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Happy New Year! This was my first New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands in a bit and it was lovely celebrating it in my current home of the Hague. New Year’s Eve in the Hague, like most of the Netherlands, is something akin to a war zone and this year’s bonfire in Scheveningen was certainly one for the books… I include tips for spending New Year’s Eve in the Hague as well as the best events for New Year’s Eve in the Scheveningen/Hague area.
New Year’s Eve in the Hague
Fireworks by the Hofvijver
The main event for those not attending private parties is to view the fireworks over the Hofvijver, the lake next to the Binnenhof.
You’ll be able to enjoy fireworks and a DJ at this free New Year’s Eve celebration in the most central part of the city, a
Private Bar/Club Parties to dance the night away…
If you’re more interested in partying the night away, you’ll find numerous clubs in the Hague open for business. I was a bit tempted by the ’90s/’00s bash at Paard, which had reasonable tickets. I saw a lovely 1890s-inspired cocktail party where a proper costume was required at one of the bars for 50 euros
The few open bars with free entry…
There’s a disappointing lack of choice in terms of bars for those who leave the night open to adventure. One of my
New Year’s Eve in Scheveningen
The Scheveningen bonfire
New Year’s Eve in Scheveningen is one for the books, especially 2019. Since the late 1800s, Scheveningen has a tradition of having a bonfire. This has become a Dutch national tradition although this year has thrown things a bit into question for next year.
Since the 1990s, the bonfire, which was small and reasonable, increased in size as Scheveningen has “battled” the nearby area of Duindorp to see who had the highest bonfire. This year, Scheveningen had the highest bonfire in the world although things didn’t go so well after builders of the fire illegally built the fire beyond its
After a brief celebration of New Year’s Eve in the Hague, I cycled down to Scheveningen unaware of the fact that the strong winds forced the fire to go out of control and that a fire tornado had occurred. The strong winds resulted in ash and bits from the wooden fire being blown across old Scheveningen village similar to a fire rain.
A lot of people, myself included, were pretty freaked out although others decided to just cause rampant destruction in Scheveningen. The firefights of the Hague worked hard to keep the public safe and the bonfire had to be put out in the early morning. Needless to say, Scheveningen on New Year’s Eve was pretty haunting, but I honestly hope that the bonfire tradition is scaled back next year to ensure public safety.
Tips for celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Hague & Scheveningen
Stock up on food and alcohol early.
One of my biggest tips for spending New Year’s Eve in the Hague is to plan ahead. Supermarkets are generally open in the morning and they are especially busy. Beat the crowds by stocking up with everything you need on the 30th! There won’t be too much open on New Year’s Eve, so plan ahead in terms of your snacks after you get home.
Plan to cook on NYE unless you have a dinner reservation.
There are a number of restaurants with fantastic dinners, but you need to reserve ahead as this is a popular night for eating out. As mentioned previously, you’ll need to stock up on your groceries ahead.
If you’re interested in buying fireworks, buy them prior to New Year’s Eve!
There is a brief period when it is legal to sell fireworks in the Netherlands. This is in the New Year’s Eve fireworks and the Dutch loooove their fireworks. (Not everyone does…) That said, the lines at the pop-up firework stores will be insane. Avoid NYE for your firework haul and go earlier.
Dress warmly and waterproof yourself!
You really never know when the Netherlands will be cold and miserable. Although 2019’s NYE was perfect, I recommend prioritizing warmth over a cute outfit (unless you have a black tie event) if you’ll be outside for a considerable amount of time.
Prepare for the public transit shutdown and ensure that you have a bike
Unfortunately, public transit shuts down fairly early in the Hague. Luckily, you can take taxis, however
Be careful while biking …
It turns out that everyone is a fireworks specialist on New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands. The Netherlands really descends into chaos on New Year’s Eve, so be really careful while biking as people often set off fireworks in the middle of the street or the bike lane. Go slowly, but surely…
Book your hotel ahead. (Stay near Lange Voorhout to avoid the worst of the fireworks!)
If you’re looking to get away from it all with rooms that will allow
If you’re not keen on standing outside, purchase tickets for private parties ahead
It’s not usually fun standing outside in the cold, which is why private parties are a great option if you’re looking for an excuse to get all dressed up and dance the night away. It’s a nice respite from the crowds.
Don’t be afraid to stay home to comfort your animals
My kitties were pretty traumatized by the fireworks. There’s absolutely nothing with holing up with your animals, marathoning your favorite movie, and enjoying a relaxing New Year’s Eve at home. Your pets will be thankful for your company.