharks, delicate seahorses and rare otters at Sea Life Scheveningen and the fun but educational 3-D films at Omniversum. Quirky sculptures by US artist Tom Otterness line the promenade and there are more magical artworks to be found in the Museum Beelden aan Zee among Scheveningen’s sand dunes.
It’s worth taking a quick peek at the Panorama Mesdag, a vast 360° cyclorama of Scheveningen and its seashore as it appeared in 1881. At more than 45 ft (14 m) high and 400 ft (120 m) in length, the landscape was painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and is a masterly exercise in perspective. Nearby Madurodam is another firm favorite with children, for the models of Holland’s most famous buildings and windmills in miniature.
Scheveningen comes alive at night, offering a casino, plenty of quality seafood restaurants and bistros, cinemas, Kooman’s Puppet Theatre, musical theaters and a throbbing late-night party scene. The summer months see a healthy nightlife take off on the beach, with pop-up clubs and parties most nights. Between mid-November and January the Cool Event takes place in front of the splendid Kurhaus Hotel, featuring an ice rink, skating discos and parties for kids.
Scheveningen is a 15-minute tram ride from the center of The Hague. Most attractions are open daily throughout the year.