Sports & Fitness

The Dutch sauna experience

If you can muster some nude courage among strangers, then hit a soothing Dutch sauna. Expatica offers insight into the group Dutch sauna experience and a list of saunas near you.

Dutch sauna

By Expatica

Updated 11-4-2024

The Finnish invented the sauna 2,000 years ago and despite the popularity of saunas in hotels and spas worldwide, going to the sauna on evenings or weekends with company is a typically northern European activity.

Going to the sauna in the Netherlands

For the uninitiated, getting naked to go to a sauna with family members, friends, or even colleagues may seem unusual. Yet numerous Dutch nationals grow up going to the sauna with their families and continue the practice of going in groups the way some of us might go to the movies with friends or colleagues.

As an expatriate who is unaccustomed to the group sauna experience, it may take a few visits to feel at ease.

Sam Critchley, a British expatriate who has lived in Amsterdam for four years, says he was shocked and mortified during his first Dutch sauna experience.

After a game of squash with one of his male Dutch colleagues, Critchley says he encountered several female colleagues chatting, unashamedly, while in the buff in a co-ed sauna.

Critchley says that he has since relaxed about going to the sauna, and has become friends with many of the colleagues from that evening, but he admits it was difficult to look any of those individuals in the eye for the following few weeks.

Not all Dutch like to go in groups however. Some prefer to go alone or with a friend with whom they feel comfortable. Either way, the event is meant to be low-key and quiet.

Some tips to remember before you visit a Dutch sauna

  • Bring a bathrobe for sauntering and at least one big towel and reading material. Although people are open with their nakedness, normally sauna-goers do not hang out in the sitting area naked or exposed. Nakedness is kept for the hot sauna, steam bath and the showers.
  • Always sit on your towel in the sauna. When you go into the steam bath, leave your towel outside.
  • Make sure you give yourself two to three hours at least for the whole process and don’t eat a big meal before going.
  • Plan to do something relaxing or nothing at all afterwards. You will sleep very well after a sauna so hitting the sack is your best option.

The best saunas in the Netherlands

You can find a guide of saunas around the Netherlands at Sauna Gids or check out the list below:


Thermen Lamer
Scoutingpad 3 | Tel: 036 538 6888
Open: Daily 10:00–23:00 | Price: €29.50/19.50 children


Art Deco Sauna
The Art Deco Sauna is renowned for its stylish and opulent interior and is a good choice for your first sauna experience.

Herengracht 115 | Tel: 020 623 8215
Open: Monday–Saturday, 12:00–23:00, except Tuesday, 15:00–23:00; Sunday, 13:00–19:00
Price: €18–22.50, depending on entry time

If keeping your knickers on is more your style, then the Hammam could work for you. It is a women-only, traditional hammam where Arab women come in groups, crossing generations. Little girls with their sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers are often out together for a night of chatting and relaxing. Warm and friendly, this is a must with a group of friends.

Zaanstraat 88 | Tel: 020 681 4818
Open: women Tuesday–Friday, 12:00–22:00, weekend 12:00–20:00; men Monday 18:00–22:00
Price: €17


Sauna & Bodycare
A little bit of Finland in central Holland.

Heemradenlaan 104 | Tel: 055 541 3818
Open: Monday, Wednesday–Saturday, 11:00–23:00, Sunday 11:00–20:00; closed Tuesday
Price: Sauna €19.50

Den Bosch

Sauna Devarana
A Japanese island of peace in this south-central Dutch city.

Eendenkooi 9 | Tel: 073 621 0033 |
Open: Monday–Thursday, 11:00 to 23:00; Friday–Sunday, 11:00 to 23:30
Price: from €17 onwards.


Sauna Centre Haarlem
Claims to be the only wood-fired Finnish sauna in the district.

Jansweg 50 | Tel: 023 532 7414
Open: Monday–Friday, 11:00–23:00; Saturday–Sunday, 11:00–21:00; Tuesday women only


Beauty & Sauna Aestas
Aestas means summer in Latin.

Schoener 41–20 | Tel: 032 021 9294
Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 9:30–18:00; Wednesday (ladies) 9:30–22:30; Friday–Saturday, 9:30–22:30
Price: sauna €26 (depends on time of visit).


Seven saunas and steambaths, all adjusted to different temperatures.

Panovenlaan 3 | Tel: 024 360 0303
Open: Monday–Thursday, Sunday, 11:00–23:00; Friday–Saturday, 11:00–0:00.


Sauna Soesterberg
Situated in beautiful wooden surroundings, swimming pool, beauty centre, sun terrace.

Amersfoortsestr 105 | Tel: 033 462 2460 |
Open: Sunday–Thursday, 10:00–23:00; Friday–Saturday, 10:00–0:00
Price: sauna €29.95 (varies)

Readers’ recommendations

  • Thermen Heiloo: recently renovated and expanded, and the owners are welcoming | Westerweg 391
  • Sauna Warmond: close to Leiden
  • Thermen Holiday: in Schiedam near Rotterdam.

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