Naturist beaches are often a curiosity to tourists from cities and countries where beach-side nudity is prohibited or rare. But while sunbathers are allowed to doff their tops on most Dutch beaches, full nudity is often more restricted. Just like much of Europe, however, Holland also has beaches where nudism, or naturism, is permitted: either ordinary beaches with areas reserved for nudists, or even separate beaches (look for the labels naturistenstrand or naaktstrand). The nude beaches below, open to everyone, are convenient to Amsterdam and appropriate for both new and seasoned nudists alike.
For nudists and beach bums who don't mind a day-trip in pursuit of sun and sand, the Netherlands' most famous seaside resort, Scheveningen (SKHEY-ven-ING-un), is 75 - 90 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station (CS); its nude area is between poles 98.0 and 96.5.
The first nudist beach in the Netherlands, Callantsoog was officialized in 1973, after the municipality allowed its establishment in the wake of a precedential court case. The 2,300 meter stretch of coastline allotted to nudists is now so popular that its crowds outnumber those of the "clothed" beach. Nudism is permitted between poles 14.50 and 16.80; there is also the cheekily-named beach pavilion Ja, Natuurlijk ("Yes, Naturally"), dedicated to nude sunbathers, but authorities have forced it to operate just outside the limits of the nudist beach (at pole 14.30); therefore, customers are requested to be "somewhat" (ietjes) clothed. There are also some nearby cultural attractions, such as the Tante Jaantje Farm Museum and an art route.
How to Reach Callantsoog: From Amsterdam CS, take the Intercity train (direction: Den Helder) to Schagen; transfer to Connexxion bus 152 (direction: Julianadorp) and exit at the Callantsoog stop. Travel time is about 90 minutes, plus a 20-minute walk from bus stop to beach.
One of Amsterdam's most popular coastal beaches, Zandvoort is a pearl ensconced in the pale North Sea dunes. Three amenity-filled kilometers, between poles 68 and 71, are devoted to nude recreation. Five beach pavilions invite nudists for snacks, meals and drinks, from Indonesian specialties at Maribaya to world cuisine at Paal 69; 31 other beach pavilions offer an eclectic variety of cuisines to clothed patrons, and most of the 36 rent beach chairs and windscreens. Duck into the free Jutters Mu-ZEE-um -- in case of an unexpected bout of rain, or out of sheer curiosity -- to admire the finds of local beachcombers over the years.
How to Reach Zandvoort: From Amsterdam CS, several trains per hour stop at Zandvoort aan Zee; transfer there to Connexxion bus 81 (direction: Zaandvoort) and exit at the final stop. Travel time is 70 minutes, plus a 20-minute walk from bus stop to beach.
The closest: Velsen and Bloemendaal
The adjacent seaside resorts of Velsen (to the north) and Bloemendaal (to the south) have a shared nudist area where their two beaches meet; poles 58.0 to 59.5 span the entire nude recreation area, while pole 58.425 marks the boundary between the two municipalities. While the number of beach pavilions are sparse, both Velsen and Bloemendaal make up for this with a wider variety of off-beach attractions for when visitors become weary of the sand and sun; see the IJmuiden aan Zee tourism site and the Bloemendaal Municipality sites (latter in Dutch only) for more information.
How to Reach Velsen/Bloemendaal: From Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, take Connexxion Regioliner bus 82 to IJmuiden aan Zee (direction: IJmuiden); travel time is 45 minutes.
Het Twiske is a recreation area and beach complex that surrounds the Stootersplas lake between Zaandam and Purmerend, North Holland. In the 2011 season, it returned with a new and improved nudist beach, the Baaiegatstrand -- more spacious, safer, closer to the car park and less plant-addled waters. (Wezenlandstrand, its former nude beach, will be phased out in 2012 -- which means two nude beaches for the 2011 season!) It also retains the unique amenity of a boules or pétanque court, the French sport enthusiastically taken over by the Dutch. The permissible boundaries are not set off with poles, as the Baaiegatstrand is a distinct beach area within Het Twiske. The nearest beach pavilion, Pavilioen 't Twiske, remains outside of the nudist enclave.
How to Reach Het Twiske: From Amsterdam CS, take bus 92 to De Kunstgreep (direction: Zaandam Station); travel time is 20 minutes, plus a 25-minute walk from bus stop to beach.
While not a beach, Flevo Natuur is an outdoor oasis for nude sports, recreation and relaxation. Nestled in the Hulkesteinse forest, near Lake Nijkerkernauw, nudists are welcome to sunbathe, swim, sail, surf, fish and ride horses. Individuals and families are invited to camp on the premises, where pitches vary from basic (sans electricity) to luxury. The city of Amersfoort, birthplace of Piet Mondriaan, and nearby towns offer conveniently close urban attractions; the former boasts the Mondriaan House and medieval muurhuizen ("wall houses"), abodes that were built into the city's former defensive wall.
How to Reach Flevo Natuur: From Amsterdam CS, take the Intercity train to Almere Centrum (direction: Lelystad Centrum); transfer to Connexxion bus 160 (direction: Nijkerk GLD) and exit at the Flevo-Natuur/Wielseweg stop. Travel time is about one hour, plus a 15-minute walk from the bus stop to the park.