Recreation and tourism

The coast is the 'golden border' of the sea and attracts millions of visitors every year. The accommodation owners along the Dutch coast receive more than 5 million guests annually. Another 8.5 million tourists per year come just for a day's visit.

Recreation and tourism

The coast is the 'golden border' of the sea and attracts millions of visitors every year. The accommodation owners along the Dutch coast receive more than 5 million guests annually. Another 8.5 million tourists per year come just for a day's visit.

By far, most of these people come to relax on the beach and for the enjoyment of the resorts. But there are also sporty people: hikers, horseback riders, fishermen, (power) kiters, wind, wave and kite surfers, jet skiers, catamaran sailors, (surf) kayakers. On busy areas of the beach, it's not often easy to let all these groups do their thing without hindering or endangering others. There are often regulations for these areas, which determine what is allowed and where.

Those tourists that actually go out onto the North Sea form only a fraction of the group described above. But these are the people that are even more concerned for what is happening at sea. This includes sport fishermen, divers and sea-going boaters.

In the Netherlands, there are 170 sport fishing boats in the harbours. Many of these boats are booked around 300 times a year for a group of sport fishermen. It is particularly popular to fish by wrecks in the North Sea, since large cod can be caught there. Other fish species often caught are mackerel and sea bass.

Further away from the turbulent coastal waters, the North Sea is surprisingly clear and scuba divers can have some great experiences. Not all that long ago, most diving expeditions in the North Sea were purely recreational. The divers explored wrecks in particular, in search of unusual plants and animals or valuable items from the maritime past. However since the project 'Dive the North Sea clean' began, a specific goal has been created. More and more divers are becoming involved with large-scale cleaning of wrecks on the bottom of the North Sea, removing life-endangering ghost nets and lost toxic sinkers.

Recreational aquatic sports on the North Sea is particularly the domain of the sea sailors, that depart from harbours such as Scheveningen, Den Helder and Texel, to make the crossing to England, Scotland, Denmark or Norway. They sometimes play an important role in reporting exceptional sightings in the North Sea.


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