Zandvoort beach

A Beach in October

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photograph by Pete Heck

I didn’t know much about the Netherlands before I got there. I knew of windmills, wooden shoes and canals. The only Dutch word in my vocabulary was bloemkool (it means “cauliflower”…don’t ask me why I know that).

Zandvoort beach
That’s as far as I went.

One thing that I definitely never associated with the Netherlands was beautiful beaches. Truth is that along it’s North Sea coastline, miles of golden sand are welcoming, even if the water is not (cannot believe how some people can stand to swim in it!  So cold!)

On the unseasonably warm October day that we visited Zandvoort (just outside of Haarlem), it was full of people, which did turn us off at first. But we pulled out our blanket and sat for hours anyway, surprised that such a crowd could produce no more sound than a dull murmur. Perhaps we are too used to loud music, boisterous beach vendors and drunk North Americans that plague other beaches we’ve been to. Rather than drown it all out with my head phones plugged in, I enjoyed the quiet arrival of waves on shore, the gentle laughter of kids, and eavesdropping on conversations, trying to pick out recognizable words in a stream of foreign chatter.

Crowds at Zandvoort beach
A busy day at the beach.

Pete, on the other hand, enjoyed other things.

Zandvoort beach beauty
He claims he was taking a picture of the toy. Hmmm.

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  1. Looks like folks in the Netherlands know how to maximize good weather days.

    I do love beaches in N. Amer. during October and March. You can still sun bath at many of them because while mornings and evenings are cool, the afternoons are often warm but less crowded as most don’t consider this or are back at work/school.

  2. I have lived near the ocean most of my life…and it’s always cold!! As a kid I didn’t care but as I got older I was just like the adults in that picture…happy to stay on the beach!!

    1. I love running and diving into the ocean as a way to get refreshed, but it was just too damn cold! Felt good to be by the ocean though…as someone who most definitely did not grow up near the ocean, I am forever drawn to it…

  3. i had no idea either dalene! and i have two close friends from the netherlands! warm beaches are a relatively new thing in my life (grew up on the coasts, but water’s not as warm as say, thailand!) but i think i’m spoiled now too! thanks for the tip! and ahem, sure pete! lol

  4. How lovely! It’s always nice to get some unexpected sun and warm weather. I had some beach early October in Rostock, Germany which is also on the Baltic Sea – and I think the beach was just as liberal too 😉

    – Lily

  5. Wow – all those folks on the beach wasn’t what came to mind when I thought “Netherlands beach in October”!

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