Saturday, August 11, 2018

Picnic at the Beach of Henschotermeer in Utrecht, Netherlands

We were actually not planning on going here... but fate has its own ways.


We have been to the Henschotermeer before. It's a big man-made lake that is a beach with white sand and surrounded by a forest with lovely fresh smelling trees. In the center of the lake is a little island that can be reached by a wooden footbridge, or a swim, if you are feeling bold enough.

Henschotermeer is located in the middle of Utrecht province so it's not very far from where we live. I remember having my birthday celebration here many years back. It is a popular place for many locals and for people who know it from nearby provinces.

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So I just came back from a business trip in Slovakia where it was quite hot there for the time of the year (end May). The Netherlands had the same weather wave when I arrived so I suggested to the Dutchman that we take our picnic bags, mats and parasol the next day and hit the beach.

I was excited because this will be our first beach activity this year!

We had Noordwijk aan Zee, Wijk aan Zee, Zandvoort and Bloemendaal aan Zee on the list. Dutchman already went to Bloemendaal aan Zee when I was away in New Zealand (he was lucky the weather cooperated in May). Zandvoort might be too busy. I was not sure about Noordwijk aan Zee. So that leaves Wijk aan Zee on the list.

It takes roughly an hour from Utrecht to get to Wijk aan Zee, and luckily there was really no traffic on the road except for my GPS going bonkers somewhere in Schiphol. As we were driving the last few kilometers to the beach we saw many people walking back and when we looked at the skies they were quite dark in the far distance. We pressed on and as we arrived at the beach, we were met with a stormy grey haze. The wind is blowing and it is cold. There is sand in the air and its grey everywhere. We were like, WTF?

The whole scene was a bit surreal for us. We were just driving on a clear sunny day road with blue skies and suddenly we were caught in a cold and grey whirlwind of sand. People were everywhere though, walking around, shocked like us, haha, and trying to find a place to hide, while others were turning back in their cars or on foot. I mean, when you walk 1 kilometer inland, you'll see clear blue skies??? What is going on?

Dutchman explained to me that this happens sometimes in the Netherlands when the cold wind coming from the sea is met with the warm wind coming from the inner land. There seems to be a sort of fight between both currents and they stay put on the shore creating a sort of haze or sandstorm. He has experienced this before.

We did not want to wait until it clears out so we turned back and decided to drive back to Utrecht. We know where we are going. To the trusted Utrecht beach -- Henschotermeer.

The exact location:



The nearest highway is A12 and Utrecht city center is 25-30 minutes away by car.

We have lost more than 2 hours, driving to the north (to the real beach in the North Sea) and then back, only to get to the beach that is a 25-minute drive from home, haha.

We hurried up because the Dutchman is hungry and settled on the beach. We have with us our soft mats which are some sort of tarpaulin lounger mat with a parasol. The picnic spread was ready in minutes!

The Henschotermeer is visited by approximately 600,000 people every year. It is an organised beach so there are many parking areas around the lake, as well as campgrounds, facilities and two food trucks, one is ice cream/drinks/cocktails and the other fries. It's okay to barbecue here as long as you bring your own grilling equipment and stuff and not leave a trace. Open fires on the beach are forbidden. No dogs, cats, no pet animals allowed as well.

This beach is free to enter for now but it will be soon charging for entrance on a per day basis at 2.95 euros a day. Not bad, but you have to pay as well for car parking as well which is 7.00 euros a day. Between October and December, there is no entrance fee and I am curious if they are charging in the winter as well. What if the lake freezes? This lake is a great place to skate you know.

In our new house which is currently being constructed, and which we will, perhaps, be moving in around January or February (in 5-6 months from now!), there is also a beach lake around the corner, just 100 meters from the house. Can you believe that? I think we will really be spoiled. I cannot wait.


Picnic at the beach.


The view from our spot.


The Dutchman was hungry and wants me to stop taking pictures so he can start eating, haha.


After eating it's time to lay down and watch the trees. These trees have a nice sharp pine scent.


A contained lake beach huh?


Travel Period: May 2018
Destination: Henschotermeer, Woudenberg (Utrecht), the Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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