5 aquariums in the Netherlands you need to see

5 aquariums in the Netherlands you need to see

With the weather cooling and the holidays fast approaching, why not take the whole family for a fun and educational day out? You could, of course, opt for a museum or zoo, but why not do something different and visit an aquarium instead? The sea life awaits!

Aquariums in the Netherlands

There aren’t that many establishments solely dedicated to underwater life in the Netherlands, but luckily we have managed to compile a list of five that we think are definitely worth a visit. Let the underwater journey begin!

Zee Aquarium Bergen aan Zee

About 9 kilometres west of Alkmaar lies Bergen aan Zee, a coastal town boasting a beautiful aquarium. Zee Aquarium Bergen aan Zee is jam-packed with over 300 different fish species, more than 800.000 litres of water and around 4.000 fish.

The aquarium was recently renovated and expanded upon, making it even better and providing visitors with the chance to stroke a ray at the Ray Reef, watch the seals play in their new pool and come face-to-face with large sharks and lionfish.

Take a journey through the Amazon Jungle to the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea before venturing to the North Sea, all the while discovering amazing fish and sea animals at this enchanting aquarium. The aquarium is open from 10am-6pm from April through to September. From October through to March the opening times are slightly shorter, namely 11am till 5pm.


Right up on the Dutch island of Texel, you’ll find Ecomare. At this particular aquarium, you can see seals, porpoises, as well as other marine animals, and learn about Wadden Sea World Heritage, the North Sea and nature on Texel. There are also daily activities and excursions to make your visit extra exciting.

Visit the Ecomare sea aquarium to admire dozens of fish species, starfish and shellfish in the open aquaria. Each aquarium recreates a specific habitat and when the fish are fed, at 2.30pm, the animal caretaker will be able to tell you all about them. You can also witness the seals and porpoises being fed.

Ecomare is open every day from 9.30am-5pm, but do note that the entry counter closes at 4.30pm.

SEA LIFE Scheveningen

As the name suggests, SEA LIFE Scheveningen is located in Scheveningen, on the boulevard near the pier. The aquarium is host to a whole range of fish and other marine life. When there, you will be spoilt for choice. Should you see the coral reef or the rock pools? Visit the sharks, turtles or rays? Why not see and visit them all! At the rock pool display, you can even touch one of the crabs or sea anemones.

There are also plenty of other animals to see, such as seahorses, jellyfish and rays. Be sure to visit one of the feeds of the animals too, scheduled throughout the day. Each feed is accompanied by a family-friendly and fact-filled talk. 

The opening times at SEA LIFE Scheveningen differ depending on the time of year (the aquarium is open for longer in the summer). Throughout the winter, you can visit SEA LIFE Scheveningen from 10am-5pm, with last entry at 4pm. 



While it's not exactly an aquarium, it's definitely a great place to see marine life. The Dolfinarium in Hardewijk offers you a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with their dolphins, sea lions and other aquatic animals. If you are a fan of sea lions or dolphins, it is also possible to have your photo taken with one during an interactive session. How cool is that?!

There are also many other arrangements that you can book, such as having breakfast next to the dolphins and walruses, or, for children aged 8 to 12, having an overnight adventure and staying with the dolphins. Throughout the day, different animal shows are held, which are included in the ticket price.

If you just want to relax for a moment, the park also offers a garden area, where you can sunbathe, and a terrace, along with a water attraction park with dozens of water slides. Don’t forget to bring your sun cream and swimsuit if this sounds like your kind of thing!

Sadly, the Dolfinarium is temporarily closed in winter, but is open daily from 10am-5pm from April 1 through to October 29. 

Diergaarde Blijdorp

Diergaarde Blijdorp, otherwise known as Rotterdam Zoo, has a fantastic zoo, but what you may not know is that it is also home to a spectacular aquarium. The Oceanium, as it is called, takes you on a magical voyage to the bottom of the sea and along the coastal region. As you walk through the Oceanium, it will feel as though you are walking through the ocean, as you are completely covered and the walls are made of glass, allowing you to see the marine life at home in imitated natural landscapes.

The view truly is breathtaking and amongst other marine animals, you will be able to see sharks, jellyfish, sea lions and king penguins. If you fancy seeing some piranhas, venture to the Amazonica enclosure, which is Europe’s largest butterfly paradise. Full of butterflies, it will feel like you’ve been transported to the Amazon. Of course, you will be able to spot more than just butterflies.

The zoo in Rotterdam is open from 9am-5pm in the winter, and 9am-6pm in the summer months, with various feedings taking place daily throughout the afternoon.

Your next day trip

As you can see, there are plenty of establishments where you can get a glimpse into the mysterious underwater world that exists alongside us. So, now you know about some of the aquariums in the Netherlands, which one will you be visiting on your next day trip? 

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

Read more



Leave a comment

Balog Gergely 09:56 | 25 April 2019

You forgot Burger Zoo's aquarium in Arnhem, the largest coral reef of entire Europe. It runs circles around SEA LIFE in every which way. (I have not visited the others, but your article inspired me to visit Bergen aan Zee this weekend)