A Dutch City Takes Drastic Measures to Reduce Inner City Congestion

 Scheveningen beach in The Hague

The Hague introduces €50 flat fee for parking to deter drivers from parking close to the beach and city center 

In an effort to prevent tourists and visitors from clogging up historic areas and seaside roads, a new pilot scheme in The Hague has introduced a flat fee of €50 for parking in certain streets, including those around the popular Scheveningen beach.

The scheme, which will last for one year, aims to discourage short drives and reduce congestion in the city center and seaside areas, particularly on sunny days. Local residents have long complained about the difficulty of finding parking in these areas, and the city hopes that the new pricing structure will encourage visitors to the season town to use public transport, walk or use the Dutch classic - a bicycle.

This means that drivers will now pay the same price whether they park for 10 minutes or for an entire day.

According to Jurriaan Esser, a council spokesperson, the pilot program will begin in select streets to assess the "collateral damage" before determining whether to expand it. The initiative aims to give priority to residents and businesses with parking permits in mostly residential areas.


Esser stated "Our goal is to prioritize transportation by foot, then by bicycle, public transit, and finally by car. This doesn't imply that we're prohibiting cars in our city; it just means that for short distances, walking should be your primary mode of transportation. This benefits not only the environment but also travel times."

While most residents have responded positively to the new parking scheme in The Hague, local businesses are expressing reservations about the potential negative impact on revenue. They are concerned that car owners will no longer be able to make quick stops at their stores as before. 

André Triep, the chairman of the Association of Beach Operators, shared his thoughts in an interview with Omroep West. Triep stated, "I comprehend that discouraging individuals from driving to Scheveningen and parking there is necessary at some point, but the facilities must be in place before raising the rates. Therefore, first, create the parking garage and provide adequate public transportation, and only then raise the rates."

The municipality acknowledges these concerns but emphasizes that progress is being made and an evaluation of the program's success will be conducted at the end of the pilot period.