Often voted one of the most welcoming destinations in Europe for children, Holland’s cities, beaches and idyllic villages are a haven for fun-filled family vacations. With an abundance of child-friendly attractions, shops and restaurants, Holland delights little eyes at every turn and offers more than enough ways to keep babies, young children (and their parents) entertained.
- Find the best sights, attractions and restaurants in Holland for babies and young children.
- Venture out to beaches and historic villages for a memorable family vacation.
- Introduce children to the nature and wildlife of this unique corner of Europe.
Child-friendly attractions and museums in Holland
Welcome to Holland, where locals cycle around with child-filled bicycles, an abundance of open spaces create a natural playground and children are statistically among the happiest in the world. Holland’s cities, villages and rural escapes are extremely welcoming to children of all ages, and cater well to little ones with a range of activities to stimulate all the senses.
Zoologists-to-be will be fascinated by the exotic animals, deep-sea creatures and petting zoos at top rated attractions like Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo, Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp and GaiaZOO Zuid-Limburg. Ecomare nature reserve in Texel involves children in conservation efforts. While for even more chances to meet the animals, a surprising number of free kinderboerderijen (petting zoos) can be found across Holland’s major cities, inviting tiny hands to pet a range of farmyard animals, including rabbits, goats, chickens and pigs.
An impressive variety of museums in Holland will appeal to children’s imaginations. Amsterdam’s NEMO Science Museum offers age-appropriate exhibits and activities, Miffy Museum in Utrecht invites children into the world of the iconic Dutch picture book character and Madurodam in The Hague presents Holland’s best loved attractions on a miniature scale.
Dining out with children
Wherever your adventure takes you, child-friendly cafés and restaurants are never hard to find. Parents can balance good food and grown-up social time with playtime for their little ones. Many restaurants offer a kid’s menu, and Dutch delicacies like pancakes, frites, cheese and stroopwafels appeal to the fussiest food critics. In Amsterdam, a host of stylish cafes like miniChiChi, Blender and Wijs West offer play areas, regular events like toddler dance sessions and story time reading, and even baby hair salons.
Transport and practical information
In general, Holland is an easy place to be with a baby. Supplies like diapers, food and toiletries are readily available at all supermarkets, while the cities are easy to navigate by public transport. Both trams and buses are easily accessible for strollers, however, it makes sense to plan ahead and avoid travelling at busy times. More adventurous visitors could do as the Dutch do and rent a bakfiets – a transport bike with a wheelbarrow-style bucket in front, often used for transporting young children around. Most of the larger bike rental companies will offer this style of bike, though it’s advisable to book ahead.
Explore the Dutch coast with children
Nature-lovers and beach-goers enjoy Holland’s unspoiled coastlines all year around. The clean, well-maintained beach towns of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal are perfect for visiting with small children, as the seaside holiday parks and campsites offer comfortable family accommodation and facilities. Exquisite beaches found in Zeeland and Texel – home to Ecomare nature reserve, which gets kids involved in conservation efforts – also make for excellent vacations by the sea.
Editor’s tip: For an action-packed day out, opt for a countryside bike tour, during which you and your little ones can explore traditional Dutch villages, windmills and waterways. Many excursion companies offer family-friendly packages with a bakfiets or baby seats available.