There’s much more to the Netherlands than the stereotypical images that spring to mind. The Netherlands may be a small country but it is surprisingly versatile, diverse and incredibly child-friendly. Here are five reasons why you should travel to the Netherlands with kids.
1. Animal Parks, Museums and Castles Galore
The Netherlands has its fair share of animal parks, diverse museums covering every imaginable interest, and more castles than you can visit during one holiday.
There are so many sights worth visiting. It is impossible to have a fully comprehensive list but here are a few that should be on your lookout:
Museums in Amsterdam
Museums Further Afield
- Open-air museum the Zaanse Schans with well-preserved windmills, houses, and handicraft shops.
- Archeon for an interactive history experience.
- Miniature world Madurodam in The Hague will tick all the boxes if you want to see the best of the Netherlands all in one day.
- Visit the Louwman museum if your kids love cars.
- If trains are more your family’s thing then explore Het Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht or the mini railway world in Rotterdam or a local steam train museum such as Museum Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik.
- There’s something for the aviation enthusiasts too: Aviodrome in Lelystad.
- And finally, if you are interested in learning more about the Dutch art of water management then Deltapark Neeltje Jans is absolutely the place to go.
- Artis zoo in Amsterdam
- Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam
- Burgers Zoo in Arnhem
- Wildlands Adventure Zoo in Emmen
- Bird park Avifauna in Alphen aan den Rijn.
- Marine park Dolfinarium in Harderwijk
- There are monkeys galore in Apenheul
- The one that worths a special mention is Ecomare, which is a seal sanctuary on the Dutch island of Texel.
There are numerous castles across the Netherlands but notably, Muiderslot, Kasteel Huis Bergh, and Kasteel de Haar are worth a day trip. There are often special children’s events lined up during the school holidays.
2. You Can Tour the Netherlands on a Bike
According to the Fietsersbond (Dutch Cycling Association) the Dutch cycle 15 billion kilometres a year and there are 22.5 million bikes in the Netherlands. In other words, there are more bikes in the Netherlands than people.
The comprehensive national network of cycle paths makes cycling easy and safe across the whole country. The best bit is that much of the Netherlands is reclaimed polder land and therefore as flat as the pancakes that Dutch children love to eat for dinner. Even the most inexperienced cyclist can enjoy trips out on a bike.
There are numerous cycle route planners that can help you map out a tour of the most beautiful parts of the Netherlands. You can cycle past magnificent castles, along canals, vineyards or through flower fields bursting with tulips with a gezellig stop off for refreshments along the way of course.
Across the country, you can hire bikes to suit your family’s needs. You can get everything from bakfiets and bikes equipped with a baby or child seat to tandems or good old-fashioned regular bikes.
3. Numerous Amusement Parks
There are many theme parks and amusement parks in the Netherlands. They are in all sizes and are for different age groups. There are indoor or outdoor parks to accommodate the unpredictable Dutch weather.
The best known is the Efteling which is an hour and a quarter drive south of Amsterdam but it’s certainly not the only park worth a visit. Family park Drievliet, Europe’s largest outdoor playground Linnaushof , Slagharen, Duinrell, Hellendoorn, and Walibi, are just a few more to visit worth exploring.
4. Visit the Beaches and a Strandtent
Whilst the climate of the Netherlands cannot match that of Southern Europe it can certainly be said that the Dutch love sunshine. The people of the Netherlands know how to make the most of it when the sun shows up. There are sandy beaches up and down the Dutch dune lined coast.
There are strandtents (beach cafes) on most beaches in the summer months. Best of all is that many have playgrounds for the kids so you get to really enjoy that drink in the sunshine.
If the traditional seaside is your thing then head to Scheveningen, near The Hague. There you can stroll along the boulevard, walk on the pier, take a ride on a Giant Ferris Wheel with views over the sea, visit Sea Life, watch a firework display, or simply laze on the beach whilst the kids make sand castles.
Put the weather aside, the Dutch make the most of their beautiful coastal area – from walking in the dunes, water, playing beach sports, or simply relaxing and soaking up those precious rays of the sun.
5. Whatever Your Accommodation Choice, The Netherlands Has It
The Netherlands has a wide range of accommodation options to please every type of travelers. You can take your caravan and rest up in a campsite, camp in a tent, stay in a holiday park brimming with facilities, stay overnight in a hotel or enjoy a bed and breakfast, set yourselves up in a comfortable holiday home, or go glamping on a farm.
Whatever accommodation appeals to your imagination, traveling to the Netherlands with kids can offer the family everything from bustling cities to rural villages and even islands to visit!