The Low Countries of The Netherlands and Belgium have long been wary of the North Sea, hiding behind the large dykes, seawalls and jetties that protect the below sea level countryside. Perfectly situated to pick up the NW-N swells created by low pressure systems off Norway and also able to catch SW windswell, these two nations do have some surfable corners. Like Denmark and Germany, the key is whether the wind will co-operate and switch offshore after producing a swell, but there are many jetties to find some protection behind. Tides exceed 2m, which are magnified by the flat beach slope. Starting in the north of the Netherlands, Waddeneilanden are an arc of sandy barrier islands that face almost due north at the German border, before curving round to west-facing on Texel, the southern and most popular island. This aspect translates to maximum swell size and longevity, but the long, unstabilised beaches are swept by vicious currents and there are few people around to help. A boat would open up the potential for discovery. The northern beaches of the Netherlands are flat and unremarkable but a few key spots like Petten and Hargen work in SW and NW swells respectively. The huge harbour jetty at Nordpier is the focus for Amsterdam surfers, but the queen of the coast is undoubtedly Scheveningen where crowds flock to the choice of breaks around the incredibly long inlet jetties. Past the gargantuan Europoort are the shifty peaks of Maasvlakte where construction has destroyed the famed Maasexpress but there are still some good waves in N swells at Blokken and Slufter. Shallow, offshore sandbanks destroy the surf to the south, but things improve around Domburg in Zeeland. Summer is usually flat but winter often sees a mixture of short-lived SW swells from lows crossing the UK and NW-N swells coming down from Norway. A split jet in autumn or spring will also liven up the North Sea, but the most important factor is how quickly a swell disappears after the wind stops. Water drops to a chilly 5ºC in February and snowy sand is always a possibility.