5 aquariums in the Netherlands you need to see

5 aquariums in the Netherlands you need to see

With the summer heating up in the Netherlands and the holidays coming up, it’s pretty much the perfect time to go on a day trip. And whilst you could visit another Dutch city or take to a museum or zoo, 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 9km 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 fishes.

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 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 until 6pm from April through to September. From October through to March the opening times are slightly shorter, namely 11am till 5pm.

To visit, you will need to buy a ticket, adults can expect to pay 13,95 euros and children from 3 to 12 years old only 9,95 euros. Children under 3 years old go free.


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.

Entrance to this aquarium costs 13 euros for adults and 9 euros for children aged 4 to 13. Children under 4 years old go free. If you buy your ticket online, you will receive a 5 percent discount. Yippee! Ecomare is open every day from 9.30am until 5pm, 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. Up until January 6, 2019, you can visit the Jurassic Seas display, which features the axolotl and other marine life, such as the horseshoe crab, which has ten eyes spread over its body.

SEA LIFE Scheveningen is open from 10am until 7pm from April to June and from 10am until 8pm in July and August. In other months of the year, the opening times change. Please refer to the SEA LIFE website for more information. To gain entrance, you will need a ticket. Prices vary, especially for exclusive online offers, but a standard entry ticket will cost you 14,75 euros. Children under 3 years of age get in free of charge.



Not exactly an aquarium, but 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 8-12, 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!

The Dolfinarium is open from 10am until 5pm, and 6pm in July and August. Tickets are 28,50 euros for adults if you buy them at the gates, but if you buy them online you could receive around 10 euros discount.

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 breath-taking 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 is open from 9am until 6pm and tickets cost 23 euros for adults and 21,50 euros if you buy them online. Children under the age of 3 get free entrance.

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...

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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)