It is February and we are still firmly settled into the winter doldrums in The Netherlands. Yet, on a sunny Sunday you can find nearly half the country out on the beaches, dressed in winter coats going for a walk. I guess we’ve been here long enough to feel like it was a necessary because when we woke up and saw a cloud free sky we made plans to head to the beach.
The Dutch use the word “uitwaaien” meaning to take a walk in the wind. That is precisely what we did. We gathered at the beach to take a walk, enjoy the sunshine and the cold water of the North Sea.
Hoek-van-Holland is a great beach for this sort of exploration. It sits at the mouth of the port of Rotterdam. Your time at the beach is punctuated by passing cargo ships. This is thoroughly thrilling to the boys. You can also see windmills in the distance on the left shore.
Hoek-van-Holland has ample free parking. You can inch all the way up to the beach parking behind the beach clubs, although on a sunny day you are better off just parking in the large lot and walking the two blocks to the beach.
Dressing for uitwaaien is key, otherwise you will be miserable. It is still the middle of winter so you will need full winter attire. We also advise wellies for everyone, this way you can still get in some water play.
Our kids love walking out onto the sand bar and looking for sea creatures. We rarely find much but with nets in hand its all about the exploration.
Hoek-van-Holland is animal friendly so throngs of dogs are running around enjoying the beach. You’ll also run into many horse riders headed down the beach. This is all just more entertainment for our animal loving kids.
The Dutch spend most of their time walking down the shore and end with a coffee or meal at one of the beach clubs that are nested into the dunes. We however, packed a lunch and sat on a beach blanket and enjoyed the sunshine. The beach clubs are lovely but the kids don’t want to sit still, here they could run and play while we chatted. We were far enough from the water not to worry.
The kids all found different things to do. The Middle Little found some stroller marks in the sand and pretended they were train tracks. His little friend just wanted to fill his bucket with water. The Big Little and his friend were hard at work building a castle and blowing bubbles. The Little Little just wanted to eat.
We really could have sat all day in the sun, but the kids started to get a bit cranky so we all decided it was time to go. Getting the little ones to leave the beach though was quite difficult. If your visiting The Netherlands on a sunny winter day I encourage you to head to the beach, get a little Vitamin D and fresh air. Its a lovely way to spend the day.