Lake swimming: Haarlem’s natural watering holes

When the temperatures soar, what a better way to keep cool than going for a swim surrounded by nature? Haarlem has lots of natural swimming spots nearby where you can take a dip. with Which lakes are you permitted to swim in though? We share some tips in this article. You can even go au naturele – aka skinny dipping – in one spot!

How blissful can that first moment be when you dip your toes in the water on a boiling hot day? You imagine yourself just being able to head straight in and submerging yourself in the gloriously cool water. Though, that is often not the case; yep, it usually feels more than cool… it is pretty darn cold! It is still worth it when you get under though, right? Swimming outside in the fresh air can be the best thing ever!

We shared an article recently about Haarlem’s only heated outdoor pool (here), but where can you go to get the cold-water fix? The beach is the first place to think of when you want to go for an outdoors swim, especially since river swimming is not permitted in the Spaarne (see our article on this here). Though, don’t forget about the multitude of nearby lakes – many of which are great for swimming with kids!

Swim for free at het Wed

Swim for free at Duinmeet het Wed (courtesy of Sarah Fencott)

Lake swimming around Haarlem

There are hundreds of natural water swimming spots across the Netherlands that are monitored for water quality and safety – and you can find out all about them on the website. It is advisable to only swim in officially designated swimming locations, as there are numerous risks involved in taking a dip in waterways that have not been checked for hazards or special local circumstances that you would need to be made aware of before diving in.

For instance, taking a look at the website (at the time of writing) shows there is a current warning in place at Veerplas Noordzijde in the east of the city (see orange triangle on the map), as there is currently an abundance of blue-green algae that can cause skin irritation and other problems. Listed below are the lake swimming locations around Haarlem (listed clockwise, starting with the most westerly on the map). Anyone looking for an official skinny-dipping spot, you are in luck!

’t Wed (aka Duinmeer het Wed)

natural swimming spots Haarlem

Zeeweg, Overveen

Located in the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, the lake is about 8-m deep and about 300 m in length on the east side. Read more about this spot in our previous article here.

Oosterplas Duinmeer

Bergweg, Bloemendaal

Also located National Park, not far from Bloemendaal, the deepest point of this lake is about 2.5 m. The main beach is on the northeast side of the lake, with another smaller one on the south side.

De Peddalpoel

Oostbroekerweg, Velsen

Located in the northern recreation area of Spaarnwoude, the swimming spot is approx. 200-m long and 80-m wide and has two sandy beaches.

De Watergeus

Genieweg, Velsen

This swimming spot in Spaarnwoude also has sports and other activities available on or around the lake, which you can discover more about from the outdoor centre’s website.


Genieweg, Velsen

Also in Spaarnwoude, this is the place where you can enjoy some nude recreation. It is a small pond, about 60-m wide and 120-m long, with small beaches on northeast and southwest sides.


Dammersweg, Velserbroek

Located on the northeast side of this large lake is the main swimming area with beach (200 m in length). There is another, separate swimming area on the south side called Villa Westend (see here for more details).

Swim lake haarlem

Swim lake haarlem

Veerplas Noordzijde

Barbeelpad, Haarlem

Located in the east of Haarlem, this swimming spot has a beach is located on the west side of the lake, where most of the playing and sunbathing areas.

Molenplas, Haarlem

Watermolenpad, Haarlem

Located in Zuid Schalckwijk in the south of Haarem, this swimming spot has a beach on the northside. The water has an average depth of 6 m and the area also has other activities, including a skatepark and plenty space to play.

What type of wild swimmer are you? Tentatively, toes first? Or plunging for a full-body submerge? Let us know in the comments!