Beach cafés, or strand paviljoens, are one of the delightful aspects of Dutch beaches and now is the time of year when they come into their own. I love the Netherlands’ open, natural beaches, so different from so many over-developed beaches around the world, lined with resorts.
There is nothing more lovely than a beach café on stilts on the beach in summer or winter, where you can sit and enjoy a bowl of soup or a coffee on a cold day or a chilled glass of wine and watch the sunset.
Another thing I love about these beach cafés is the interior design: some are rustic, some adopt the “cool surfer dude” style and some take their inspiration from the sea.
These are a few of my recommendations, but there are many to choose from, scattered
along the extensive Dutch coastline. So, take a beach walk and stop off at any of the beach cafés
on stilts … you are bound to find a warm welcome.
Noorderstrand 2 (Zwarte Pad) Scheveningen
I found Standclub by chance a few years ago and loved the relaxed beach vibe here. The décor has a clean, seaside feel, and it struck me whilst there that this would be an amazing place to get married! (And yes, they offer that option if that first date works out.) The deck area has sun beds to lounge on and the seating extends onto the beach if you want to get some sand between your toes. The menu wasn’t
extensive but had a good selection of Dutch party food including ribs, burgers, salads and borrel (5 o’clock cocktail snacks).
Brouwersdam, Ouddorp, Zeeland
Beach Brouwersdam 2, Scharendijke
One of my all-time favorite spots for dinner after a chilly walk on the beach in the fall or after a rare day of basking in the summer sun on the beach is Strandclub Zee. They have a great menu with light bites, burgers and lots of fresh mussels when they are in season. Often on a Sunday afternoon, they will have live music.
The deck area is spacious and has a great view of the sunset. You almost feel you are on a ship when the tide is in, and you are perched up high over the waves. The design is beach-y with accents of blue and rattan, and the interior is spacious and cozy on chilly fall days with an open fire to warm your hands. There is also a store.
Strand Westkapelle 80, Westkapelle, Netherlands
If you are looking for a strand café with a diverse menu, this is my favorite spot for a non-traditional Dutch meal. The menu has an international feel and offers vegan and gluten-free options. They also stock some interesting locally brewed beers. With friendly staff and a good-sized deck area decorated with brightly colored cushions and a cozy interior, BomBaai Strandbar is a great place to eat something delicious and different whilst watching the large ships pass by just meters from the beach.
De Bucksweg 2, Westkapelle
Another favorite spot to stop for a drink, Beachclub Zuiderduin has two levels, so grabbing a seat on
the roof is a must. With lounging sofas and big armchairs, it’s a great spot to relax with a drink and some snacks. Situated just the other side of the dunes from a Fletcher hotel, you can even make a night of it. My favorite part, though, are the swings hung beneath the restaurant – they call out to the kid in all of us!
Joossweg 1, Zoutelande
My final choice is Scheldezicht as it is open year-round, every day. So, whether you need a hot drink and some soup to warm up or fancy a summer lunch, this is the spot … plus you get sunsets to gaze at 365 days a year. It is close to, as is Zuiderduin, the Westkapelle-Zoutenlan cycle path and the hiking trail along the top of the dunes so you can burn some calories before or after your visit.
The staff are friendly and their menu has some delicious options for lunch or dinner.
Of course, these are just a few of the lovely cafes sprinkled along the Dutch coastline.
If you have a favorite and you’re willing to share, let me know at: [email protected] and we’ll add it to the list.
About the author:
Photographer/writer Jackie Harding was born in the United Kingdom. As a long-time expat, she lived in Boston for 12 years and in the Netherlands for the past 10 years.
Trained as a nurse in the U.K., she worked for nine years in the United States as a special education teacher’s assistant. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has discovered writing and photography.
Contributing to Dispatches since 2016, Jackie has written about her travels around Europe as well as about expat life and issues.
She also covered the Women’s March Amsterdam.
She’s married to British businessman Martin Harding and is the mother of two international adult children.