Lonely Planet Writer

A beach in Netherlands is holding a year-long party to celebrate its 200th birthday

On reaching the ripe old age of 200 years, very few people would celebrate by tearing off their clothes and running directly into the bracing waves of the North Sea—but that’s how the Dutch seaside resort of Scheveningen blew out the candles on New Year’s Day, kick-starting a year-long beach party throughout 2018 to mark its double century.

Scheveningen, Netherlands is hosting a year-long beach party. Image by Giuseppe Moscarda / EyeEm / Getty Images

Around 10,000 adventurous locals from the Hague took part in the annual New Year Dive and the sub-zero swim is set to be followed by a swath of intriguing events and shows, including Rings Beside the Sea, a vast land art project measuring 150 x 300 metres that will be scrawled into the golden sands. Other events lined up on the calendar include the Sand Sculpting World Championships in June, which will feature 11 large sand artworks; the world’s biggest motocross beach race, Red Bull Knock Out, in November; and August’s spellbinding International Fireworks Festival.

Kitesurfers and sailboarders on Scheveningen Beach. Image by ©Jan Kranendonk/Getty Images

Scheveningen has also been chosen as the finish line for the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race, a 65-boat sailing competition that will have covered 46,000 nautical miles of high winds and crashing waves in nine months. The ears of music fans should prick up too as a number of concerts and live shows have been planned, such as BonFire Beach Fest in April, a live performance of the fisherman’s opera Hard Hands in September, and a weekend of Latin and Caribbean music in February’s Tropical Valentine festival. A number of art exhibitions are also on the cards, head here for further details.

200 years ago local fisherman Jacobus Pronk erected the resort’s first bathhouse, a humble wooden structure containing just four seawater bath tubs. Those bath tubs would go on to transform the village into the country’s first seaside resort.