Korte Vijverberg 7
Greetings from Scheveningen!
Saturday June 30th, the ‘beach’ visits The Hague’s Historical Museum. Its new exhibition opens for kids and grown-ups with a party and festivities. These include free admittance for all, short guided tours, workshops, and lectures (in Dutch) on the 30th only.
The family exhibition ‘Greetings from Scheveningen!’ lifts a bit of the veil of 200 years of Scheveningen as Beach Resort. In 1818, entrepreneur Jacob Pronk opened a first bath-house. Soon grand hotels, including the Kurhaus, lined this stretch of coast.
In this exhibition, visitors ‘spend a day at the beach’. They start their ‘morning’ trying to reach the beach resort by horse-drawn coach, electric tram, cart. Where 19th century tourists would book hotel suits for weeks or months, today’s day-trippers or Airbnb, visitors continue to take a dip in the sea.
In the 19th century, a stay at Scheveningen Beach Resort was all about improving one’s health. Sea water and air were supposed to heal deadly illnesses like TB and be therapeutic. The exhibition shows how bathing changed: from using a horse-drawn bathing machine, to learning to swim. From donning bloomers or long swimsuits to bikinis and swimming trunks.
Hotel-guests spent their afternoons playing golf or tennis, riding horses or strolling along the beach during the 19th century and early 20th century. These days, visitors not just go for a swim but want to acquiring a tan.
Nowadays, most people head home by the end of the day. Right up to the Second World War, tourists expected to be entertained during the evening and night. Grand hotels had their own orchestras offering classical music concerts, soon replaced by ballroom dancing, which in turn was replaced by pop-concerts. Some things stayed the same though: firework displays, sand sculptures and Scheveningen’s Pier.
This exhibition is promoted as a family one and offers activities for kids. The museum also regularly offers workshops and guided tours. Check the museum’s website for more information.
“Greetings from Scheveningen” at The Hague’s Historical Museum; 30th June till 11th of November 2018: well worth a visit!
Kate Deni writing for The Hague Online
Photo: “Greetings from Scheveningen” postcard, private collection – courtesy Haags Historisch Museum