The diversity of the diving in the Netherlands, ranging from shallow fresh water lakes to wreck dives in the North Sea means there is plenty to experience for divers of all levels. Dutch divers typically start their diving careers in one of many the fresh water lakes, the Grevelingen or the Veerse Meer, which are non-tidal salt water lakes. More advanced divers also visit the Oosterschelde (Eastern Scheldt) where strong tidal currents supply nutrients to the abundant marine life that covers the hard rocks of the many dikes, dams and piers.
The climate classification for the Netherlands is a moderate sea climate (type Cfb) with relatively mild winters, mild summers and rainfall all year round. The climate is influenced by the North Sea, with the warmest water temperatures of 14-20C/57-68F being between June and October, dropping down to 0-11C/32-52F November through till May. The fresh water lakes can of course fall below 0C/32F during the coldest winter months.
It takes a few dives to get used to the cold water and visibility which can be limited to a few meters, however divers are always amazed by the abundance of colourful species totally covering every hard substrate under water. Common species include many types of lobsters, crabs, shrimps and nudibranchs. Sepias visit the Oosterschelde in early spring to mate and lay eggs. Small sepias and sepiolas can be spotted in late summer and early autumn.
The best dive sites to start exploring the Netherlands are the well equipped sites of the Grevelingen such as Den Osse Nieuwe Kerkweg, Dreischor Frans Kokrif or Kabbelaar. Progression to the Oosterschelde is best done through Bergse Diepsluis and Zoetersbout after which you can start to dive the easier tidal water dive sites such as Stavenisse Haven, st Annaland and Strijenham. Experienced divers find the sites with strong currents, Kattendijke or Gorishoek for instance, the most interesting. These dives can only be done around slack tide, meaning the time when the tidal current slows down and reverses. Take an experienced Oosterschelde diver as a guide on your first tidal dives to help you to plan and execute your dives safely.