Best Things to Do with Kids This Summer in the Netherlands

| IamExpat

It’s a feeling parents around the world are likely familiar with: the school holidays roll around, and suddenly you have to find things to fill the days that will keep the little ones occupied - and not just for a few days, but for multiple weeks! 

Fun things to do in the Netherlands as a family

If you’re stuck for ideas of how to while away the time this summer, don’t worry! There are plenty of things to do and places to see across the Netherlands that are ideal activities for over the seemingly endless summer holidays. 

Things to do in Amsterdam with kids

Amsterdam might have a reputation for suitably non-child-friendly activities, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fun attractions for families with children - here are our top picks:

1. NEMO Science Museum 

This is a great choice for days when the weather isn’t at its best, or for families who like their outings to be both fun and educational. At the NEMO Science Museum, visitors of all ages can learn more about the fascinating world of science and technology through interactive exhibitions, experiments, demonstrations and workshops. The museum also has a great rooftop cafe, which is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the views of Amsterdam (or a ray or two of sunshine, if possible).

2. ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo

There is plenty going on at ARTIS, a historic zoo located in the heart of the Dutch capital. Not only can little ones explore all creatures great and small, but there’s also a library, a botanical garden, a planetarium, the Groote Museum and Micropia; a museum focused on the minuscule world of micro-organisms. The aquarium has been undergoing major renovations for four years so far, but is hoping to reopen in 2025. 

3. Kinderboerderij de Pijp

This is another great option for those with kids (or adults) who love the animal world - but maybe aren’t huge fans of zoos. The Kinderboerderij (“petting zoo”) in the Pijp neighbourhood of the city is centrally located - making it easily accessible by bikepublic transport, or foot - and is home to rabbits, goats, sheep, ponies, donkeys, pigs, and much, much more! 

4. Pancakeboat 

Want to combine a fun activity with a meal? Then this is the excursion for you! Take the whole family out on a lovely boat trip on the IJ, where you can enjoy the views from the water while you gorge yourself on tasty pancakes - a truly Dutch experience if ever there was one! Not located in Amsterdam? There are pancake boats in Rotterdam and Nijmegen too!

5. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam 

Do you belong to a family of pop-culture fiends? Then head on over to Madame Tussauds, where you can brush shoulders with all the stars and take a selfie with your favourite movie characters. Whether you want to try and hold your own against the Hulk, strike a pose with Beyoncé, or give Harry Styles a hug, this is a guaranteed fun day out.

6. Fun Forest Amsterdam 

Finally, for the more active and adventurous among us, a day out at Fun Forest is a great way to keep the kids entertained while also burning off some energy. The kids can climb to their heart’s content in the trees of the Amsterdamse Bos, as there are different routes at different difficulty levels that are ideal for all ages. There are also Fun Forests in other Dutch cities, including Almere and Rotterdam.

Things to do in Rotterdam with kids

Of course, Amsterdam isn’t the only city in the Netherlands - here are some ideas for families living in and around Rotterdam.

1. Kids Marina

This is the activity for any little ones who dream of captaining their own boat one day. Whether your child is obsessed with the Navy or likes the idea of running a canal cruise, this is the ideal day out, as it provides them with the chance to get behind the wheel of whichever mini boat takes their fancy. Our tip? Combine a trip to the Kids Marina with a visit to Rotterdam’s Maritime Museum, to guarantee a fun and educational experience.

2. Villa Zebra

While the name of this attraction might make you think it has something to do with the animal world, Villa Zebra is in fact a visual art museum in Rotterdam designed with kids in mind. If you’re spending time with a mini Picasso or Van Gogh wannabe, this day trip is guaranteed to get their creative juices flowing and inspire some creativity.

3. Mini golf

You don’t need to be the next Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy to partake in a little bit of mini golf. This is an activity that's fun for any and all ages, and as there are indoor and outdoor venues across the country, it’s a great idea regardless of the weather. If you’re in Rotterdam, why not plan a family outing to the Parkhaven mini golf course or the Lucky Putt Minigolf at the Hollywood Event Centre.

4. Euromast

This is not an option for anyone who’s even vaguely scared of heights, but a trip to the Euromast has plenty to offer. Alongside a lovely restaurant and rooftop bar, the tower has gorgeous views of the city of Rotterdam, and has activities such as abseiling (for thrillseekers over the age of 16). 

5. Spidercity

If the weather isn’t quite nice enough for your family to head to the Fun Forest, then Spidercity could be the perfect alternative. This indoor experience allows kids to soar through a city, scaling walls and climbing between the rooftops and trees. Why watch Spiderman when you’re child could become Spiderman at Spidercity!?

6. Dutch Pinball Museum

As the name suggests, the Dutch Pinball Museum specialises in everything and anything pinball, and has a collection of over 100 pinball machines - many of which are still functional and available for your playing pleasure. Many parents might find it difficult to drag their kids away from their favourite video game, but this could be the outing that will get the little ones away from their Playstations to pinball with the whole family.

Things to do in The Hague with kids

The Hague is of course the political capital of the Netherlands, but the city has plenty of fun and non-politics-related activities and attractions that are worth a visit!

1. Drievliet

It’s a fairly well-known fact that kids love a theme park, so why not treat them to a day of fun rides and tasty snacks this summer? There are plenty of theme parks to be found across the Netherlands (and there are internationally renowned ones such as Disneyland and Europa Park just a short trip away), but one that is really easily accessible - especially to people living in The Hague - is Drievliet. The park has plenty of family and kid-friendly attractions and activities, as well as a couple of more thrilling rides for those old and daring enough to give them a go!

2. Madurodam

This is an oldie but a goodie. This miniature park allows visitors to see the Netherlands from a completely different angle (and has the added benefit of making small children feel like giants). Everyone can marvel at the 1:25 scale models at Madurodam, and experience famous sights such as Schiphol Airport and the Kinderdijk Windmills like never before.

3. Scheveningen Pier 

This might sound like an obvious choice, but being in The Hague and having a beach right on your doorstep never gets old. Aside from heading out for a beach day when the weather is nice, there’s plenty to do on the pier at Scheveningen, including bungee jumping, ziplining and surfing, alongside shops, restaurants, bars and, of course, the Ferris wheel. Bored of the pier? Then head to one of the other fun and family-friendly nearby attractions, such as SEA LIFE Scheveningen or the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

4. Children’s Book Museum

Trying to imbue a love of reading in young children can be tricky, but once their eyes open to the wonderful world of literature they’re sure to never be bored. If you’ve got your very own little bookworm to keep occupied until schools reopen, a trip to the Children’s Book Museum could be the perfect day out. The little ones can explore the world of some iconic characters from children’s literature and marvel as these imaginary worlds come to life before their eyes!

5. Hop-on hop-off historic tram tour

Many with young children would maybe argue that a family trip on public transport isn’t a great day out, but mixing up your travel plans with a trip on a historic tram could change that. The hop-on hop-off tours are a great way to explore The Hague, while also experiencing a little piece of the city’s rich history.

6. Escher in the Palace

And last but certainly not least, Escher in the Palace not only allows visitors to explore a beautiful 20th-century palace formally inhabited by members of the Dutch royal family, but also lets them step into the world of Maurits Cornelis Escher’s captivating (and mind-boggling) works of art; the museum’s interactive exhibition really brings this famous Dutch artist’s work to life!

Keep the kids entertained and educated this summer holiday!

There’s an endless list of kid-friendly excursions across the Netherlands that are a guaranteed great day out for the whole family. Looking for more inspiration for the next school holidays (or next weekend)? Check out our picks for the best family-friendly day trips in the Netherlands!