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Scheveningen, once a bustling seaside resort, is in dire straits due to a combination of bad weather, economic setbacks and a lack of municipal support.

Mid-June, normally a time of sun, sea and beach fun, looks more like a dreary autumn day in Scheveningen this year. The resort, once a bustling center of tourism, is suffering from a combination of bad weather and economic setbacks that are causing the season to plummet. While downpours and strong winds batter the beaches and temperatures barely rise above 12 degrees, the terraces remain empty and the boulevard deserted. The situation is alarming for beach tent owners and local entrepreneurs.

disappeared

A visit to Scheveningen begins with a telling emptiness. The normally busy parking garage at the iconic Kurhaus Hotel now offers plenty of space, even at the charging stations for electric cars, which are usually always occupied. This unusual silence continues on the boulevard, where most restaurants are virtually empty and many catering establishments appear to be permanently closed. Companies that just survived during the corona pandemic have now permanently disappeared. Even Moeke, a popular lunch spot on the boulevard, has closed its doors. Moeke was one of the first restaurants to open after the redevelopment of the Noord Boulevard, but has now shared the fate of many others and has disappeared.

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renovations Scheveningen
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Temporary construction bridge over the boulevard.

Another visible problem is the extensive renovation of the boulevard in front of the Kurhaus. The contractor has installed a large wall, blocking the sea view from the restaurants. This has certainly contributed to the decline in the number of visitors. Behind this wall, where the beach tents are located, the situation is not much better. When visiting Simonis, a popular spot for fishing, it turns out that almost all catering establishments are empty and some are even closed. A lost tourist still ventures onto the beach here and there, but the overall atmosphere is gloomy.

However, according to a local entrepreneur of an Argentinian restaurant, the problem is not only with the renovation or the weather. “The Hague does not do enough to promote Scheveningen. The city is a city where there is little or nothing to do. Compared to Rotterdam, which scores much better and is a vibrant city in the evening, there is absolutely nothing in Scheveningen,” says the restaurateur who knows the seaside resort inside and out.

The drive and attitude of staff also leaves much to be desired. When a potential customer wants to enter the Food Hall Scheveningen on the Boulevard at literally two minutes to twelve, he is turned away with the message that they will not open the doors until 12 o'clock. These types of interactions further deter the few visitors. “We don't open until 12 o'clock, sorry,” says an employee as he straightens chairs on the terrace. This inflexible attitude, even to potential early customers, illustrates a lack of hospitality and flexibility that seems characteristic of the current atmosphere.

vacancy

Further along the boulevard we come across the futuristic pavilion that will soon house the Silver Beach Club. Here one could have lunch, dinner and follow events such as the European Football Championship, the Olympic Games and Formula 1. However, the property is in the same unfinished state as it was two years ago, ready to be furnished but otherwise empty and unused. Things don't seem to be going well for Hommerson, the owner, because almost all the buildings in the new part of the boulevard are empty. Even pop-up shops no longer see a future in this environment.

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Scheveningen
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Scheveningen

Scheveningen, once the pearl on the Dutch coast, now seems the saddest seaside resort in the country. The costs for a parking space don't make things any better either. After a two-day stay at the luxurious Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus, parking costs amounted to no less than 75 euros. This type of expenditure also does not contribute to the appeal of the seaside resort to tourists.

It seems that Scheveningen has a long way to go before it can regain its former glory. Local entrepreneurs have not completely given up hope, but without support and a clear vision from the municipality of The Hague, the future of this once bustling seaside resort remains uncertain.

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