Photo: Dennis Burger / CC

Popular attraction destroyed by fire

A visit to Wandelhoofd Koningin Wilhelmina, as Scheveningen’s first pier is named, was a popular outing. Initially, the war did not change this.

However, an anti-aircraft defence was installed on the pier. In addition, thirty metres of decking were removed and replaced with a suspension bridge. This was to prevent the Allies using the pier as a landing strip.

From May 1942, the beach and the promenade became a no-go zone for Dutch citizens. The seaside resort came to a standstill and the pier fell into disrepair. The construction was completely destroyed by fire on 26 March 1943. The cause of the fire still remains the subject of much speculation. Did the Germans burn down the pier out of fear of the Allies? Did it burst into flame on its own? Or was it a prank by a few soldiers that got out of hand?

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