I recall a time, when I first moved to the Netherlands, and used to live in Scheveningen. The Pier was a bit of a non-entity. You had to pay to enter the interior, where there were a few sad little shops and not much atmosphere. The once grand restaurant at the end was a disused building – dark, unloved, and perched solitarily on its pillars in the middle of the rough seas. The main reason I ever went there was to take shelter from the wind and rain that can be relentless and horizontal at times.
Today, it’s a different story. Since last Autumn the Pier was given a new lease of life and transformed into a Food Boulevard, so I went along to check it out and see what had changed from those memories of mine, from many years ago. I couldn’t have been more surprised, and pleasantly so.
The Pier was purchased in 2015 by an independent company who have spent time and money making it something worth visiting. It leaves you with great memories of time spent at the beach, whatever the weather.
As I walked through the entrance doors, the sound of soft Sunday morning jazz greeted me. You can have your selfie taken at a sofa right in the entrance way and pick up your photos, at a cost, further up the boulevard. Retro styled seating dotted around the interior, provides plenty of spots for people watching or relaxing. In the nice weather there are terraces outside where you can sit and enjoy the sunshine with a different view of the Scheveningen beach.
Before you get distracted by the many food outlets here, browse the permanent shops, Celestial Footwear, Sabon, ‘Groenten Uit Scheveningen’ Greetings from Scheveningen, a traditional gift shop, and Spicy Scarves. Pop up shops, which vary from week to week, innovative hand made crafts and art are normally the type of thing to expect. Red Bull Eyewear, self explanatory for those must have shades this summer.
And now for the food boulevard. Have a yard of ale at The Craft Beer Company, or a metre of fries at Frieterie. The Rough Kitchen is everything from the grill, with an accent on pork. Pulled pork sandwiches, steak, spare ribs, and tasting platters. Whatever takes your fancy there is something to please every palette. Pickles Burgers needs no further explanation. Handmade 100% beef burgers, you can add your own toppings or go with their suggestion. And if you are calorie counting, it’s possible to order your burger naked (without the bread). The Foodtruck Shack, enjoy a changing monthly menu of street food made with local fresh ingredients. Sweetie Cantina, south american streetfood and cocktails. Kust serves traditional Dutch cuisine, rotissiere chicken, home made meatballs to traditional apple pie. Bar de Pier speaks for itself, with an outside terrace on both levels.
You can eat and drink your time away here, whilst people watching and enjoying some local talent via the open mike stage. In cooler months there are open fires to keep the chill away, whilst in the summer months the bars extend to the top deck of the Pier. With unparalled views across the beach, you can sit up here and feel almost as if you are on a cruise ship! Wander along the top deck, at the end you will find Pier Zuid in the circular building, offering a full restaurant menu whilst you literally sit over the sea. De Pier Pannenkoeken, situated underneath the bungy tower, is where you will find pancakes, poffertjes, a surprise children’s menu, and a children’s play area. It’s very child-friendly if you have little ones in tow.
If you still haven’t had enough fun and aren’t too full after browsing the food boulevard, then head to the bungy tower. You can leap from 60m high, out into the blue whilst having your picture taken. It’s not for everyone but those thrill seekers amongst us will find it exhilarating. Open every weekend. Just don’t wear those new Red Bull sunglasses that you just purchased, they are sure to end up in the sea!
There is a full agenda of events going on at the Pier, be sure to regularly check their website to see what’s going on. There are events every weekend throughout the summer, vintage vehicle shows, home made markets (all things home made), Jazz Dayz (jazz festival), just to mention a few of the things going on during the month of May.
Getting There and Away
Tram 9 and 1 will take you to Scheveningen from The Hague centraal station. It’s approximately a 20 minute ride. Bus line 22 runs from central station. There is also plenty of parking available. Just be aware that during summertime and any special events, traffic can be very heavy and parking quite challenging. Public transport is often the best way to get to the beach. Do as the Dutch do and travel there by bike, you can have a very pleasant cycle past the Peace Palace and through the ‘Scheveningse Bosjes’ Scheveningen woods. Bikes can be hired from central station for as little as €7.50 per day. Plenty of secure bike parking is available at the beach.
Opening hours vary, depending on the season, so it’s a good idea to check ahead. The Pier has a website full of information: cultural agenda, what to eat and drink, and more importantly opening times.
Monday – Thursday: the shops are open 11.00-18.00 daily, Pier Pannenkoken and Pier Zuid are open 10.00-22.00.
Friday – Sunday: 11.00-22.00 and the Food Boulevard opens 12.00-22.00.
The stallholders on the Food Boulevard use their own discretion about opening times during the week so you may find that opening hours vary from those times stated above. October to February the Food Boulevard opens only when it’s good beach weather.