Best Amsterdam Museums for Kids
Some kids might consider the phrase “kid-friendly museums” an oxymoron, but most museums these days have special programs specifically to engage children. On our recent visit to the Netherlands, we visited several Amsterdam museums with our 11 and eight year-old daughters.
With a little advance preparation, we were able to manage everyone’s expectations and ensure a fulfilling and (dare I say) fun day for both adults and kids. Here are four Amsterdam museums for kids that we think are worth a visit:
I was really excited to visit the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands’ national museum, which had been closed for 10 years for an extensive renovation. My 8 year-old, on the other hand, did not share my enthusiasm and immediately decided that it was going to be a “boring” experience. Boy was she wrong!
For a mere five Euros, we rented the Family Game audio tour, which led us on a scavenger hunt throughout the best parts of the entire museum. It was interactive and required us to solve a puzzle for which we received a small prize when we delivered the correct answer at the gift shop. She’ll remember the fun we had running all over the museum, and I’ll remember the amazing Dutch art we saw.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House offers a tour of the house in which the Frank family and five others hid for almost two years during World War II. It is a harrowing yet important tour, and one which I felt strongly that our daughters should see while in Amsterdam.
My 11 year-old had studied WWII and was familiar with the subject matter; my eight year-old had not. To help prepare her for the experience and provide her with some background information, we read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry before our trip. I would recommend the book as a means of explaining Anne Frank’s experience to younger children prior to visiting the museum. As for the tour itself, be advised that there are a lot of steep stairs, and the rooms are small.
In addition, queues for the Anne Frank house can be extremely long. If possible, I would recommend purchasing tickets online in advance, but be aware that the system will require you to choose a date and time for your visit. If online tickets are unavailable, you’ll have to wait in line for tickets. (We tried unsuccessfully to buy tickets online three weeks in advance.) I recommend waiting towards the end of the day when the line is shorter, which is the same advice I received from several locals.
Van Gogh Museum
Both of our girls have been fortunate enough to have studied some of the great masters, so they were excited to see a whole museum of Van Gogh’s work. It’s a big, airy museum, and when we visited, it was not too crowded.
The Van Gogh museum offers a free treasure hunt for children between six and 12 years of age. Those completing the answers correctly are given a small prize. Tickets can be purchased online in advance (you are required to select a date and time) and at the ticket counter. Best of all, children under the age of 18 are admitted free!
NEMO Science Center
We were not able to fit the NEMO Science Center into our itinerary, but any kid who loves science and technology will beg you to go! All of the exhibits have hands-on activities and there is even an entire exhibit dedicated to teens! It’s close to Amsterdam’s Centraal Station so it’s convenient to mass transit, and its sleek modern architecture makes it easy to find. Children under age four are free, and tickets can be purchased online in advance.
Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is located just 20 minutes from Amsterdam’s main Centraal Station from which each of these museums are a short walk or tram ride away. Each one of these Amsterdam museums for kids offers an incredibly unique learning experience. We look forward to visiting them again when our children are a few years older and seeing how their experiences change with more worldly perspectives.
You may also enjoy:
- Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – A Great Choice Among Amsterdam Hotels
- Tips for Visiting Art Museums with Kids
- Tips to Avoid Standing in Line
- Tips for Navigating Public Transportation with Kids
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Erin is a native Floridian who has resided in Atlanta since 1995. Her husband Mike and she have two funny, smart, active girls and two cats.