Westduinpark (West Dune Park) between Scheveningen and Kijkduin is one of the largest nature reserves in The Hague. The conservation dune park near Zuiderstrand has a highly diverse landscape with dense forests and open spaces, wet dune valleys and high dune tops, bunker ruins from World War II and Scottish Highland cows that roam about freely. Thanks to the many hiking, cycling and riding paths Westduinpark is the ideal nature reserve for catching a breath of fresh sea air.
Westduinpark consists of relatively young dunes that formed in the 12th century. As part of the South Holland dunes, the area was once part of the hunting domain of the House of Orange. As a result of quarrying, dumping waste and the many day trippers, the Westduinen were not in very good shape at the beginning of the 20th century. Around 1930 the area therefore underwent improvement and the park was created: the dunes were reinforced, young trees were planted that would normally not grow there and hiking paths were created.
During World War II the Germans built an extensive system of bunkers and underground passageways as part of the Atlantic Wall. Although most of the bunkers were closed off after the war, they are still visible in the dune landscape which they have also shaped.
Over the years, the war and previous transformation into a park resulted in serious erosion of the unique dune biotope. To combat this, major nature restoration work was carried out between 2011 and 2013: trees and shrubs not native to the dune landscape were partly removed, drift dunes were created and Scottish Highland cows were introduced to keep Westduinpark open.
Thanks to its diverse landscape, Westduinpark has a large variety of flora and fauna. On the white dunes of the sand bar directly on the coast you will find totally different animals and plants than in the inner dunes. The conservation dune area is a natural habitat for sand lizards and foxes. There are also many species of birds, including the nightingale, lark and buzzard. Various plants thrive on the nutrient-poor sand and blossom in abundance. Plants such as ragwort, mullein and evening primrose give Westduinpark a yellow colour every summer.
Scottish Highland cows
To keep the dune landscape open and varied a herd of Scottish Highland cows has been introduced to the Westduinpark. The shaggy haired cows walk about freely, which means that you can encounter them anywhere on the nature reserve. The Scottish Highland cows are easily approachable, but you are recommended to keep at least 25 metres away, especially when there are young calves in the herd.
Walking and Cycling
The Westduinpark has a diverse range of cycling and hiking paths. Cyclists can follow the LF1 long-distance path between Scheveningen and Kijkduin, which runs straight through the dune landscape. Hikers can use long-distance hiking path 5, the Dutch Coastal Path which also runs between Scheveningen and Kijkduin. In addition, there are many other small paths for hikers that run through dune valleys and over dune tops. The latter gives you a magnificent view over the city and sea.
Dogs are permitted in West Dune Park. You are required to keep your dog on a leash to protect the nature and to throw any dog waste into a bin. Dogs are allowed to roam freely closer to residential areas. Westduinpark also provides access to the Zuiderstrand, where dogs are welcome during the winter. In the summer months, dogs are also welcome at beach entrance 9 (Kwartellaan) all day.
From Westduinpark you can walk straight onto the panoramic Zuiderstrand. Local inhabitants also refer to it as the peaceful beach, and rightly so. This is the peaceful and secret alternative between Scheveningen and Kijkduin, located immediately behind the dunes and for anyone who loves the sea and beach. During the summer, Zuiderstrand is the perfect spot for relaxing at one of the authentic beach pavilions with an open view of the magnificent sunset. In the winter months Zuiderstrand is completely empty and visitors can enjoy an uninterrupted view from Scheveningen along to the Hook of Holland.
Directions to Westduinpark
Westduinpark is located between the North Sea and the residential areas of Duindorp, Vogelwijk, Bohemen and Kijkduin. The dune area has various entrances that are accessible on foot, by bike and on horseback. These entrances are located at Wieringsestraat, Duivelandsestraat, Laan van Poot, Savornin Lohmanlaan and Kijkduinsestraat. You can get here on public transport by taking tram 12 or bus 22 to Duindorp, or buses 23, 24 or 26 to Kijkduin. By car it is best to drive to Kijkduin where you can park free of charge. This is also the most convenient entrance for people with disabilities. Cyclists can ride into the nature reserve on North Sea Route LF1 or on one of the entrances in Vogelwijk. Bike parking is available at the various beach entrances in Westduinpark.