Nieuwjaarsduik -- New year's dive into the North Sea
1 January 2004, 12.00 h

Every year the "Unox Nieuwjaarsduik" (New year's dive) is held at Scheveningen beach (The Hague, the Netherlands). And there are smaller dives at other places as well.

Outside air temperature:

Water temperature:
- 3° Celsius (26° Fahrenheit). And it was snowing!

6° Celsius (42° Fahrenheit).

I saw the Nieuwjaarsduik on TV every year and always laughed my ass off at all the screaming idiots running into the freezing cold sea.
But I also felt like I should do it myself at least once in my lifetime, so why not on my 30th birthday??

A Unox sausage, Unox is the organiser of the big dive at Kurhaus, Scheveningen.
Left: me; right: Yvonne, the only one of my friends who did not chicken out!!

Yvonne and me on the snowy beach

Getting ready inside the tent on the beach

Another participant

The spectators and the Kurhaus

Another participant, clearly dressed for the occasion

Just before the actual dive!!

Like most others I wore old shoes into the sea to keep the cold out for just a little longer
and as a protection from sharp shells or glass.

This is an image from
It was quite a long way to the waterline!

Me and Yvonne in the ice cold sea!
My numb fingers were still able to take some shots with the disposable camera.
It took only seconds for our feet to freeze up and our entire legs and fingers to go numb.

Weeeeee hooooo! It's such a thrill turning 30 this way!


We are heroes!

Another image from

Back on the beach, pushing our way back to the tent where towels, dry clothes and hot tea await us

Free Unox soup for all participants

A well earned hot chocolate

The waterproof disposable camera I used when we were in the sea

Only hours afterwards it was hard to believe that we had run into the sea in this weather....

But we are now officially heroes!

Tips for anybody who wants to do something similar:
- Bring old shoes or sandals to wear into the cold water. It protects you from sharp objects and keeps the cold out just a few seconds longer.
- Bring a thermos full of hot coffee or tea to drink directly afterwards.

- Bring an extra towel to stand on while changing, so that the sand doesn't stick to your feet and get in your underwear. :-)
- If possible, change clothes inside (a tent), not in the outside air.
- Obviously, make sure you have enough warm, dry clothes for afterwards.
- Some people smear themselves with vaseline as an extra layer against the cold water, but the downside is that it's really gross when you put on your normal clothes afterwards.
- Wear a hat. Keeping your head warm is a way of keeping your whole body warmer.
- While going for the actual dive, keep your body temperature high by jumping and dancing and running; on the way back, try to keep running.
- If possible, have someone ready on the beach to hand you your towel or bathrobe.
- After the dive, take a warm shower as soon as you can.

Click here to go to the official Unox Nieuwjaarsduik site.