Scheveningen Port is a fishing port and resort in the western Netherlands province of Zuid-Holland. Lying on the North Sea shores, Scheveningen Port has been home to fishermen since the 14th Century. Administratively part of The Hague, it is one of eight districts within the capital city of The Netherlands.
A modern seaside resort, Scheveningen Port has an esplanade, a pier, a lighthouse, and a big sandy beach. About a kilometer north, Scheveningen Port also has a nudist section. Today, the port is used for tourism as well as fishing. About 23 thousand people live in Scheveningen Port, but the population is growing quickly.
“Sceveninghe” was first mentioned in written documents in the late 13th Century. It is possible that the first residents of Scheveningen Port were Anglo-Saxon, but some historians argue that Scheveningen Port is of Scandinavian origin. Whoever its first residents were, they depended on fishing for sustenance and for income.
In 1654, the Dutch and English navies fought the Battle of Scheveningen off the coast, close enough to land for thousands of spectators to watch the battle. In 1660, Charles II departed from Scheveningen Port to return to England when the monarchy was restored. In 1663, Scheveningen Port was connected to Den Haag by a road.
A 1470 storm damaged much of the village, destroying half of the homes and the church. Victim to similar storms in 1570, 1775, and four storms in the 1800s, the residents decided to build a harbor. In 1870, more than 150 fishing boats with flat bottoms (called bomschuiten) were still being used, pulled on the beach for “anchorage.” After the harbor was completed in 1904, the old style fishing boats were replaced with modern ships.
The Netherland’s King William I landed near Scheveningen Port in 1813. Jacob Pronk built a wooden building on a beach dune in 1818, providing a place with four rooms for people to bathe. This was the beginning of Scheveningen Port’s life as a resort. Since that time, European tourists have come to Scheveningen Port in ever-increasing numbers. In 1886, the Kurhaus hotel and restaurant opened, making the village an official resort.
Many Dutch artists have been attracted to Scheveningen Port over the centuries to pain the flat-bottomed fishing boats or the fishermen at work. Henrik Willem Mesdag created a 14 by 120 meter panorama that illustrates Scheveningen Port in 1881. Other noted painters who worked there include Simon de Vlieger and Adraen van de Velde.
Scheveningen Port was first opened in 1904, and its second harbor began operating in 1931. In 1973, a third basin was brought into Scheveningen Port where Norfolk Line ferries berth. Until the latter half of the 20th Century, Scheveningen Port was an independent municipality before it became part of The Hague. With a recently-expanded harbor and a new freight and container terminal, Scheveningen Port’s major industries include fish-canning and –freezing plants. Much of the Dutch herring fleet shelters at Scheveningen Port.