A sauna in the Netherlands may sound like the perfect way to relax…Until you walk in and everyone is butt naked.
Yes, you read that right. Stark, bollock naked. No bikini, no swimsuit, nada. But don’t be alarmed if your work colleague or mum friend from school suggests a visit. Visiting a sauna or spa in the Netherlands can actually be a really fun, liberating experience. Read on for my own personal experience of this typically Dutch pastime.

Dutch sauna facilities are amazing

I have been lucky enough to visit a few different Dutch saunas in my time here. I have to say these places are amazing. They are normally set on their own grounds with beautifully appointed changing areas (mixed of course). You’ll find a huge variety of swimming pools, steam rooms, jacuzzis, and of course, saunas (finish, infrared, salt, Asian, four elements, Himalayan, etc). They also normally have these ‘relax rooms’ equipped with full-size beds and blankets that you can just go and take a nap on.

But don’t panic that the bed mate before you has laid there starkers. Everyone gets issued with a bathrobe and slippers (or you can take your own). In the public areas, most people will keep their robe on, and only disrobe to actually go into the sauna, steam room, pool etc. Although, you do get the odd few who like to walk around the whole time in their birthday suit. But for me, it can get a little chilly walking from sauna to sauna, especially since many are set across huge outdoor grounds.

Sauna in the Netherlands have nice restaurants and bars

Most of the spas I’ve been to have a selection of restaurants and bars dotted over the facility. This means you get to enjoy a glass of wine and some Dutch snacks. If you prefer something more, some spas even offer three-course meals or a full buffet (you know how the Dutch just love a buffet).

And the best bit, you are all sitting around munching on your goodies in your bathrobe. No need to get changed! Just imagine biting into your portion of bitterballen knowing your own bitterballen are hanging free. Win-Win!

No cameras are allowed in Dutch saunas

No need to worry about voyeurs and weirdoes who secretly try to film you lying back legs akimbo (please don’t do this!!) in the sauna. There is a strict no mobile phones/cameras allowed policy, which they will enforce. Plus, the age range in these spas tends to average in the higher figures, many of whom still have no clue how to work a Nokia 7710, let alone the latest camera phone.

Going to a sauna in the Netherlands will make your body confidence skyrocket

The first time I went to a naked sauna I’d not long ago given birth by C-section and was incredibly self-conscious. I imagined everyone would be staring at my scar (as well as my dimpled thighs and rather large Kim K like derriere).

But I seriously needn’t have worried. Because when everybody is naked you actually realise that in REAL LIFE everybody looks different, but also exactly the same. We all have boobs and vajayjays, willies and bums. Some are saggier, some are bigger, some tummies are rounder, some legs are slimmer. But who cares. I walked out of that spa feeling 10 feet high and could see for myself where that Dutch confidence comes from.

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*Word of advice: when picking a spa or sauna to visit, it’s always worth choosing one a little further away. No matter how confident I am I have zero desire to see my kids’ school teachers/bank manager/mother in law whilst we are both naked, having to pretend like we’re not.

All in all, going to a sauna in the Netherlands is one hell of an experience! Have you ever been to one before? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Nkaminetskyy/Pixabay
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in September 2018 and was fully updated in September 2020 for your reading pleasure.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Last time I was at Zuiver Spa, I met a delightful young lady in the (moderate temperature) salt sauna, and we she was delightful because she was, like me, singing in a choir 🙂 So we exchanged experiences from swedish and dutch choirs, and egged on by the others in the sauna, we also sang ‘typical’ folk tunes and choir works to each other. The acoustics in this sauna was even superb for singing 🙂 Anyway, Zuiver Spa really IS social nudity. Love the place, have always had good experiences meeting nice people there thansk to the wonderful and very relaxed atmosphere. And the combination of raw concrete and lot’s of green plants is strangely beautiful.

  2. Nice writing! However, as a Finnish person I have to just correct few things. First of all, since sauna comes from Finland it is not really a dutch activity (I know only few dutchies who actually have gone to sauna in The Netherlands) and there are no such things as dutch saunas (so you should maybe correct that to the text as country of origin;)). I have not visited saunas in the Netherlands yet but what I have heard, you are not e.g. allowed to throw the water to the stones yourself. If you want to experience authentic Finnish sauna, there are many of those in the Netherlands rented by actual Finnish people. I however am glad how you brought out the nudity aspect being natural and how to be proud of our bodies! It’s super natural in our culture and we go there with friends (mixed sexes) since there is nothing sexual about it and everyone are there just to relax. Great text anyways but I just had to come and correct a little. Have a nice day! 🙂

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