We asked our fellow travel bloggers ‘what are your favorite things to do with kids in The Netherlands?’. The response was quite overwhelming. For such a small country Holland has a lot to offer! From a pancake cruise in Rotterdam to a petting zoo in Haarlem, and from the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam to walking the mudflats at Pieterburen. Check out all these fantastic recommendations and then figure when you and your family can come visit the Netherlands!
- 1 Things to do in Amsterdam with kids
- 2 Things to do in Rotterdam with kids
- 3 Things to do in Haarlem with kids
- 4 Things to do in Zaandam with kids
- 5 Things to do in The Hague with kids
- 6 Things to do in Leiden with kids
- 7 Things to do in Wassenaar with kids
- 8 Things to do in Utrecht with kids
- 9 Things to do in Breda with kids
- 10 Things to do in Lelystad with kids
- 11 Things to do at the Wadden Islands with kids
- 12 The Netherlands with kids, conclusion
More posts about The Netherlands:
Fun things to do in Haarlem with kids
Complete guide for visiting Amsterdam with kids
Top 10 children’s museums in the Netherlands
A review of the Children’s Book Museum in The Hague
Sprookjeswonderland, a great day trip from Amsterdam
Things to do in Amsterdam with kids
The Dutch capital city has a bit of a reputation, but there’s also plenty to do with kids in Amsterdam. In fact, Amsterdam is a great city to visit with kids. There are some fantastic children’s museums in Amsterdam, such as the Nemo Science Museum and the Maritime Museum. There are also multiple cinemas, a zoo, canal cruises and lovely parks and playgrounds. Our fellow travel bloggers suggest the following things to do in Amsterdam with kids.
Canal Cruise – Amsterdam
Rondvaart – Amsterdam
A Canal Cruise is one of Amsterdam’s most famous activities. The city has more than one hundred kilometers of canals and over a thousand bridges! This is a great activity to do with kids because they can just sit, rest and appreciate the amazing views to the city. Does this sound boring to your kids? There are plenty of options in the city, specifically tailored for kids! Everything from a cruise that allows them to eat as many pancakes as they desire (plus, a ball pool under the deck ), the Pannenkoekenboot, to a boat for pizza lovers. If they are into more adventurous endeavours, there are cruises in the city offering pirate adventures! Alternatively, you can also use the canal cruises as a means of transportation in the city if you opt for the hop-on-hop-off boat tour!
Recommended by Maria & Rui from Two Find a Way
National Maritime Museum – Amsterdam
Scheepvaartmuseum – Amsterdam
The National Maritime Museum is a museum all about how the sea has impacted the Dutch life, from past to present. It also includes a huge replica of a ship from the Dutch East India Company that you can board! It’s such a fun activity for both kids and curious adults because you can walk around the various levels of the ship learning about life on the ship and checking out the interactive exhibits. One exhibit teaches you about how pulleys work: you try lifting cargo boxes using different sets of pulleys to learn why one set is easier than the other. A second exhibit has you sniffing mystery boxes to guess what was being sold aboard the vessel. You can easily spend a few hours here exploring the ship and the museum itself.
Recommended by Kay from Paws and Pines
Public Library – Amsterdam
Openbare Bibliotheek – Amsterdam
A place both our kids and us are fond of, in Amsterdam, is the Openbare Bibliotheek, the library. Located in the city center, the library is a lovely space especially for younger kids. The building is vast and airy and the children section is on the ground floor. Here, in a vast and clean space you have a rows of children books (some in English), couches to read and rest, a tipi tent for playing and a ‘lookout’ to catch a bird’s eye view over the library.
As well as books, the library has something pretty special. In a glass case, you will find an incredible 2 meter high wooden house for… mice! The house incredible: it has rooms, stairs, hallways, shops and toy mice to live in it: it is fairy tale magic at its best and one of the highlights of our family visit to Amsterdam.
Recommended by Marta from Learning Escapes
Anne Frank House – Amsterdam
Anne Frank Huis – Amsterdam
One of the pivotal moments in my childhood was when we read the Diary of Anne Frank in eighth grade. The story of a girl our age, who had the same kinds of hopes and dreams we had but who was able to express herself and her fears, moved everyone in our class. Finally seeing the Anne Frank house as an adult was a very rewarding experience, but I couldn’t help but be a bit jealous of the young girls I saw touring it with their families and how powerful the visit must have been for them. While I do think that this is a great place for older kids and teenagers, everyone of all ages should take the time to visit. The house has been maintained and appears as it did when Anne lived there with her family while in hiding from the Nazis. Learning more details about Anne’s life there only made the story of her final days more powerful. There was no one on my tour who left without crying at some point.
There are many reasons to visit this city. Amsterdam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has amazing culture and arts, and a unique city layout. However, everyone who comes should take a moment to learn about the city’s history during World War II, when it wasn’t the free-wheeling and fun city it is today.
Recommended by Stephanie from History Fangirl
Kings Day Bredeweg Festival – Amsterdam
Bredewegfestival Koningsdag – Amsterdam
Each year in April, the Bredewegfestival in the Netherlands turns Amsterdam’s Oost district into a paradise for kids. It’s a side festival of the actual King’s Day, which is always celebrated on the 27th April. The Bredewegfestival combines storytelling with music and lots of family fun, such as rides, face painters, performance artists or craft workshops. It’s a colourful get-together in the streets of Amsterdam Oost, which is for free and full of amazing things that will make the kids’ eyes shine. Imagine how it would be to watch a kids opera in the street, to have a fresh craft beer while your kids get their faces painted. Sounds good? Well, then leave the rest of the King’s Day festivities and come here for some good family fun.
Recommended by Clemens from Travellers Archive
Things to do in Rotterdam with kids
The Netherlands second largest city, after Amsterdam, is Rotterdam. Rotterdam is Holland’s largest sea port. Rotterdam’s city center was largely destroyed during the Rotterdam Blitz, the controversial aerial bombing by the German invaders at the beginning of WWII in 1940. A few historical buildings remain. They stand side by side with perfect examples of the early 20th century modernist architecture of the Nieuwe Bouwen school and hyper modern skyscrapers. This makes for some interesting sightseeing. There are also a lot of fun things to do with kids in Rotterdam. Miniworld Rotterdam, Blijdorp Zoo, Plaswijck Park, nature playground the Speeldernis, playground De Stormpolder, the Tax and Customs Museum (Belasting en Douane Museum) and Villa Zebra are only a few. Villa Zebra is a very interesting children’s museum in Rotterdam that offers interactive exhibitions with modern art for kids. Recommended by our fellow travel bloggers are the pancake boat and the Maritime Museum.
Pancake Cruise – Rotterdam
Pannenkoekenboot – Rotterdam
The Pancake boat in Rotterdam is the perfect activity for families. I mean, who doesn’t love pancakes! The Pancake boat takes it to a whole other level though as you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet with pancakes and all kinds of toppings. At the same time, you get to experience Rotterdam from its best side – from the water. So, when your kids are full and happy with pancakes, you can enjoy the views and of course eat some delicious pancakes too! The cruise lasts for 75 minutes and cost 18,50 Euros per adult, or 26.50 for a family cruise. You can book tickets online, and check timetables as well.
Recommended by Alex from Swedish Nomad
Maritime Museum – Rotterdam
Maritiem Museum – Rotterdam
The Maritime Museum in Rotterdam is the perfect place to take kids of all ages. It’s conveniently located right in the center of the city on the port Leuvehaven, which is currently home to water taxis, houseboats, pleasure skiffs, and the Maritime Museum’s collection of old ships. With a ticket to the museum you’re able to board and explore a few of these ships, which kids will love crawling all over. Inside the Museum, the top floor is designed just for kids, with a discovery room about maritime life. And there’s a terrace where kids can play… and by play we mean perform manual labor! The kids we saw were enjoying themselves tremendously loading various objects on wheeled carts and moving them about (with hard hats of course!). The activities available are sure to tire out even the most rambunctious kids. We had a lot of fun at the Maritime Museum with our friends and their four-year-old son, and certainly recommend it as one of the best museums for kids in Rotterdam. Oh yeah, and if you need to refuel with local food and beer after your visit, head across the Nieuwe Maas River to the incredible Fenix Food Factory.
Recommended by Sarah and Justin from Travel Breathe Repeat
Things to do in Haarlem with kids
Haarlem is often called ‘small Amsterdam’. It has the same type of architecture, lovely canal houses and historical buildings, but isn’t as overrun by tourists. A day trip to Haarlem, capital of the province Noord-Holland, is perfect when you’re staying in Amsterdam. Amsterdam – Haarlem is only about 15 minutes by train. But why not leave touristy Amsterdam behind and stay in less busy Haarlem? Haarlem is FlipFlopGlobetrotters hometown, so we know all the nooks and crannies of this fun city!
Our favorite things to do with kids Haarlem? Playgrounds ‘het Paradijsje’, de Eenhoorn or newly opened nature playground De Paddenpoel, the Archeology Museum, the Teylers Museum, a visit to the impressive St. Bavo Church, walking around the old city center or visiting one of the many petting zoos or family friendly restaurants. Nearby Haarlem in Bennebroek is the Linneaushof, Europe’s largest playground. The beach in Zandvoort (about 15 minutes by train) and the Molenplas are great to go for a swim in the summer. City beach De Oerkap is also worth a mention. It’s a nice place to have some lunch or dinner while your kids play in the sand.
Teylers Museum – Haarlem
The Teylers Museum has a bit of an odd collection and you’ll discover new things every time you visit. It’s the oldest museum in The Netherlands and not a very large museum (dating back to 1784), but every surface is filled with weird and wonderful things. From fossils to coins and from historic scientific instruments to beautiful old paintings. The building itself is worth a visit, with its authentic 18th-century museum interior. The museum offers a treasure hunt that’s good fun to do.
Archeology Museum – Haarlem
Archeologisch Museum – Haarlem
[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKZAynoLgHg” width=”560″ height=”315″]
This is one of our favorites. It’s a small museum and perfect for kids. Our son calls it the ‘under the ground museum’ as it’s located underground in the cellars of De Hallen. Of course, the underground location is very appropriate for an archeology museum. The displays are all kids’ height, so they can easily see and there’s a reconstruction of an archeological dig site. A video explains a bit more about archeology in Haarlem. There’s a small digging pit where kids can dig for pieces of pottery, bones and a determination table where kids can discover what people used to eat by going through a cesspool’s content. Just like real archeologists.
The beach – Zandvoort
Strand – Zandvoort
The beach at Zandvoort and Bloemendaal is a great place to visit in any season. There are a few beach pavilions that are open year round and we always enjoy the large play structure at Thalassa. From Haarlem you can take a train (10 minutes) to Zandvoort station or just ride your bike (about 30 minutes). It’s a very scenic bike ride through the dune area. Both the beach and the dunes are lovely to visit with kids. Ample space to run, play and discover.
Petting farm De Houthoeve – Haarlem
Kinderboederij De Houthoeve – Haarlem
Near Haarlem’s city center there’s a large petting zoo called De Houthoeve. It’s literally a 5-10 minute walk from Haarlem’s main shopping street, in Haarlemmerhout park. Here you’ll find all of the usual Dutch petting zoo animals, such as goats, pigs, rabbits and chickens. They even have a llama. Kids always love running after the goats to pet them! There’s also a small playground.
Things to do in Zaandam with kids
A stone’s throw away from Amsterdam, and easily accessible by public transport, you’ll find a city called Zaandam. The Zaanse Schans is its main attraction and a great place to visit with kids as you can read below. Other fun things to do with kids in Zaandam are Darteldome indoor playground, the tiny Czar Peter House, the Hembrug Museum and the Zaans Museum, which is also located at the Zaanse Schans. The Verkade Experience is part of the Zaans Museum, it shows you the famous early 20th century chocolate and cookie factory Verkade. The Hembrug Museum opened recently, it tells the story of the weapons and munition factory that was located in this area.
Zaanse Schans – Zaandam
Zaanse Schans is a residential area where they’ve brought the 18th and 19th century to life. It’s located in Zaandam, near Zaandijk, about a 1-hour bus ride from Amsterdam. Zaanse Schans is a fun place for the whole family with both museums, restaurants, beautiful views and fun workshops. This is a place where you can easily spend a whole day just strolling around having family fun. There are fun things for the whole family with several activities. Here you can explore windmills, visit the cheese factory and sample some delicious cheese, visit the old school candy shop or just attend one of the many workshops that Zaanse Schans offer its visitors.
Recommended by Christine of Christine Abroad
Things to do in The Hague with kids
Like Amsterdam, The Hague has plenty to offer for kids. Some of our favorite things to do with kids in The Hague are the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (the Chambers of Wonders are awesome for kids 10+), the Children’s Book Museum, miniature park Madurodam, indoor playgrounds Zuiderparadijs and MonkeyTown Den Haag, Avonturia de Vogelkelder and of course the beach at Scheveningen. At Madurodam you can discover the Netherlands’ highlights, all in mini size. Avonturia de Vogelkelder is a 8000m2 specialty pet shop, the largest in the Benelux, complete with a mini zoo. Our fellow travel bloggers suggest the following things to do in The Hague with kids.
MUSEON – The Hague
MUSEON – Den Haag
MUSEON is situated in The Hague, a city with international vibes as many embassies, diplomatic offices and foreign press are located here. The museum is as diverse as the city itself. You can visit permanent exhibitions about outer space, volcanoes, the polar regions, ecology, geology, history, other cultures and religions, refuge movements. Each one of them takes up a large room and they all feature interactive elements for the little (or older ones) to explore. Some very interesting temporary exhibitions that you can visit right now include: knights and castles, bees and why they are in danger, National Geographic photography exhibition “Photo Ark” and a great exhibition about Ru Paré, the artist and Dutch resistance heroin that saved the life of millions of Jewish children. Do not let the “heavy” subjects, like resistance or refugees put you off. The Dutch have a great talent to make such concepts understandable and approachable to children in a great manner. If you visit MUSEON this summer, your little one will get to design their own knight shield, try out traditional, medieval bookbinding or see if they are any good at the making of stained glass windows. The museum store is loaded with toys that promote critical thinking and scientific discoveries and the cafe is also very child-friendly, offering quite a great variety of food.
Recommended by Paul from Mommy Stroller
Things to do in Leiden with kids
There are many fun children’s museum’s in Leiden, such as National Museum of Antiquities (Museum van Oudheden) and the National Museum of Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde) recommended below. Other favorites are Naturalis (National Museum of Natural History) and Corpus. At Corpus (for kids age 8+) you can make a journey through the human body. There are some great playgrounds in Leiden, such as speeltuin Westerkwartier and De Speelschans and indoor playgrounds Bubble Jungle and Pirate Island (Piraateiland).
National Museum of Antiquities – Leiden
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden – Leiden
If your little one is interested in history, if they are fascinated with old statues, warriors, ancient battles, how people lived thousands of years ago, then look no further. This antiquities museum features some of the most impressive exhibitions in Europe. The permanent collection about ancient Egypt includes many sarcophagi of all sizes as well as giant statues of Egyptian Pharaohs and other gods. Together with your little one you can use the interactive screens to dissect a crocodile mummy and learn even more! Here you will also find Greek and Etruscan exhibits, ancient Roman ones and also a section on the Near East (Mesopotamia and Babylon).
We particularly love the top floor where the Dutch archaeological findings unravel on a ribbon-like structure, that creates many nooks and crannies for the children to discover. There they can find interactive screens, fossils, old skeletons, ancient jewels and all sorts of treasures. The building itself is also an attraction, with many glass elements allowing the light to reach just the right places. A large museum store featuring an impressive collection of children’s books dedicated to history (from pure historical ones to comic series like Asterix) and lots of interesting memorabilia to choose from will please young and old. The cafe is roomy and has a nice terrace as well. The museum is quite large and we recommend bringing a lightweight stroller (or a lightweight double umbrella stroller if you have 2 kids) if you have young kids and want to enjoy it fully.
Recommended by Paul from Mommy Stroller
National Museum of Ethnology – Leiden
Museum Volkenkunde – Leiden
The Ethnology Museum in Leiden is a museum about people from various parts of the world. The permanent display shows historical objects from 8 different cultural regions: Africa, Asia, Indonesia, China, Oceania, Japan & Korea, North Pole & North America, Middle & Central America. All objects tell a story about universal human themes, such as surviving, celebration, mourning, praying, fighting and crossing to adulthood. The cultural differences emphasize that deep down we are all the same. Regularly there are temporary exhibitions. The museum offers different treasure hunts for different ages. We recommend that you do a treasure hunt when you visit the museum with your kids, as it’s a proper museum with lots of traditional displays. The treasure hunt makes the objects come alive, and sparks the imagination. For kids 2-6 there’s a fun play area called The Wild Bus next to the restaurant. The bus can take them to whatever part of the world they want to visit. A great place for imaginary play. The National Museum of Ethnology makes for a fascinating visit for both kids and parents.
Recommended by FlipFlopGlobetrotters
Between Leiden and The Hague is a town called Zoeterwoude, near Zoetermeer. It’s a fun day trip from Leiden, where you’ll see more of the Dutch countryside. It’s possible to go by public transport, but you’ll still have to walk 30 minutes from the closest bus stop. Another option is to rent a bike. It takes about 30-40 minutes to get there by bike from Leiden center.
Goat Farm ‘t Geertje – Zoeterwoude
Geitenboerderij ’t Geertje – Zoeterwoude
This adorable farm is the perfect outing with kids in the Netherlands. You can easily fill a day here, or just pop by for some outdoor fun. You can feed the goats bottles of milk, see lots of animals, play on the playground and enjoy lunch in the cafe. You won’t want to miss the Adventure Walk where you head through a fun corse full of stepping stones, log bridges and tree arches. You can also rent a boat or walk down some of the paths that parallel the canal.
Recommended by Elizabeth from Dutch Dutch Goose. Read the full review of goat farm ’t Geertje
Things to do in Wassenaar with kids
When I think of Wassenaar a Dutch song by Dutch hiphop duo Ross & Iba with the name ‘Wassenaar’ directly springs to mind. It was high in the top40 charts in The Netherlands for weeks back in 1996 (yes, I’m that old ;-)). Wassenaar is a town close to Leiden and The Hague. It’s the home of the Dutch king and his family and the Netherlands’ second most prosperous municipality after Bloemendaal with the highest income per capita. Home to the rich and therefore stereotyped as very posh and stuck-up. To the Dutch Wassenaar is best known for attraction park Duinrell and the Tikibad waterpark and swimming pool. You can buy a combination ticket, but it’s also possible to buy a separate ticket for the waterpark.
Amusement park Duinrell – Wassenaar
Attractiepark Duinrell – Wassenaar
Duinrell, situated between Leiden and Den Haag, is a holiday park with an amusement park and the Tiki Pool waterpark all combined into one. The Tiki Pool has 16 slides and various pools suitable for all ages. And the Duinrell amusement park is small enough to explore the main rides and attractions within one day. You will find adrenaline pumping modern rides, old-fashioned attractions, well-landscaped grounds and a very good pancake restaurant that is built around a merry-go-round. The Locomotion ride has car seats with a 5-point harness installed so that even the very young visitors can enjoy the rides.
Recommended by Jules from Shades of Courage. Check out Shades of Courage on Instagram
Monkey Forest Playground – Wassenaar
Monkeybos – Wassenaar
The Dutch water company Dunea uses the dunes to filter the country’s drinking water. The land surrounding the dunes has been converted into recreational use. There is a visitors center and weekly kids programs. The monkeybos though is the highlight. This playground in the woods has swinging ropes and plenty of monkey rope obstacles close to the ground. We always have a great time there and end our visit at the water play area just outside the visitors center. There is also a pancake house with plenty of toys for the kids and of course delicious pancakes.
Recommended by Elizabeth from Dutch Dutch Goose. Read a detailed review of Monkey Forest Playground
Things to do in Utrecht with kids
The Netherlands has so much to offer for kids. In the center of The Netherlands, you’ll find Utrecht, another fun city to visit. Walking in the city center feels like walking around a historical open-air museum. Did you know there’s a Miffy Museum (Nijntje Museum)? The Miffy Museum is a great place to visit with young kids (up til about age 5). And we can also recommend the Railway Museum (Spoorwegmuseum). For kids up til age 7 playground De Torteltuin is a small haven in a bustling city. Older kids will greatly enjoy the Griftpark. De Haar Castle (Kasteel de Haar) just outside of the city’s boundaries, is a castle that seems to have come right out of a fairytale. But there’s more to the province of Utrecht than just Utrecht city. De Utrechtse Heuvelrug (the hillside of Utrecht) is a lovely nature area. This is where the Pyramid of Austerlitz is located.
Pyramid of Austerlitz – Woudenberg
Pyramide van Austerlitz – Woudenberg
Not many people know that the only pyramid on European soil is situated in the village of Woudenberg. The Austerlitz Pyramid is located on the highest summit of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug hills and was constructed in 1804 to honor Napoleon Bonaparte. It is a relic from a time when the Netherlands was under French rule and it is a great and cheap ( 3 EUR p.p.) attraction to visit. Not only do you get some exercise in when climbing to the top of the pyramid to enjoy the view, there are kid-friendly hiking trails in the area around the pyramid and there is even a good size funfair style playground next to the pyramids visitor center, which is open during the summer.
Recommended by Jules from Shades of Courage
Things to do in Breda with kids
I’ve lived in Breda for a while pre-kids. It’s a big city with all necessary amenities but it has the typical Dutch southern charm with a lovely old city center. Because of its location, at a junction of water, road and railway, Breda was an important garrison town, that still houses the Royal Military Academy today. The city has a historical connection to the Dutch royal house of Nassau, through the Lord of Breda who became the Prince of Oranje-Nassau in 1538. There is also a lot to do with kids in Breda. Kids love the Breda city tour with a small electric train (it’s free for kids up to 12) that takes about 50 minutes. The miniature museum (Miniaturenmuseum Breda) at the historical Begijnhof is also great to visit with kids. Other fun things to do in Breda with kids are a canal cruise, the play forests Speelbos Gilze and Speelbos Boeverijen, the reptile house Reptielenhuis De Aarde and the many petting zoos. Close to Breda, about 30 minutes by car, you’ll also find the well-known Safari Park Beekse Bergen.
The south of Holland is famous for its yearly ‘Carnaval’ celebrations. Three days a year, end of February or early March, the city of Breda is turned into party town ‘Kielegat’. There’s a large float parade and people dress up. For the southern Dutch this is the best party of the year.
Pancake restaurant Koeckers – Den Hout
Pannenkoekenrestaurant Koeckers – Den Hout
If you’re visiting the Netherlands, you have to try the famous pancakes. A great place for families to enjoy these delicious bakeries is Koeckers, a restaurant in a small town called Den Hout, near Breda. At Koeckers, all types of pancakes are served, both sweet and with veggies. You can go here early in the day because there is a massive playing garden with trampolines, swings, a cable railway, and a sandbox with an excavator. For a small fee, you can also play minigolf.
If you travel the Netherlands with an RV, which I absolutely recommend, you can stay on campsite ‘t Kopske next door. The place is brilliant for a special family holiday as there are a sandbox and slide in the middle of the campground. Also, kids can play freely with the go-carts and tricycles. The campsite is a perfect place to see more of the North Brabant area. From there, you can easily visit beautiful places like Drimmelen and De Biesbosch National Park, and scenic towns such as Breda and Den Bosch.
Recommended by Nanouk from Dutch family travel blog Samen de Wereld Ontdekken
Things to do in Lelystad with kids
Lelystad is the provincial capital of Flevoland, the 12th province of the Netherlands. Almost all the land of this province was reclaimed from the IJsselmeer in the 1950s and ‘60s and Flevoland is basically an artificial island. Lelystad is a very new city, founded in 1967. Many complain that the city lacks ‘heart’ because it’s so new, but it still has a lot to offer for families. And at just a 40-minute drive away it makes an interesting day trip from Amsterdam. The trip Lelystad – Amsterdam can also be easily done by public transport. There are plenty of opportunities for water sports near Lelystad and it has six marinas and two beaches. Very interesting are the nature areas around Lelystad, from the world-famous natural marshland Oostvaardersplassen to about nine different forested areas. Het Belevenissenbos (‘experience forest’) is the largest playground forest in the Netherlands and fantastic for kids age 6+. The Batavia shipyard is amazing to visit with kids of all ages. Step on board the reconstructed 16th century VOC ship the Batavia and let your imagination run free. National aviation theme park Aviodrome at the Lelystad airport premises is also a favorite among kids.
Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve – Lelystad
Natuurgebied Oostvaardersplassen – Lelystad
Built on reclaimed land, The Oostvaardersplassen National Park is a must-see for nature-lovers of all ages. After a stop at De Oostvaarder – the interpretation center, an eco-car takes visitors through the wetlands to see herds of deer, wild horses, oxen, and foxes set against a backdrop of migrating birds. If you’re lucky and eagle-eyed, you’ll spot the elusive sea eagle, which has recently returned to nest in the area after not being seen in the Netherlands since the Middle Ages. To make the most of this easy-to-access day trip from Amsterdam, combine it with a visit to the nearby New Land Heritage Centre which details how the land they are standing on became one of the largest land reclamation projects in the world. Kids are encouraged to play archeologist and dyke builder, and the 3D boat projection game on sand that you move with your fingers is mesmerizing, even for adults.
Recommended by Raymond from Man on the Lam
Things to do at the Wadden Islands with kids
The Dutch Wadden (‘waddeneilanden’) Islands, also known as the West Frisian Islands, are part of a unique nature reserve that stretches all the way to Denmark. There are five Dutch islands: Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Texel is the largest island and can be reached by ferry from Den Helder. The Wadden islands are barrier islands, protecting the Waddenzee (‘wadden sea’). Amazing nature, pure silence, kilometers of walking and bike paths and wide golden beaches are perfectly combined with nice hotels and holiday apartments for the whole family. Definitely a unique experience in The Netherlands.
Each island has its own characteristics and customs, from large Texel with seven villages to tiny car free Schiermonnikoog with only about 900 inhabitants. From Vlieland you can go on a boat excursion to watch the seals that live near the island. When it’s low tide, parts of the Waddenzee fall dry. At this time it’s even possible to walk over the mudflats (‘wadlopen) all the way from the Frysian mainland (‘Friesland) to the islands! This a difficult hike and for kids there are options to try shorter easier hikes on the mudflats.
Walking the mudflats – Pieterburen
Wadlopen – Pieterburen
The Netherlands is famous for its Waddenzee which is a beautiful national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can just cross it by boat to one of the islands, but more fun is to walk all the way. Yes walk! Walking mudflats is a must do, once in a lifetime, activity with kids. Maybe not all the way from the mainland to the islands but a few hours along the coast is great too. It’s best done around the area of Noordpolderzijl where the Waddenzee is easily accessible. Never go alone out over the mudflats but take a good guide who knows currents and dangerous areas! Tours are organized by Wadloop Centrum Pieterburen. They will also adjust the route so that it’s fun for kids of any age but 8 years or up is best. The guides will also explain about land reclamation, flora, and the fauna. It’s a great learning experience for kids. It depends the season if you’re able to spot seals. It’s highly recommend combining walking mudflats with a visit to the Pieterburen seal refuge center. Take old shoes and be sure to get dirty during this traditional Dutch activity!
Recommended by Chris W. from Chris Travel Blog (CTB Global)
The Netherlands with kids, conclusion
The Netherlands is a great country to visit with kids of all ages. Lovely nature, interesting cities, great children’s museums and plenty of fun kids activities and indoor and outdoor playgrounds. In this guide we’ve covered things to do with kids in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Haarlem, Zaandam, Utrecht, Wassenaar, Lelystad and the Wadden Islands. But there’s much more to discover in the northern, eastern or southern part of the Netherlands. Just think of National Park de Hoge Veluwe near Apeldoorn, the megalithic hunebedden in the province of Drenthe, Safaripark de Beekse Bergen near Tilburg in the South or the Dinopark in Zwolle, For such a small country, Holland really has a lot to offer. For outdoor activities, the spring and summer months (April to September) are best, but lots of indoor activities can be done year round, making it possible to visit The Netherlands any time of the year. The Netherlands is definitely a great country to add to your European family trip itinerary.