Top 10 children’s museums in the Netherlands (suitable for toddlers)

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Before I became a mother, I never knew there were so many cool children’s museums in The Netherlands. I have a huge list of kids’ museums I still want to go to with our toddler and we’ve already visited quite a few. Since we’re going to homeschool our little boy next year, museums are definitely top of mind. The top 10 list below is a combination of both museums we’ve already been and liked and locations that are still on our bucket list. So, if you’re looking for things to do in The Netherlands with kids, this post will give you lots of inspiration.

Recently we visited the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, which was maybe a bit too challenging for a toddler. But I think he’ll love it in a few months time. He’s still talking about the visit… Our trip to the Children’s Book Museum (or ‘Frog Museum’ as our toddler calls it, due to the ‘I am Frog’ exhibit) was a big hit. We’ll definitely be going there again! Most museums in The Netherlands offer some kids program and it’s very easy to find activities for older children. The museums on this list are fun for older kids too, but I’m focussing specifically on museums that are fun for toddlers.

Bilingual children’s museums in The Netherlands

Most of the museums in Amsterdam are bilingual, also the children’s museums. Although a lot of people in The Netherlands speak English and we have many expats, museums outside of Amsterdam are mostly only in Dutch. Of course, Google Translate helps a lot while checking the museum’s website for visitor info. And I recently got a tip about the Google Translate App. It now offers instant camera translation and you can use it offline. Just point your phone’s camera at a piece of text and you can instantly see the translated text on your screen. I think your kids will enjoy a museum visit a lot more if you can tell them what they are seeing. This would have been great when we visited the natural history museum in Milan recently, as all the information was only in Italian (and although we try, our knowledge of Italian is virtually non-existent).

Kids museum card

Most museums in The Netherlands offer free entrance for kids up till 4 years old (so we need to hurry and visit a few before our tot turns 4!). Check the museum’s website for pricing details, a lot of museums that are specifically for kids have different tariffs. In general museums in The Netherlands are quite expensive, even for kids you often pay €10-20 for a ticket. So after our toddler turns 4 I think we’ll buy a museum card for him and ourselves (€32,45 for kids, €59,90 for adults at the time of writing, June 2017). Just a few visits and it’ll already be worth it. This might also be a good option if you’re visiting The Netherlands and plan to visit a good few museums or if you’re an expat living in The Netherlands.

The website Museum Kids has info about the museum card, but also a lot of info about children’s museums in The Netherlands.

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Best museums for toddlers in The Netherlands

1. Archeologie Museum / Archeology Museum – Haarlem

Our little world traveler calls this the ‘underground museum’ because you have to go down a flight of stairs to reach this museum in the cellars of historical building De Vleeshal (‘meat hall’) in the center of Haarlem. Of course, archeologists’ findings are also ‘under the ground’ so the name fits quite well. The museum is really small, which makes in perfect for toddlers. All the display cases are low and kids can easily see what’s inside. Play archeologist at the small digging pit, where you’ll discover pieces of old pottery and bones. Or find out what people used to eat by sorting various food residues (egg shells, fish bones, fruit pits) at the determination table. Be amazed by all the small bones in a human skeleton and discover how hard it is to piece a vase together from all the small pieces of pottery.

If you’re doing a day trip to Haarlem with kids, the archeology museum is a great place to include. Overall Haarlem is a nice city to visit with (or without) kids. It has a lot of child-friendly lunch places and some nice petting zoos. Sometimes Haarlem is called ‘little Amsterdam’. It has the architecture and the canals, but it’s a lot less busy than Holland’s capital.

2. Kinderboekenmuseum / Children’s Book Museum – The Hague

Our toddler loves books, so this awesome museum has to be in the top 10. There are two exhibitions for kids age 0-6 ‘Ik ben Kikker’ (I am Frog) and ‘ABC met de dieren mee’ (ABC with the animals) and one for ages 7+ called Papiria. The I am Frog exhibition is both in Dutch and English. Each book character has its own little space. Crawl through various fruits and food like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, jump like Frog, patch up Elmer the Patchwork Elephant… the museum’s exhibitions are highly interactive and fun. Kinderboeken museum is easy to reach by public transport. The National Library building that houses the museum is located right next to Den Haag Centraal (The Hague central train station). The website of the Children’s Book Museum tells you more about how to get there and what you can expect.

Watch the video we made below or check the review of our visit to the Children’s Book Museum. Our son keeps asking when we’re going back to visit Frog, so I would say it was a success and we’ll definitely go there again.

3. Nijntje museum / Miffy Museum – Utrecht

Did you know there’s a whole museum dedicated to Miffy? How cool is that! The museum is meant for kids between the ages of 2 and 6, but I think it really depends on your child. A friend of mine who went said her 4-year old probably wouldn’t find it very interesting anymore in a few months. We haven’t been yet, but it’s on the agenda.

They recommend you buy tickets online as availability at the museum itself is limited. For safety reasons they work with time slots (so the building doesn’t exceed maximum capacity). Your booked time slot indicates when you should enter the museum. Once inside you can stay as long as you like. Check the Miffy Museum’s website for more info & prices.

4. Naturalis – Leiden

Naturalis is an awesome museum with a vast natural history collection. The aim of Naturalis is to increase enthusiasm for and knowledge of the amazing diversity of nature. Unfortunately, the museum is closed for renovations and expansion until the end of 2018. They do have very interesting but smaller exhibitions in one area of the museum. Check out the Naturalis website for more information and the calendar of events.

Leiden is a nice city to visit. It has a beautiful historic city center. We were there recently and our little one loved The Burcht, an 11th-century shell keep. Great to spark his imagination. Incidently my two favourite museums are in Leiden. The Rijksmuseum van de Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) and Museum Volkenkunde (National Museum of Ethnology) are awesome to visit with kids of any age.

5. Spoorwegmuseum / Railway Museum – Utrecht

Discovery and experience are paramount at this museum where 175 years of railway history comes to life. This museum is great for kids of all ages (and parents too!). Videos, explanations of the various trains on display, a theater performance by a French chef and a lady traveling the Orient Express, a simulator of a mad train ride where the kids can push buttons and man the steering wheel…. You’re not only looking at old trains, but the museum does its best to animate history, making it a lot more interesting for kids. Our toddler really enjoyed it.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Spoorweg museum / Railway Museum Utrecht

The Railway Museum is housed in an old train station, a beautiful historic building dating from 1874, within walking distance of the city center. Of course, the coolest way to get there is… by train! There’s a train service between Utrecht Centraal and Utrecht Maliebaan. You exit the train inside the museum. More information can be found on the website of the Railway Museum. Kids 0-3 have free entrance.

6. Villa Zebra – modern art kids museum Rotterdam

Villa Zebra is a children’s museum for modern art. Their exhibitions are aimed at kids ages 3-12. The two permanent exhibitions are ZELF (‘self’) for kids 3-6 and Diep in het bos (‘deep in the forest’) for kids 7-12. ZELF consists of 5 play and art installations that were developed by artists, especially for young kids. Going on holiday, camping, starring in the circus, experimenting in the laboratory or creating tangram images, it’s all possible at Villa Zebra. If you visit ZELF your kids can also do a small workshop. The museum has limited opening hours, so don’t forget to check Villa Zebra’s website to see when you can visit.

7. Veiligheidsmuseum PIT / Security Museum PIT – Almere

Veiligheidsmuseum PIT is the national security museum. Here you can find out everything you ever wanted to know about the emergency services (police, fire brigade and ambulance) in The Netherlands. The museum, located in the center of Almere, offers a good mix of historical items and vehicles, and interactive games and activities. It’s both entertaining and educational. Kids and their parents learn all about safety in their own environment and how the emergency services help keep Holland safe. At the moment our 3-year old wants to be a fireman when he grows up, so I’m guessing we’ll be visiting this museum soon! Museum entrance is free for kids 0-3. Take a look at the website of Veiligheidsmuseum PIT for more information, opening hours and ticket prices.

8. Archeon – Aphen aan den Rijn

This awesome place is still high on our museum bucket list. It’s an open air museum dedicated to Prehistoric times, Roman era and Middle Ages. Every day and especially during the weekend and holidays they have various shows, such as a gladiator fight, temple ceremony. Kids can learn sword fighting, archery, making fire and lots of other things. For an additional fee you can buy an activity pass, so kids can do numerous arts and crafts projects. But even without that there’s enough to see and do. Visit a Prehistoric hunter-gatherers camp, check out a Roman bathhouse and wander through a small Medieval town called Gravendam. I’ve only been there once myself, many years before our son was born. It really sounds like an awesome place to take your kids. Very educational too, so great for people that homeschool. Kids up and including 3 years have free entrance. Check out Archeon’s website for more info.

9. Watermuseum – Arnhem

Did you know that less than 1% of the water that’s treated and purified in The Netherlands is used for drinking or cooking? Or that per person per year we use 12300 liters of drinking water to flush the toilet? This and other interesting info about the use of fresh water in Holland can be learned at the Dutch Watermuseum. The Dutch Watermuseum is an interactive museum about all aspects of water, Dutch dike management, ground water management, drinking water production and the use of water in The Netherlands and around the world. We all know most kids love to play with water, so this is a perfect place to take them. The museum is housed in an old 15th century water mill. Unlike a lot of other museums in The Netherlands the entry fee is very reasonable. For kids 4-12 years old you only pay €6,50 and adults pay €9,50. You can find more information about the museum at Watermuseum’s website.

10. Oertijdmuseum / Prehistoric Museum – Boxtel

Dinosaurs! Need I say more? This museum about the Prehistory is the largest geological museum in The Netherlands. It’s founded by a Dutch geologist who found his first fossil as an 11-year old boy and then kept on collecting. In this museum you can relive the past, and especially prehistoric times with fossils and dinosaurs. The collection is displayed both inside and outside. Inside you find a large collection of impressive dinosaur skeletons. The outside area consists of 2 hectares prehistoric forest where you can see numerous ‘living fossils’, trees that have also been found as fossils. Between the trees there are lots of dinosaur statues. The museum also has some moving dinosaurs. We visited the Dinopark when we were in Prague and our son still talks about it. I guess we need to make our way to the South of The Netherlands some time soon! Honestly the Prehistoric Museum’s website doesn’t offer much information, but you can check prices and opening hours.

Accommodation in The Netherlands

Now that you know how many cool children’s museums The Netherlands has, why not plan a visit with your family? Check Booking.com for hotels in The Netherlands or take a look at the suggestions below.



Booking.com

Plutonium Sox
CulturedKids

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Author Description

Lisa

Lisa

Lisa is an experienced online marketing professional currently working as digital nomad. She's the mother of a precious little ginger haired boy and if time permits she likes to read, write, travel the world and dive.

There are 34 comments. Add yours

  1. Pingback: DFDS mini cruise to Amsterdam - our review! - The Barts Go Adventuring! August 29, 2017

    […] – but perhaps next time we’ll be able to stay longer!  There are some really great kids museums in the Netherlands so definitely one to return […]

  2. 4th August 2017 | Tania @ Larger Family Life says: Reply
    All thoroughly brilliant and so different! What a fabulous selection #culturedkids
    • Lisa
      7th August 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks Tania! I never knew before becoming a mother, but The Netherlands have so many cool activities to offer for kids. It's really amazing for such a small country.
  3. 17th July 2017 | Jenny (The Little Adventurer) says: Reply
    I've pinned this, as we hope to visit the Netherlands soon. Love the look of the Miffy Museum! #culturedkids
    • Lisa
      7th August 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      If you need any advice for your visit, drop us a line!Maybe I should do a 'part 2' of this museum list, there are so many cool museums for kids in The Netherlands :-) We haven't visited the Miffy Museum yet, but definitely will soon!
  4. 10th July 2017 | Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays says: Reply
    We are visiting the Netherlands this summer, so this is very timely. Top tip about the Museum card. I really really want to go to the Miffy Museum. Thank you for linking up to #CulturedKids
    • Lisa
      10th July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      You're welcome, Catherine :-) If we can help you plan your trip to The Netherlands in any way, let us know!
  5. 7th July 2017 | tots2travel says: Reply
    Useful for us with direct flights to Amsterdam. The water museum sounds particularly unusual and inspiring. Also love the sound of I am a Frog! #culturedkids
    • Lisa
      7th July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Do you know the Frog books by Max Velthuijs? Max Velthuijs is a Dutch writer and illustrator, his books have been translated in English too. Big themes - such as loss, fear, sadness, death - wrapped in attractive, deceptively simple stories. Very educational for kids. Our son loves reading about Frog. The Hague is very doable from Amsterdam, so this would be a good choice.
  6. 4th July 2017 | Carrie -Flying With A baby says: Reply
    I never knew there were so many cool children’s museums in The Netherlands either. What a great list and guide for a visit there. I think mine would love Veiligheidsmuseum PIT and the book museum!. Thank you so much for linking up to #familytraveltips
    • Lisa
      5th July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      We recently visited the PIT Security Museum (video & post to follow soon!) and our toddler loved it. Definitely recommend!
  7. 3rd July 2017 | Plutonium Sox says: Reply
    Wow, what a comprehensive post! I love that children up to the age of 4 are free and also that kids' museum card is an inspired way to get children to access these valuable educational resources. My girls would adore the railway museum! Thanks very much for linking up to #Familytraveltips Nat.x
    • Lisa
      3rd July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      The museum card is a wonderful idea, especially since museums in The Netherlands can be quite expensive. For the larger better knows museums you pay up to €20 per person. However, there are also museums (The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Mauritshuis in The Hague for instance) that are actually free for 18 and under. And for some smaller museums you sometimes pay only a few euros. So it's worth checking the museum's website to compare tariffs, there are huge differences.
  8. 3rd July 2017 | Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) says: Reply
    What a great post. We visited the Mauritshuis in the Hague, and I was impressed at how child-friendly they'd made it. I didn't know about the water museum, but it makes so much sense in a country like Holland. I've come to this post via #Fearlessfamtrav, but it would also be perfect for #CulturedKids, if you'd like to link up some time? It's open this Friday (7 July) over on the Pigeon Pair and Me this month. Hope to see you there! Nell x
    • Lisa
      3rd July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks, Nell, I'm putting the Mauritshuis on our list! Always lots of great ideas on your #CulturedKids link-up. I'll try to link up this Friday!
      • 10th July 2017 | Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) says: Reply
        Thank you for linking up! It's great to re-read this as part of #CulturedKids. ZELF sounds so playful - I really must take the kids there.
  9. 2nd July 2017 | Wandermust Mummy says: Reply
    I love railway museums #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      3rd July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Our son does too. Near my parents' house in Friesland is a nice museum with miniature trains. Success guaranteed! ;-)
  10. 2nd July 2017 | Jonny (daisythebus) says: Reply
    Well, this is VERY useful for us. We often fancy a weekend trip to the Netherlands but frequently fail to find a "focus" or reason to make the journey. A visit to one or two of these museums would be a perfect motivation. Great stuff - thanks! #FearlessFamTrav
    • Lisa
      3rd July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Yes, I always find it helpful too to have some activities planned when we go somewhere. If you ever need any tips about the Netherlands, just drop us a line! We'd enjoy helping you find some fun things to do around here.
  11. 1st July 2017 | Erin says: Reply
    Good tip on the museum card! We love open-air museums, and have been to the one here in the Black Forest in Germany a couple times now. We'll add this one to our list too. #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      1st July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Holland has quite a lot of open air museums. A few other options besides Archeon: Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen, Afrika Museum near Nijmegen too and Netherlands Open Air Museum in Arnhem. Archeon is a lot of fun for kids though.
  12. 1st July 2017 | Baby Loves Travel says: Reply
    This is a really useful list, thanks. I will definitely visit some of these if I head to the Netherlands with my LO. #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      3rd July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks! Let us know if you're ever heading this way!
  13. 1st July 2017 | Lauren says: Reply
    After reading this the Netherlands is definitely on our places to visit, great article
    • Lisa
      3rd July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks, Lauren. For such a small country, Netherlands really have a lot to offer :-)
  14. 30th June 2017 | Helena says: Reply
    There certainly look like a great selection of museums in the Netherlands. I especially like the idea of a museum card. #familytraveltips
    • Lisa
      30th June 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Yes, the museum card is awesome. Actually, we just bought one for ourselves today!
  15. 28th June 2017 | Claire says: Reply
    Love the sound of these particularly the book museum and miffy museum.
    • Lisa
      1st July 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      We haven't been to the Miffy museum yet, but our little one loved the book museum!
  16. 27th June 2017 | Jenny Lynn says: Reply
    What a fantastic list you have put together! A great resource for families travelling to the Netherlands. My boys would love the Railway Museum in Utrecht! We've visited the city before to see friends, but didn't know about it. Next time 😊
    • Lisa
      27th June 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks Jenny! It was quite a job, but so much fun to research. Fortunately our toddler loves museums, so I'm really looking forward to visiting lots in the coming years.
  17. 27th June 2017 | PinkOddy says: Reply
    I had no idea that there were so many suitable museums for children in the Netherlands. Mind the two times we have been over the kids haven't wanted to leave the camp and the furtherest we got was the hospital. We do want to go again and try to see some culture. Thank you for the informative post. #familytraveltips
    • Lisa
      27th June 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      If the furthest you got was the hospital it definitely sounds like you need to come again and experience the fun stuff! For such a small country The Netherlands have surprisingly much to offer for both kids and adults alike.

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