Surf’s up in the Netherlands? You bet. If you can brave the chilly waters, there are plenty of great spots up the coast for you to hit the waves this season.
Keen to ride the waves, bask in the sun, and hang ten? While the Netherlands may not top the lists of the best countries to surf in, good offshore winds can create the perfect surfing conditions — especially if northwest and northern winds cause a swell.
If you’re stressing about where you can catch the perfect waves, don’t fret! We’ve hunted down nine of the best spots to surf in the Netherlands — and everything else you need to know.
What you should know about surfing in the Netherlands
Let’s not kid ourselves, this isn’t Hawaii or a tropical island we’re talking about. This is the North Sea, which means frosty toes are the price of a good shred. Wet-suits and cold-water wax are required year-round and compared to other surfing spots in the world, Dutch beaches do require more patience for catching a solid wave.
But they’ll certainly deliver the surfing fix you’re craving, and pushing through the cold will be totally worth it. Underestimating the surfing culture in Holland would be a mistake because if you know where to go, strong waves and firing barrels could be lining up for you and your board ‒ yewwww!
Best places to surf in Holland
We’ve collected nine of the best places to surf in the Netherlands below so you can find the top spot to catch the waves.
|TIP » For live surfing conditions of the various spots throughout the Netherlands, make sure you check out Magicseaweed before you head.|
Top Dutch surf spot: Noord Scheveningen
As one of the most popular surfing destinations in the Netherlands, Scheveningen is a must-see for any surfers looking to cut some water. About 20 minutes from the beautiful city of Den Haag, Scheveningen beach is easy to access and offers many restaurants and bars for that post-surf hangout.
The waves are point break, mainly from the right, which makes for a great challenge. The beach is sand but the seafloor does tend to have rocks, so this is not a recommended spot for beginner surfers. Although swells are not exactly world-renowned, they do create some decent waves worth paddling out for any time of the year.
Scheveningen is pretty much the hub of surfing culture in the Netherlands. But if you’d like to try out other spots, there are a lot more to choose from for sure.
Where to surf in the Netherlands: Texel
The island is host to a beach which runs uninterrupted for about 15km. This makes for a less crowded surfing experience, as well as a picturesque landscape of dunes and countryside. Here, you can expect steady winds and generally higher waves compared to other surf spots in Holland. The conditions also make for a great kitesurfing and windsurfing destination.
Zeeland’s best place to catch waves: Domburg
This scenic seaside town is located in the Zeeland province, which you can reach by bus or car quite easily from Rotterdam. Domburg has no train station, so if you’d prefer to avoid the more touristy beaches, this is the place for you.
Its beaches are known for strong, breaking waves, which are fast and can come from any direction. The most popular banks are just south of Domburg, past the golf course, but there are plenty of good spots higher up if you’d prefer to avoid the locals. One thing to be aware of is the jetty pilings at high tide.
A unique perk of Domburg is MadNes: the surf, skate and music festival that takes place here every July.
Most convenient surf beach in the Netherlands: Hoek van Holland
This beach starts at the mouth of Rotterdam’s Europoort and continues northward towards Scheveningen, making it easily accessible for anyone in the Rotterdam area. As another popular surfing destination in the Netherlands, many surf shops and schools can be found along this beach.
Surfing conditions are good, with steady winds and strong breaking waves. But pollution from the harbour does have an effect on water quality.
Popular surf choice: Zandvoort
Watersport enthusiasts flock to Zandvoort in the summer for its beautiful golden beaches and clean waters. The long stretches of sand prevent overcrowding, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to serve the summer beach buzz.
The sea is calmer in warmer seasons, but as Zandvoort is totally exposed to the sea, winds can pick up nicely here. Waves tend to be soft crumblers but can reform into stronger breaks. All levels of surfers can be found here, but longboarding is more suited to the conditions.
A surf spot away from tourists: Camperduin
The coastal village of Camperduin in North-Holland has a west-facing beach that leads into a man-made lagoon. It’s one of the quieter surfing spots and its beaches tend to have a lot of space, even in summer.
If you’re looking to shred some barrels, this is one of the best places to do so. Some of the most powerful jetty breaks in Holland can be found here, enough to snap a board every once in a while. Do be careful of strong rip tides at high tide.
Surf beach close to Amsterdam: Wijk aan Zee
A short 30-minute drive from Amsterdam, Wijk aan Zee is another favourite beach of the Dutchies. Although it can get quite crowded due to its popularity, there are many surfing resources at your disposal here, including shops, schools and hiring equipment.
Waves are of the beach break type, coming from all directions. With a soft-sandy bottom, conditions are perfect for beginner surfers right up to experienced. The huge jetties provide some wind protection but be careful of riptides as you get closer to these. Water quality is not the best at Wijk aan Zee, but its location makes it a good option for Amsterdammers.
Popular Dutch tourist beach: Bergen aan Zee
Bergen aan Zee is a coastal town in the province of North Holland. Tourists love it here in the summer, but it’s an emptier spot as far as surfing goes. Although, local surfers are frequenting here more often now.
Bergen aan Zee experiences fairly consistent point break waves, but in the summer it tends to flatten out. Swells come from both directions and the ideal time for a good shred is high tide. The bottom is sand but once again, be cautious of rips.
Quiet surf beach in the Netherlands: Ouddorp
You can find this village in South Holland surrounded by beautiful countryside and miles of white beach sand. It’s one of the quietest surf spots on the Dutch coastline, which is great if you’re looking for emptier waters.
The quality of the waves here are pretty low, but it’s a perfect place for beginners. The beach break waves come from all directions, the seafloor is sandy and there are few safety hazards. If you’re lucky, you might even see some seals in the water!
Is it safe to surf in the Netherlands?
If you stick to the designated surfing spots, surfing in the Netherlands is perfectly safe. Riptides and strong winds are things to be aware of, so do a little research before you head out into the waves. If it’s your first time surfing here and you’re anxious about paddling out into the unknown, start with the busier beaches where you can follow the lead of experienced locals. But generally speaking, you have nothing to worry about.
Should I wear a wetsuit when surfing in Holland?
Yes! In summer, you’ll need a wetsuit when surfing in the Netherlands of either a 3mm or 2mm thickness depending on the water temperature, but no hoods, gloves or boots required. In winter, you’ll need all of it, with a thickness of 5mm or 6mm.
When is the best time to surf in the Netherlands?
Usually, you’ll get stronger and more consistent waves in the winter months, with many beaches flattening out a bit during summer. But if you head to any of the hotspots mentioned above, you’ll find surfable waves year-round.
Where can I buy surfing equipment in Holland?
You can find surf shops along all the beaches mentioned in this article. But there are also stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Zoetermeer.
Can I hire surfing equipment in the Netherlands?
All the major surf-spots in the Netherlands have places to rent surfboards and other surfing equipment, including all of the locations mentioned in this article.
Did we leave out your favourite surf spot? Do you know more about some of the locations we mentioned? Tell us in the comments below!
This article was originally published in August 2020 and was fully updated in January 2021 for your reading pleasure.
Feature Image: Mark Wichers/Unsplash