Summerproof Zandvoort

It’s hot and when you walk around Amsterdam, you see people eating popsicles with their feet in buckets of ice cold water. You’re quite jealous, because the heat is seemingly unbearable. How can you cool yourself down? Well, the answer is simple: pack your bathing suit and your towel and get the next train to Zandvoort!

Zandvoort, like the name suggests (Zand means sand), is a town practically next to the beach, perfect for the hot weather that is currently headed our way. The entirety of Europe is currently (begin July, 2019) having a heatwave, so having an escape-plan for when the city gets to hot is very handy. Not only can you go by car, you can also pick a direct connection by either train or bus.

After all, Amsterdammers have been doing it for centuries, going out of the city to go to the beach in Zandvoort. Zandvoort used to be a Fishing Village (a village that relies heavily on the fish they catch), but in the 19th century, that begins to shift, as the village becomes a popular beach-destination. In 1881, a railway station opened, which stimulated the tourism, and a tram-connection to Haarlem in 1889 was the icing on the cake. The funny thing is, people didn’t just wade into  the ocean like you would now, they went by horse and carriage. They didn’t stop at the shoreline either, they went deep into the water for the passenger to jump out. The carriage, called bathcarriage, looked similar to a covered wagon one might find in the wild west. There were benches inside, a place to hang your clothes and a mirror. The exit was at the back and the driver would park the carriage so that no onlookers could see anything. It was quite a strange habit, as the bathing suits were humongous and therefore there wasn’t a lot to see.

Luckily, we don’t have to go to the sea by horse and carriage anymore, we can use the train or bus instead. Not only is it much faster, it’s also a lot less smelly! Nevertheless, going to the beach is a great idea, especially during the surprisingly warm summers we are now experiencing. Go try it for yourself!


Eline van der Peet