You’ve probably heard that the Netherlands is a great destination for a family vacation with children and if you wondered whether these statements are true then I am here to tell you: definitely true!
The Netherlands offers for a family a wide range of attractions, activities, museums, and nature with a lot of thought to suit children.
In the Netherlands, you will find picturesque and quiet cities in addition to vibrant Amsterdam, villages on the banks of water canals, amusement parks, nature sites, and many interesting museums. The Netherlands has a wonderful combination of natural and man-made.
From all the attractions that we have visited we chose to present you the 16 that we enjoyed the most in the Netherlands.
You may have asked yourself, should you visit Anne Frank’s house as part of a family vacation with your children? The answer is that this visit should not be missed. Even though this is a serious visit, the overall experience is positive.
Although Anne Frank herself did not survive the war, the fact that her diary became one of the most popular translated books of all time made the tragic story a story of victory.
At the house you can get to know Anne Frank’s story and explore the rooms of the house. The rooms are empty of furniture to allow visitors to enter. In addition, there is a small model of the house where you can see how it was when the family hid in it.
The visit to the house is short and lasts about an hour, but it is recommended to prepare for it in advance with the children.
Anne Frank’s house is one of the most popular sites in Amsterdam and its lines are very long. Therefore, it is recommended to pre-purchase tickets that are sold on their website. The tickets are marked by day and time and therefore the visit to the site must be planned in advance. Pay attention to buying them long enough in advance because they run out quickly, especially during high season.
To read about all the places we recommend to go visit in Amsterdam with kids click here.
2) Open Museum of Enkhuizen (Zuiderzeemuseum)
This museum is a large open space that features a typical Dutch village, an incredible set up with the original village which really shows the kind of lifestyle back in the day when it was a little fishing village. It has completely furnished houses, shops, streets, workshops, trenches, candy shops, children’s games and more.
You can wander and discover the open houses that allow you to get inside and explore the lifestyle back then. Children are invited to dress up in traditional clothes and play the old games on the streets of the open museum. You can even buy Dutch sweets in a paper bag and sit on the banks of the canal to eat them.
There are also art workshops (at an additional cost) and you can spend half a day there without any problem.
3) De Hoge Veluwe National Park
It is the largest national park in the Netherlands. There are bikes available for everyone and for free. You can also find special bikes at the visitor center (extra fee).
As soon as you enter the De Hoge Veluwe Park there is a large bicycle parking lot which all you need is to pick a couple and start riding. The heart of the park is at the visitors’ center where you will also find a restaurant and a playground. You can also find art in the Kröller-Müller Museum.
Pay attention that there are a number of entrances to the park. We entered through the otterlo entrance that was comfortable and fast. It is recommended to bring fruit sandwiches and snacks to do a picnic on the banks of the lake.
The park is suitable for an entire day’s leisure or a quick visit of three hours to half a day.
Despite being a small village Giethoorn is definitely an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.
It is an hour and a half drive from Amsterdam and you should try to combine it with another attraction. This beautiful village is situated on the edge of water canals and instead of roads there are trenches, and instead of cars, there are boats.
It is possible to explore the village on foot but I recommend to rent a boat for at least an hour and sail through its beautiful canals.
5) Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest painters in history. Perhaps his popularity is partly due to his tragic life story.
The Van Gogh museum is located in the center of Amsterdam and has an impressive display of Van Gogh’s works on four floors.
This museum is the largest collection of works by the Dutch painter including the famous piece of the Sunflowers. We also visited the Rijksmuseum but enjoyed the Van Gogh Museum more, perhaps because of my special affection for the painter and his paintings.
For those of you who arrive with children, go to the reception desk and request the museum’s children’s activity booklet, my children really enjoyed looking for clues and finding answers.
It is strongly recommended that you purchase tickets for the day and time on the Internet since the queues are long.
Read our recommended things to do in Amsterdam with kids right here.
Micropia is a museum that presents the invisible world of microorganisms and in my opinion, this museum is interesting, fascinating, and definitely worth a visit.
The place itself is quite small relative to other museums but there is plenty to see. It is the perfect place for the curious among us – children and adults, and it is recommended for all ages.
The museum is highly invested with microscopes and interactive presentations showing the world of bacteria.
It may cause trauma to obsessive cleaners – as it displays bacterial cultures taken from everyday objects such as a calculator, cell phone, keys, curtain and more. Anyone who complains that their child is not organized or hygienic enough this is the place to take him/her for a lesson.
Learn about more attractions in Amsterdam that are suitable for kids in this post.
7) Utrecht and DOMunder
Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a history that dates back to the Roman Empire. Here the Romans settled for the first time and the remains of their presence still exist today thanks to the ancient buildings, cathedrals, and churches.
Today, Utrecht is undergoing extensive changes and modern buildings are used by its residents, alongside the ancient buildings.
The city of Utrecht has several sites where you can visit and stroll. Between the canal and the museums, feel the pastoral landscape so typical to the Dutch cities. The Dom is a large Gothic cathedral built between 1254 and 1520 and is the highest turret in the entire Netherlands (112 meters). If you got lost in Utrecht, that turret is your compass.
A water canal crosses the center of Utrecht, with cozy restaurants and cafés. If you feel like burning a few calories after over-consumption of Frites (Dutch fries), you are invited to rent a pedal boat and sail along the canals. You will find my recommendations on a trip to Utrecht here.
A very recommanded attraction in the DOMunder. This is an experiential visit to the whole family down below the streets under the main square of Utrecht. A guided tour and explanations about 2000 years of history. You can read more about it on their site.
If you have only half a day to visit Utrecht you can check our recommendation.
Efteling one of the most popular parks in Europe and considered one of the most beautiful. The park is amazingly designed including knights castles, dwarf caves, huge mushrooms and gardens of magnificent flowers. For a visit to a large amusement park like Efteling, it is advised to be prepared in advance in order to save precious time and to know what attractions you to visit.
One important tip is to get as early as possible to the site, in order to save yourself valuable standing time in long queues or to purchase the tickets in advance. We bought them from 365Tickets.
Bring enough water as the park is huge and you do not want to lose time until you find a shop without a queue to buy a bottle of water. It is best to set an hour and a central meeting point in the park, in case someone is lost. The point must be very clear and recognizable from anywhere in the park. Read the guidelines and restrictions that apply to each facility carefully and do not try to be smart.
What makes this park unique is the section for the younger ones, all of which is designed in the style of legends. Even large children have enough challenging and scary facilities, but for action enthusiasts, it is Walibi more suitable.
It is possible to download the useful application of the park, which has all the information, including the waiting time in each facility. Wifi is free.
9) Muiden Castle (Muiderslot)
Muiden Castle is one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval castles in the Netherlands. It is 15 minutes from Amsterdam and is an excellent attraction for families with children and even without. The first walk from the parking towards the castle passes through the magical streets of the village.
In the castle, you can feel just like knights. Do not forget to purchase the activity booklet for the children as at the end of the tour your kids will become knights and receive a medal for their hard work.
10) Madame Tussauds
I know this is a cliche but the kids had so much fun there (and the adults too) that I have decided to include it in the list. The truth is that in my initial planning I did not plan to visit the Madame Tussauds museum, but when we got to Dom Square and the kids craved for something fun and light, we decided to go in. This is also one of our 11 must do in Amsterdam with kids.
As in all Madame Tussauds museums, you can take pictures with your favorite (and least favorite) celebrities on a variety of poses.
It is recommended to book tickets online in advance and in any case avoid rush hours (12: 00-18: 00) for maximum enjoyment.
The miniature park Madurodam, established in 1952, is one of Holland’s favorite attractions. The site contains about 200 miniature models of sites from all over the Netherlands and its familiar symbols. There is a path that leads us to the model number. It’s best to get to Madurodam at the end of your vacation so you can identify the sites you’ve visited.
12) Zaanse Schans
A short drive from Amsterdam and you arrive at a picturesque town called Zaanse Schans. This is a combination of a real village and an open museum, with the main attraction being the active windmills (each for a different industry). The town is full of windmills, small houses, ducks, swans and of course canals. The entrance to the village is free of charge but the for the entrance to the windmills and the sailing there is a fee. The town is pastoral and charming and it is important to arrive early because everything is closed at 17:00. It is recommended to visit the wooden clogs factory and the cheese farm located in the village.
13) Escher In Het Paleis
The Escher museum is located in a former palace building and is now filled with the works of Escher. Escher’s paintings are known all over the world and are famous for breaking the laws of nature and gravity. The museum in The Hague is interesting for both children and adults and is spread over three floors and you shouldn’t miss a single room. On the top floor, there is a nice interactive area including a special room where you can be photographed in the spirit of illusions Escher.
In Lelystad, you can find Aviodrome, the civil aviation museum of the Netherlands. In the indoor museum, you can enjoy a guided tour that takes you through aviation history with exhibitions of old airplanes, movies, accessories, and costumes. The kids enjoyed sitting in the cockpit of the various planes. Outside there is a jumbo plane that can be accessed and see what is hidden in the business class, in the upstairs and in the cockpit. Once every 30 minutes, you can enter the flight simulator at no additional charge. Outside there is also the structure of the old airport of Schiphol transferred here from Amsterdam with more civil aircraft and various automotive related.
15) Klimbos Park
If you never visited a climbing park in your life then let me tell you – this is FUN! Klimbos Park is one of the first to be established in the Netherlands and contains eight courses of various difficulty levels. The park is in the middle of a forest and surrounded by nature. They also have a unique safety system so you can feel safe at their highest trail which is 25 meters high. Please note that you have to arrive with adventurousness and courage.
16) Duinrell Park
Duinrell park is a large amusement and water park in the town of Wassenaar in the Zuid-Holland district of the Netherlands which both adults and children will enjoy. Take one of the many slides here, visit the large playground, enjoy a theater show and more. Although the park is not as big as Efteling, it has many diverse rides and facilities. The great advantage of the park is the combination with the indoor water park called Tiki Pool, which features 11 water slides. You can also rent accommodation, from camping to hotel rooms. The park is a convenient base for excursions in the area and is about half an hour from Amsterdam.
In this list I was focusing on the top attractions that are, in my opinion, the best for families with kids.
There are many more wonderful places to go with your kids in the Netherlands, which I will tell you more about in my next posts.
What are your favorite attractions? you can write them in the comments below.