Every summer, our little family would venture outside Rotterdam to go the beach since we are usually holed up in a nearby campsite in Oostvorne.
Just a few minutes drive along the Maasvlakte, a massive extension of the Europoort Port in Rotterdam, a whole new world of long-stretch beach beckons. The Maasvlakte strand (Dutch for the beach) is technically also part of the extension that was dredged from the North Sea and therefore, man-made. This is a sort of the good side of this massive reclamation where areas are usurped for recreation and environmental protection. These days, it is popular among Rotterdamers and vacationers from all over the Netherlands and Germany.
This beach is ideal for everyone, especially those with children. The beach is so huge children can run endlessly and make sandcastles or see little fishes in the puddle. During high summer, it is advised to lather enough sunscreen since the sun here can be punishing. That’s why a beach tent and enough sunscreen are a perfect solution.
I prefer this beach from Scheveningen in The Hague because it is massive and seems endless. Even in peak season during the summer, there is plenty of spots to set up your picnic tent. The absence of commercial ventures, except for frietzaak (selling fries, burgers, ice cream and burgers), makes this beach more appealing. But there is one exceptional frietzaak that you must visit while in the vicinity. Just about 10-minute drive at the end of the boulevard on a hilly section of Maasvlakte, you will find a gem called Balkon van Europa (loosely translated as the balcony of Europe). This is the best place in the world for ship spotting as the world’s biggest ships pass by the North Sea from or to Rotterdam Port. It is run by a middle-aged couple who discovered the place while having a vacation in South Holland. These days, Balkon van Europa is the go-to place of truck drivers, ship spotters, and vacationers.
Also along the way to the beach, there are well-placed view decks to see the horizon and the whole extent of the beach and the North Sea. If you are lucky, you get to see seals in a protected spot.
For the curious how dredging is done, there is FutureLand (Europaweg 902, Maasvlakte) which is just about a few minutes from the beach. The information center gives easy to understand explanation on a very complicated expansion of land by dredging the sea, definitely one of the Dutch expertise.
We will definitely go to this beach again this summer. :))