9 child-friendly day trips to enjoy as a family in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a very specific international reputation which involves cheese, windmills, tulips, and, of course, recreational drugs. But there’s so much more to the Netherlands than just these basic stereotypes, and in spite of Amsterdam’s reputation as a great city for stag and hen dos, there are also plenty of kid-friendly activities that tourists, expats and locals can enjoy with the whole family.
With the summer holidays right around the corner, here are our picks for nine kid-friendly day trips in the Netherlands you can enjoy as a family.
Kicking things off is a firm favourite amongst Dutchies and internationals alike. While there are a number of fun theme parks across the Netherlands that all guarantee a fun day out, Efteling has that added magical fantasy element that makes it all the more popular amongst children.
Located in Kaatsheuvel in North Brabant (between Breda and Den Bosch), Efteling is designed as a fairytale forest, themed around the beloved characters from various classic Dutch and international fairytales. There are plenty of rides and attractions that will keep children (and adults) of all ages entertained.
Sticking with the fairytale theme, a great spot to visit with the kids is Muiderslot, which offers little ones the opportunity to live out their fantasies of being a medieval prince, princess, or knight. The castle offers special tours designed for kids, but also hosts scavenger hunts and is available for children’s parties.
Muiderslot is only about a 25-minute drive from the centre of Amsterdam, and is also accessible via public transport. Already been to Muiderslot and looking for other suggestions for a royal day out? Check out our picks for the top five castles in the Netherlands.
3. Beach day
Dutch weather is notoriously unpredictable, but every once in a while you’re treated to a gorgeous stretch of sunny skies and warm temperatures. The good thing is that when this does happen, living in the Netherlands, you know you’re never too far away from a beach,
Dutch beaches are great places to visit all year round, but they of course also offer a great spot for a day trip as a whole family over the warmer summer months. So why not plan a trip to your local beach, or head to a popular seaside town like Scheveningen or Zandvoort. Alternatively, visit one of our picks for the 13 best beaches in the Netherlands.
4. LEGOLAND Scheveningen
Speaking about Scheveningen, this iconic seaside town on the outskirts of The Hague is home to a relatively new attraction that is sure to prove popular amongst the younger generations (and older LEGO fans - we’re not judging!).
Pitched as the ultimate indoor LEGO playground, LEGOLAND Scheveningen offers children of all ages the chance to build, play and learn through interactive games and attractions. There’s also a 4D cinema showing LEGO films and a ride which takes visitors on a trip through MINILAND - a miniature LEGO city.
5. Johann Cruijff ArenA
If you’re responsible for looking after little ones that are young football fanatics, then maybe a trip to one of the Netherlands’ football stadiums would be a great way to keep them occupied! You could of course take a trip to the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, or Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam, but the most iconic Dutch stadium has got to be the Johann Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam.
Visitors can go on a tour of the stadium and explore the home of Ajax. Walk through the players' tunnel and get a glimpse of the field, take a peek at the press room and dressing rooms, and stand face-to-face with some of Ajax’s most unforgettable players in the Ajax Hall of Fame.
6. Beekse Bergen Safari Park
You might be surprised to hear it, but you don’t need to travel all the way to South Africa or Botswana to get a taste of a safari adventure. While there are a number of zoos across the Netherlands that you can visit as a family, the Beekse Bergen Safari Park near Tilburg offers visitors a wildly different experience.
The animals aren’t stuck in small enclosures, and visitors can drive through the park in their own cars to see the animals in a more natural environment. If you don’t have a car, the park also offers tours in their own safari buses, or you can opt to go on a boat tour or walking tour instead.
Explore the Netherlands as you’ve never seen it before in this miniature park! The whole family will be able to marvel at all the 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch hotspots, such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the windmills at Kinderdijk (incidentally, also a great idea for a family-friendly day out).
Madurodam is also really easily accessible from most of the major Dutch cities, located between The Hague and Scheveningen. It’s a quick 40 minutes on public transport from Rotterdam, only about a 50-minute drive from Amsterdam, and a short 10-minute tram ride from The Hague city centre.
8. CORPUS Experience
There are plenty of educational and fun child-friendly museums in the Netherlands, from the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, to Het Oertijdmuseum - the Netherlands’ largest geological museum - in Boxtel. There are so many great options, that it’s hard to recommend just one, but one museum that certainly offers visitors an informative and interactive day out is Corpus, located on the outskirts of Leiden.
As the name suggests, at Corpus visitors can take a journey through the human body to see, hear, and feel how it all works. Kick things off at the knee, before enjoying a trip as a red blood cell in the 5D Heart Theatre and taking a walk through the ear to end up in the brain. Prepare to get answers to any and all anatomy-related questions, such as what exactly happens inside your ear when you listen to music.
If you’re looking for an outing that’s less educational and more active, a trip to Linnaeushof is sure to get the blood pumping. At Europe’s biggest playground, children (and adults) can enjoy over 350 different attractions and play structures, from water slides to trampolines.
While the park offers all this space and excitement, the good news is that it isn’t too remote or difficult to get to! If you’re relying on public transportation, it’s only about a 50-minute journey from the centre of Amsterdam or The Hague.