Visitors enjoying ride at Walibi
© Walibi Holland

Amusement parks in the Netherlands

Nowhere in the world do people visit amusement parks as often as in the Netherlands. After all, it is the country with the most amusement parks per m2 worldwide. It’s not just the Dutch who love their parks, plenty of tourists from abroad also visit the Netherlands to spend a day or two at these popular attractions. People love to visit because of the quality of the parks, the good accommodation, and the relatively low prices. Find out why amusement parks are so popular in the Netherlands and which parks should definitely make your list!

Land of amusement parks

The Netherlands is home to no fewer than 43 amusement parks, 16 of which receive more than one million visitors a year. Amusement parks are part of Dutch culture. The beloved Efteling theme park has been proclaimed the best amusement park in the world by various international organizations. The oldest, still operating rollercoaster in the world is located in the Waarbeek in the city of Hengelo, and one of the leading rollercoaster enterprises in the world, Vekoma, is a Dutch company.
Lange Jan in de Efteling

Kids playing in Playa Tikibad, Duinrell
If you’re wondering why the Dutch are so fond of amusement parks, the answer might very well be the extensive urbanization of the country as well as its Calvinistic mentality. Most residents live in densely populated cities and lead hectic, stressful lives. An amusement park offers a respite from the urban hustle and bustle, and the often-spacious park grounds offer a full day of outdoor fun. In a country where a lot of people feel pressured to work hard with little rest, a fun recreational day out is sometimes sorely needed.

A brief history

The history of amusement parks in the Netherlands begins in 1935, the year that a local priest and a chaplain opened the Efteling. At that time, the park merely consisted of a walking trail, a rowing lake and a tearoom. In 1952, the famous fairytale forest, designed by Dutch painter and graphic designer Anton Pieck, was opened and more attractions were gradually added.

In 1979, Ponypark Slagharen was the first theme park to open a rollercoaster, which even included an inversion. Shortly thereafter, the Efteling followed suit with the Python rollercoaster. Today, there are all kinds of amusement parks for every age category. Plopsaland, Plaswijckpark and Julianatoren are perfect for small children. Older children and adults will enjoy the many thrill rides in Walibi Holland or the Tiki Pool in Duinrell.

Aerial view of Julianatoren park

The Efteling

There is no doubt that the Efteling takes the no. 1 spot! This beautiful, spacious park with all of its greenery is part of Dutch cultural history. However, the park doesn’t just rely on its past glory; it invests in the maintenance of old attractions and continues to build new ones. The ride Symbolica, which was introduced in 2017, takes visitors on a breathtaking journey through a fairytale palace, where they are also invited to create their own story. The aim is to spark the imagination, which is ultimately what the Efteling is all about - an immersion in a fairytale world where everyone can experience their own story.
Rollercoaster De Baron, Efteling

Duinrell

Visitors at Rick's Avonturen Burcht, Duinrell

Duinrell is located in Wassenaar, near the city of The Hague. This green park is somewhat smaller, but that makes it easier to navigate. This park offers visitors a bit of everything: rollercoasters and a splash coaster for thrill seekers, playgrounds and carousels for the little ones, and of course the unmatched Tiki Pool, an adventure pool with plenty of slides. The pool alone is worth a day’s visit!

Slagharen Amusement Park

Many people remember this Wild West-inspired theme park as Ponypark Slagharen, however the ponies have long since made way for rollercoasters, a pirate ship and a Mexican-themed pool. One of the best things about the Slagharen Amusement Park is that you can stay overnight! There are several types of accommodation to choose from, all in cowboy style. Yee haw!
Woman in Slagharen attraction

Toverland

People in attraction at Toverland
Toverland was opened more recently and is located in the town of Sevenum in the south of the Netherlands. It is divided into different worlds, each with its own theme. Step into the medieval Celtic world of Avalon or experience ancient Greece in Ithaka, imaginatively inspired by the Iliad. Toverland is chock-full of exciting attractions, with a special focus on ambiance and setting. The park is suitable for all ages!

Drievliet

If you are seeking an amusement park for the entire family, be sure to visit Drievliet in the city of The Hague. The park, which was founded in 1938, is filled with all sorts of cool rollercoasters, family attractions and magic shows, allowing you to make your visit as exciting or adventurous as you like!

To this end, Drievliet has arranged its park into four categories: familiy, children, shows and 'thrills', a set of attractions aimed at the real thrillseekers.

Walibi Holland

Thrill-seekers look no further: Walibi is the place to be! This is home to the highest and fastest rollercoasters that will give you a serious adrenaline rush. The Goliath is the fastest, highest and longest rollercoaster in Europe! But there is more to Walibi than just rollercoasters: there are various water rides, smaller rollercoasters and bumper cars for the smaller children. Moreover, you can spend the night at Walibi.

Family in attraction at Walibi Holland

Our tips How to get the most out of your visit?

  1. The biggest drawback to visiting an amusement park is standing in line for attractions. But plan wisely and you may very well be able to avoid this problem. Amusement parks are busiest during the weekends and school holidays, so it’s a good idea to visit during the week if possible. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days (Friday is already a bit busy), so take a day off from work on a day that the kids have a free day from school.

  2. Plan your visit for a less sunny day. Just like the beach, amusement parks are busiest when the weather is good. But you will enjoy the amusement park just as much on a cooler, gray day - and you'll probably spend less time waiting in line.

  3. It is always smart to bring your own food and beverages. Food in amusement parks is notoriously expensive, so be sure to pack your sandwiches!

  4. Last but not least, the most important thing is that you and your family or friends enjoy a wonderful day out together. Have fun!