Diving in the Netherlands

The underwater world in the Netherlands proves that you don't have to travel far for beautiful diving spots. Underwater, a world opens up and it turns out there is a lot to see. You can see all kinds of fish species, but also lobsters, anemones, sponges, crabs, dahlias and many other aquatic inhabitants.

From March to November we regularly dive in the freshwater ponds near Groningen, but for the most exuberant life underwater we go at least 5 times a year for a weekend to Zeeland to dive in the Oosterschelde and the Grevelingen. We stay at Veldstudiecentrum ‘De Schelphoek’ or in mobile homes on Schouwen-Duiveland. During such a Zeeland trip, multiple dives are made per day and night, but above all there is a lot of fun.


Diving is often considered one of the extreme sports, but with the right training and precautions we ensure that the risks are minimal. One of the most important measures is diving with another diver, a buddy, so you are never alone. During the entire training, you continuously learn how to monitor the safety of yourself and your buddy and you learn what to do if something goes wrong.

Diving in the Netherlands can be more challenging than diving in tropical waters. The water is colder, the visibility is less and diving often takes place from the water's edge. We take this into account by taking the right equipment and by focusing on appropriate diving skills. The experience you gain in the Netherlands is useful everywhere.

Training & Education:

Our voluntary instructors provide diving training from the first level to the instructor course. We are affiliated with the Dutch Underwater Sports Federation (NOB), making the levels internationally recognised. In addition, we offer regular various specialisations. As a beginner or experienced diver, there are many possibilities.

If you already are a certified diver and want to continue diving with G.B.D. Calamari, you can do that all year round. The training for the 1* diver, the first diving certificate, starts only at the beginning of each academic year, around October/November. Before the start of the course, introduction dives are scheduled, so you can first try a dive!

1*-certificate = Open Water Diver

Have you never dived before? Then you start with the 1* course. Here you learn the basics of diving. You learn about the materials, diving techniques and discover the hand signals you use underwater. After this training you can dive during the day with a buddy up to a depth of 20 metres.

The course consists of a theoretical part, a practical part in the swimming pool and a practical part in the open water. During the theory lessons, you learn about the different diving equipment, diving techniques and safety measures. In the swimming pool you practise the skills and in the open water you make the first real dives.

2*-certificate = Advanced Open Water Diver

During the 2* course, you learn to dive in tidal water, after sunset and at greater depths. You broaden your horizon in this course. You gain experience with planning and safely conducting dives under various conditions.

The course is modular and consists of 4 parts: night diving, tidal diving, deep diving and rescue diving. Once you have completed a part, you are allowed to make these dives without an instructor. Each part consists of theoretical and practical components. Once you have completed all parts, you are ready for diving in the most diverse conditions.


3*-certificate = Dive Master

The 3* diver course can be a first step towards a professional diving career. In the 3* course, you learn how to guide other divers, for example, how to practise diving techniques with divers in training and how to accompany divers during a dive.

The course begins by expanding your diving knowledge and perfecting your diving skills. Everything you learned during previous courses comes together, so you have the right knowledge to guide other divers.

Then you can put your new skills into practice by guiding other divers. The 3* diver plays an essential role during the 1* and 2* diver courses. You can practise skills that a 2* diver in training has already practised with an instructor. Additionally, you can accompany a 1* diver during a "fun" dive, thus gaining invaluable experience.

Instructor course

After the 3* course, you can start the instructor course. During the instructor course, you learn to give theory, pool and open water lessons for all diving levels. This course is offered nationally by the NOB. If there is sufficient interest, an instructor course will be given in the north of the country. We have a subsidy scheme together with the ACLO, so that the costs of the instructor course remain affordable.


Do you want to give more depth to your underwater career? Consider taking a specialisation!

A specialisation that we pay extra attention to, is the OWBO: the underwater biology course. This is an extra extensive specialty underwater biology, known throughout the Netherlands. A dive in the underwater world of Dutch and Belgian waters is a journey of discovery in a special world of plants and animals. This specialisation focuses on different aspects of this world: for example, the classification of the plant and animal kingdom is discussed, but attention is also paid to forms of coexistence and the influences of humans and nature on organisms and their distribution. The book that belongs to this specialisation is a special reference book for divers with a heart for beautiful underwater life!

See www.onderwatersport.org for an overview of all specialisations.

Course booklets

For each course, Calamari course booklets (stamp cards) have been created. These course booklets show which parts need to be followed for the respective course. They are used to track the progress of the education: the instructor can stamp the diving skills you have done on it. A full stamp card will get you your certificate upon submission!

Training activities

Dive gear

In order to go diving we need more than just enthusiasm and a cozy club. Therefore G.B.D. Calamari provides the majority of the equipment needed for safe diving. Cylinders of 10 litres to take enough air with you, BCD's to regulate buoyancy, lead to be able to submerse and regulators to be able to breath safely under water and get air from the cylinder to your BCD. Our regulator sets are equipped with a pressure gauge, bottom-timer with depth gauge and a compass. We make sure our equipment is in good condition.

G.B.D. Calamari also provides a storage facility at the Zernike complex. We store the materials owned by Calamari there. As a member you have the possibility to store your own equipment here as well. Our compressor is stationed here as well. We use the compressor to fill the cylinders both in Groningen as during our dive weekends, since the compressor is mobile.


We try to keep diving affordable for students in this manner. The most expensive parts of your equipment (cylinder, BCD and regulators) are always available for our members. Due to this you only need to purchase personal equipment.

At the start of your dive training you need to purchase a part of your personal basic equipment. For the swimming pool part, this consists of:

  • diving mask
  • snorkel
  • swimming pool fins (closed fins)

For new pool fins and a snorkel, you should take into account total costs from € 35. For a new diving mask you will have to take into account costs from € 30, but you will be able to take this mask with you when diving outside!

The list grows when you are ready to start training in the outdoor water:

  • dive suit (7mm)
  • dive shoes
  • gloves
  • open heel fins
  • dive knife
  • (dive watch/-computer)

You need to pay attention to it that everything fits and is comfortable. Especially for the suit it is important that it fits well, otherwise it will not provide enough protection against the cold water. It's useful to ask an experienced member when shopping for equipment.

If you want to buy a single 7mm wetsuit, cap, gloves, shoes, dive knife and outdoor fins all new, you will have to factor in costs around/above €400. A dive computer is a nice luxury but not essential: the Calamari regulator set has a bottom timer that allows you to keep track of how long and how deep you are under water.

The nearest dive shop is SubLub in Zuidlaren, which is easily accessible through public transport. It is also possible to buy dive gear second hand, often for less than half the new price. But be careful, because second-hand equipment is not always as well-maintained and things like a suit should not be purchased without first trying it on. At Calamari we have a range of second-hand equipment that you can often take over for a small price.Sometimes we organise a trip to BOOT, a big dive fair in Germany in January, where you can regularly buy equipment for stunt prices. 

When you go diving more frequently, your diving equipment will inevitably expand even further, for example with a diving lamp or a signal buoy. It's useful to try a lot and see what you like. Dive weekends are excellent opportunities to try out material from other members. As long as you buy your stuff at a real dive shop, you do not have to worry about the quality; You get professional advice in virtually all dive shops and centres and you are well helped. There are no "bad" dive brands; At the most, there will be a difference in how long a piece of equipment lasts and everyone has his own preferences.

For questions about equipment you can always contact the materials commissioner and the instructors.

Where we dive

With G.B.D. Calamari you can dive in fresh and salt water. The diving season runs from March to October. During this period we will spend several weekends in salty Zeeland and we will dive closer to home in freshwater lakes for the training.

In Zeeland we dive in the Grevelingen and in the Oosterschelde. Suitable dive sites are selected depending on the weather and preference of the attendees. Examples are the Zeeland Bridge, Den Osse Nieuwe Kerkweg and Scharendijke. During the diving weekends we stay in Veldstudiecentrum De Schelphoek or in mobile homes on a mini-campsite in Schouwen-Duiveland. During such a Zeeland camp, several dives are made per day and night. We also fill our bottles, eat together, sit by the fire and try to find some time to get some sleep.

Some examples:

Zeelandbrug (Zeeland bridge)

A very popular dive site, situated on a fifteen minute drive from the mini campsite where we often stay. Because this site is in the Oosterschelde, you need a tidal diving module to dive here. You can easily enter the water via an entry with stairs. The piers are well covered with vegetation and therefore a good spot to linger for some time during your dive. There are several sepia tents where (depending on the season) sepias or eggs can be seen and with a bit of luck you will also spot a squid or seahorse! With a toilet and heated changing room, this place is also great to go to in somewhat colder times.

The Kabbelaar, Scharendijke

Less than a 5-minute drive from the mini campsite, is de Kabbelaar at Scharendijke in the Grevelingen. It is an easy dive site with a lot to see. From the jetty and the shore you can navigate to the beautifully overgrown reef balls. On the sand plains you can see a lot of (flat)fish and between all the substrate on the shallower parts you will encounter many different organisms. The well-known (intentionally sunk) diving wreck le Serpent can be found at this site, although Calamarians will not be found there.

Den Osse Nieuwe Kerkweg

A popular dive site in the Grevelingen, where you can easily enter the water via a jetty or stairs once you have climbed over the dike. Once underwater, you can enjoy the richly vegetated reef balls and look for the sea dahlia. This dive site has the luxury of a large parking space with a heated changing room and toilet.