Holland (The Netherlands) offers everything a family needs to have the best time:
Accommodations that are perfect for families and come in all shapes and sizes, breathtaking views and endless attractions that children and adults can’t get enough of. it is one of our favorite family vacation destinations, and Amsterdam is a fantastic city to visit with kids. We have already been there once and are going back this summer.
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We usually prefer staying in one place, traveling back and forth during our stay which is better for us when we travel with our kids.
We use BOOKING.COM for rentals wherever we go, and when we want to book a holiday park we book directly through the website of the park we like to stay with.
For our first time in Holland, we found accommodations in the center of the country in the Gelderland area. From, there we were between half an hour to an hour drive to the various attraction. The furthest we had to travel was about two hours to the Efteling amusement park.
This summer we are planning to stay longer so we will book accommodation for one week at the center and then we will move to the southern part of the country, but for first-timers, there is plenty to see in the more central parts.
Amsterdam is a great starting point for your trip, It is one of the best European cities to tour with kids, there is plenty to see and do and you can create a diverse schedule that is never boring and always interesting.
Here is a list of our favorite sites to visit in Amsterdam with kids:
The Nemo Museum – One of the most interesting attractions for children and adults is the Nemo Museum, Located in a green boat-shaped building, with its 4 floors of interactive installations about science, nature, and technology, it offers scientific activities intended for children and teenagers. My own kids love these types of museums where they can touch and experience and learn, we have been to a few of those around the world and it’s usually a great success. But as always, you know what is right for your family, choose what you think you will enjoy.
The Artis zoo – located in the center of Amsterdam, the Artis zoo is considered to be the oldest zoo in the world, it was established in 1838 and inhabits about 750 species of animals, it is a great place to visit with kids especially if they are animal lovers.
The Artis is more than just a zoo – you can also find about 300 species of trees and many gardens that are lovely during summer time and spring. Also, in the Artis you can find the biggest Planetarium in Holland. I have to say – the Planetarium is our favorite part, and what also made it special for us was located right next to it:
The Micropia museum that is next to the zoo – and deals with “the invisible world of micro-organisms”, we all have been to a zoo at some point, but this section made the visit extra special and interesting for my private kiddies.
The Anne Frank House – The Anne Frank House is where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding for more than two years during the Nazi occupation of Holland. The rooms, now empty, still maintain a unique atmosphere of the hiding period. You can also see some of the personal items left behind by Ann and her family and of course the original famous diary of Ann. The museum also features a meaningful exhibition about the persecution of the Jews and discrimination. It is a powerful experience if your kids are at the right age and you feel it something you want to give them. Please note that if you do want to visit there, you must buy tickets online ahead of time (you can buy directly from the museum website).
Ripley’s believe it or not – this is a matter of taste I have to say? not my personal favorite, but children tend to go wild for this place, but it is a light-hearted fun way to spend a few hours, especially if the weather does not allow for an outdoor kind of experience.
Madam Tussauds – much like the other ones you can find in London or New York, it presents wax figures of well-known characters,
if you visited one in either London or NYC, you can give it a pass, but if your kids (like ours) never visited one – this is a fun thing for them to see.
TunFun – If you have young children with you who are in need of a place to run around freely and spend some energy, you can visit the TunFun indoors playground which is great for rainy days with trampolines, football (soccer) court, slides etc. appropriate for kids up to 12 ( perfect for the ages of 4 to 9 in my opinion).
We like to mix indoor activities and outdoor ones dividing our time in a way that keeps our schedule diverse and fun, but always mindful of the ever-changing weather.
Amsterdam is filled with beautiful parks, where you can take advantage of sunny days and enjoy the beautiful scenery, One of the beautiful parks the city offers and one that have lots to see and in is Westerpark.
Westerpark was built and created in what used to be a coal-fired gas power plant that was closed at the 1960s. For years the property and its surrounding area were deserted and neglected. In the 1990s the city of Amsterdam took it on and decided to clean the pollution and make a lovely park on its grounds.
In the park you can find something for everyone – a lot of green and nature areas, cycling paths, water fountains for the kids to splash around in, picnic and BBQ areas and lots of cafés and restaurants that are located in the buildings that used to be part of the power plants.
The Westerpark neighborhood that surrounds the park is vibrant and filled with things to see and do, you can spend a whole day exploring the area and enjoying every minute.
Boat rides – One of the best outdoors experiences to have in Amsterdam is taking a boat ride through the canals of this beautiful city. There are a few different types of cruises you can choose from.
You can take a standard boat tour, that goes through the canals or you can buy a
hop on hop off tour.
You can have a night cruise that includes dinner and gives you a different look of the city (it runs a little late so take into consideration your children sleeping hours).
Or you can go the more active way and go for either a “water bike” experience – where you rent a pedal boat and experience it on your own – there also canoes you can rent or larger self-drive motor boats. Choose what is right for you and your family, but you are guaranteed beautiful scenery and a nice time.
Fun forest – Another lovely outdoorsy attraction for adults and kids (who don’t have a problem with heights) is the Fun forest, a magical place in the forest where children can run around in beautiful nature, climb trees, zip line, walk across rope bridges etc.
There is so much more to see and do in this lovely city, depending on the number of days you plan on staying, but these are our personal favorites.
The next post will be about the different options of accommodation in Amsterdam and the Holland in general, so check it out.
Do you have any questions? any recommendations? would love to hear from you!
If you are planning a family vacation you may want to read our “How to plan a family trip” post.
Our next post will list our recommendations for family accommodation in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas – look for that.