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Top Ten dive sites in the Netherlands for beginner scuba divers



Scuba diving in the Netherlands. For some a nightmare, and for others a lifelong passion. Not many people know that the Netherlands offers the most beautiful dive sites of Northern Europe. During scuba diving season people come from Belgium, Germany and even France for scuba diving holidays to Holland. However the Netherlands is also known for it’s treacherous waters, and not all dive sites are accessible to every diver. So where are the best dive sites for beginner scuba divers to explore in Holland?

The Netherlands offers both salt and fresh water scuba diving locations. In this article I’m focusing on the salt water dives sites, as they are usually the reason why scuba divers visit my country. The Netherlands has much to offer, even for beginner scuba divers. Some of my friends always talk about learning to scuba dive in Egypt or the Caribbean. I always urge them to start scuba diving here in the Netherlands. If you can dive here, you can definitely scuba dive in clear blue waters!

Scuba diving in the Netherlands can be dangerous. We have treacherous waters with strong tidal currents, cold temperatures and low visibility. An important rule for me: “Scuba dive to your level of expertise”. Meaning if you have 10 dives in your logbook, you just can’t scuba dive a location with strong tidal currents. Be careful.

Luckily the Netherlands has lake Grevelingen. Lake Grevelingen was created when the area was closed off by a dam in 1971. The lake has a total surface area of 11,000 hectares of water. The elimination of the tide created an area ideal for (beginner) scuba divers. The dam has several inlets which still keep the lake connected with the North Sea, which means the lake is still salt water and has loads of marine life.

Most of the dives sites can be found on the southern coast of lake Grevelingen, between Bruinisse and around Brouwershaven. Below is an overview of the top 10 dive sites for beginner scuba divers. I have dived these sites and I can recommend them all. Off course there are many more dive sites to to explore in the Netherlands, but below is a great central starting point:

1. Het Koepeltje

Has a great reef wall which you can dive alongside.

2. Le Serpent

The wreck itself is for more experienced scuba divers. However the two little wrecks, reef balls and platform are definitely worth checking out and are accessible for beginner divers.

3. Scharendijke

Just right of Le Serpent you can find a small bay area in which you can scuba dive.

4. De Muur

Take a ladder with you, you’ll need it to climb the wall. The dive site isn’t easy to reach, which means not many divers go here. Loads of smaller marine life (especially snails).

5. Den Osse Nieuwe Kerkweg

This is one of my favourite locations with artificial reef balls which hold a score of different marine life.

6. Den Osse Haven

It will take some time swimming out, but then you have a drop-off you can follow down. On your way back it’s scuba diving at a depth of 2 to 3 meters, but smaller marine life is abundant here.

7. Kijkuitpolder

Easy dive site with not that many divers.

8. Bommenede

This one is a bit more dangerous as you’re scuba diving below a sea lane. Remember not to make a direct ascend here!

9. Dreischor Frans Kokrif

Also one of my favourite dive sites. Easy to enter the water, and whether you go left or right there is always an abundance of marine life.

10. Dreischor Gemaal

Somewhat more difficult to enter the water, but definitely worth it! When reaching the Gemaal you can expect a beautiful view.

The dive sites above are not just for beginner scuba divers; they are just as interesting for experienced divers too. I still do most of my scuba diving at these locations. If you want to know what to expect scuba diving here, check out some of my Dutch diving adventures in this video:
[youtube id=”fqKfm4UcvB0″ width=”100%” height=”400px”]

Sebastiaan van Aard has been scuba diving since the summer of 2009, when he travelled to Dahab in Egypt and gained his PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications. He was immediately hooked by the wondrous world below the waves. Since then he has become a PADI Rescue Diver and is currently considering making the next step to Divemaster. Scuba diving is more than just a hobby to Sebastiaan; it’s become his passion – a passion he loves to share with others around him. Sebastiaan wanted to share his adventures and his views on scuba diving with the rest of the World, so in 2013 he started his own blog, ‘My Scubadiving Stories’. To read more from Sebastiaan, visit

Freediving Blogs

British freediver sets new national record with 112m dive



British freediver Gary McGrath has set a new national record at the prestigious Vertical Blue freediving competition in the Bahamas.

Using only a monofin for propulsion, Gary swam down a measured rope to a depth of 112m (367ft), returning to the surface to receive a white card from the AIDA International judges to validate his dive.

Gary, 41, held his breath for three minutes and 13 seconds to complete the dive.

Freedivers descend underwater on a single breath of air and the atmospheric pressure on their bodies increases as they go deeper.

At 112m deep the pressure is 12 times greater than the surface, meaning the air in Gary’s lungs would have shrunk to less than a twelfth of its original volume – around the size of a golf ball.

Freedivers train to cope with the physiological strains placed on their bodies by their sport, and Gary uses his background of yoga and meditation to help his physical and mental preparation for deep dives.

He has also had to overcome physical challenges after contracting Covid last year during preparations for a previous national record attempt.

Gary said: ‘Diving below 100m is a totally unique environment, it’s my therapy. 

‘This year has been extremely challenging for my mental health and freediving has helped me overcome that for sure. 

‘At depth I have complete isolation from the everyday world we live in. Down there it’s just me and nature. It’s that escape that all freedivers crave. 

‘There are moments of extreme mental clarity and purity that I can only achieve when underwater. The flow state that a deep dive allows me to experience is unique and addictive.

Gary, originally from Twickenham, began freediving in 2006 and has been competing since 2008.

A former tree surgeon, he became a professional freedive instructor in 2014, and he and his partner Lynne Paddon run Yoga and Freedive Retreats in Ibiza.

Remarkably, he completed his 112m national record dive on Tuesday (August 9) despite being forced to compete wearing a borrowed monofin which was a size too small for his feet.

His entire kit bag containing his monofin, bifins and two wetsuits was lost by an airline as he travelled to the competition.

Despite his careful preparation, Gary said he suffered nerves on the morning of his national record dive, and relied on a phone call to his partner Lynne, who helped him focus on breathing techniques and visualisation to calm his nerves.

Speaking immediately after his dive, he said: ‘That was all for Lynne – this whole week has been about her. I could not do it without her. I hope that everyone finds someone they can click with, it’s the most magical thing in the world.’

Gary also thanked supporters who helped him to crowdfund to raise the money needed for him to travel to the Bahamas and compete.

Vertical Blue is considered one of the most elite events on the freediving calendar and has been dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of Freediving’.

Owned and run by world record freediver William Trubridge, the event takes place in a 202m (663ft) deep sinkhole known as Dean’s Blue Hole, off the coast of Long Island.

The previous British national record of 111m was set by Michael Board in 2018, also at a Vertical Blue competition.

All Photographs courtesy of Daan Verhoeven (

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Film Review: Thirteen Lives



Ron Howard’s recreation of the 2018 rescue of a Thai junior football team is impressive. Even though we know what happens in the end the tension and drama played out is palpable.

On 23 June 2018, 12 members of a Thai junior football team, the Wild Boars, and their coach became trapped deep in the Tham Luang cave system by rising flood water. The film details the incredible international rescue efforts that ensue. And Ron Howard has judged the tone perfectly. There is no Hollywood glitz and glamour and the two leading actors: Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen, who play John Volanthen and Rick Stanton respectively, capture the intensity of the situation perfectly.

The diving scenes are claustrophobic in the extreme. Although I suspect that the visibility was even worse than the film depicts as you have to be able to see something in the dramatization! All the way through the film I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at the extraordinary feat these divers pulled off. The skill and bravery required still impresses after watching films, hearing them speak in public and reading about the rescue.

I loved that, whilst the divers took centre stage in the film, the heroic rescue efforts of the water engineer and his team was also given the attention they deserve, as well as the incredible Thai Navy Seals and the thousands of people that flocked to the region to help.

Thirteen Lives is a must watch movie about an incredible cave rescue. It’s sober tone hits the mark. The cinematography is skilled and creates an impressively tense experience. It is available on Amazon Prime right now.

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