A walk on the beach in Scheveningen

Ulrike Grafberger, dinsdag 16 april 2013

When there’s a real storm and as a southern German, I’d like to curl up with a good book on the sofa, a Dutchman would prefer to go to the beach for “lekker uitwaaien” (a breath of fresh air). What doesn’t work for me at all is “lekker” (breath of) and “uitwaaien” (fresh air). Because “uitwaaien” (fresh air) means going to the beach in at least a cold force 6 wind with sand flying everywhere. So “Uitwaaien” also means nothing other than having the wind swirling round your head.

Exfoliation free of charge on the beach

On a cold, stormy Sunday in a force 9 to 10 wind, I was talked into going onto the beach at Scheveningen. I thought it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone else to rush towards the white flurry of foaming sand and sea. But far from it. A real mass migration was taking place there and then on the beach: a crowd of people wanting to feel the wind in their faces. Force 9 wind means: It’s pretty uncomfortable and standing still in a wind speed of 75 kilometres an hour is difficult, as is walking against the wind. What’s more, there’s free facial exfoliation as well as red cheeks and nose.
So we walk bravely along the beach against the wind. Grains of sand in your eyes, between your teeth, in your hair and ears. Bits of foam fly around everywhere, spreading over the beach. But I have to admit: my head is given a blast of fresh air.

Warming up with Chocomel

But the best thing on a beach walk like this is warming up afterwards. When the so-called “beach tents”, in other words the refreshment stalls, are set up (between March and October), then of course it’s at its best. And when it’s stormy outside, the hot chocolate (Chocomel) tastes particularly good. For anyone who wants to retreat into a less stormy environment, I can recommend the following restaurants on the Scheveningen harbour: There’s freshly caught fish at Simonis (20 Visafslagweg). Admittedly, this is not a cosy restaurant for a romantic dinner for two, but an oversized fishing-warehouse in which the dishes are called out over loudspeakers. Nevertheless: you can’t eat fish more authentically than in Scheveningen. And it’s relatively cheap too.

Freshly brewed beer and good wine

Anyone wanting to enjoy a stylish menu of star-level quality, on the other hand – with the finest and freshest fish, of course – will be in good hands at Mero’s (61e Vissershavensweg, on the first harbour). While the approach is more down to earth at Simonis, you’re waited on expertly and with great charm here. Wines are served that complement the fish, but meat lovers and vegetarians can all find something to suit them too. Would you rather just have a beer and a few Dutch “bitterballen? Then you’re in for a surprise: Scheveningen Harbours brews its own beer. Fourteen types of beer are produced year-round with the purest dune-filtered water, so not all the beers are always in stock. “Frisse Wind” and “Schevenings Triple” are classics. The beer lovers’ paradise is Brouwcafé (28 Doctor Lelykade) and is situated directly on Scheveningen’s second harbour - with a fantastic view of the ships.

So when there’s another storm, first go “uitwaaien”, or get a breath of fresh air on the beach, then go and eat fish on the harbour – and enjoy a blustery day to the full.