fun things to do with kids in the netherlands  - family travel   Travel for Kids

The Netherlands

Dutch windmill

"Holland" (North and South), is just two provinces in the Netherlands, but is famous for its cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, and the artists Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. The pastoral landscape doesn't come easy – a big chunk of the Netherlands is land reclaimed from the sea. Kids will enjoy exploring the canals, windmills, and dikes throughout the Netherlands.

  North Holland
    South Holland
The Hague (Den Haag)
    Noord Brabant
Tip: Ride the trains around the the Netherlands. Trains run frequently and there are "railrunner" fares for children ages 4-11 (children under 4 travel free). With one accompanying adult ticket, children can ride round trip anywhere in one day for a few euros. To see the train schedules, check out the Netherlands Railway – essential for planning your train trips.
family hotels amsterdam

Travel for Kids has lots of fun things to do with kids in the Netherlands, but you'll need a fun place to stay. Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels and apartment rentals in Amsterdam:

Amsterdam family hotels
Amsterdam family apartment rentals
kids books the netherlands
The Boy Who Held Back the Sea childrens books netherlands  
The Boy Who Held Back the Sea
Thomas Locker, Lenny Hort

Naughty young Jan plays hooky for the day, but discovers a small leak in the dike. While the rest of the town sleeps, Jan spends the night with his hand in the dike to prevent a flood. Luminous illustrations, like old Dutch master paintings. (Picture book)


Hans Brinker
Bruce Coville, Laurel Long

Super retelling of the classic winter adventure, set in the 19th century, Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel race for the grand prize on ice – the silver skates. (Picture book)

For the complete version of the story, including a dramatic skating trip on the frozen canals: Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates


netherlands kids Hans Brinker
Katje, the Windmill Cat netherlands childrens books  
Katje, the Windmill Cat
Gretchen Woelfle, Nicola Bayley

When a dike breaks, Katja the cat saves a baby, tossed about in her cradle in the swirling flood. Illustrations so real and warm, you can almost hear the wind pushing the great arms of the windmill. Based on a true story, the Kinderdijk is named to celebrate the baby that survived the flood in 1421. (Picture book)


Ceciel de Bie, Martijn Leenen

Wonderful exploration of Rembrandt's luminous paintings with fascinating details, and including his monumental works such as The Night Watch, and all Rembrandt's self-portraits, from a young person to an old man. (Picture book)


Rembrandt artist dutch kids netherlands
Vincent's Colors kids art netherlands  
Vincent's Colors
Vincent van Gogh, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Vincent van Gogh's own words, paired with his paintings, are a magical combination. Poetic phrases focus on colors in each picture – butter yellow chairs, a pink sky, the lady's clothes are black, black, black – and make the paintings really come alive. A fabulous book for all ages, kids and adults alike. (Picture book)


Johannes Vermeer
Mike Venezia

Mini bio of Johannes Vermeer – his paintings are famous, but the man himself is a bit of a mystery. He was a busy guy – Vermeer painted, he also managed an inn and had 15 children. (Picture book)

And for a look at his luminous paintings: Vermeer's Secret World


biography kids netherlands artist Johannes Vermeer
The Greatest Skating Race kids world war ii netherlands  
The Greatest Skating Race
Louise Borden, Niki Daly

It's 1941, the Germans control of the Netherlands, and the canals are frozen. Ten year old Piet dreams of skating in the great Dutch race, the Elfstedentocht, but he has a bigger challenge, guiding a Dutch girl and boy to Brugge, across the Belgian border. An exciting story, with wonderful local color. (Picture book)


Boxes for Katje
Candace Fleming, Stacey Dressen-McQueen

After World War II, "Sugar is not found in Holland these days, so anything sweet is precious." Based on true events, in a tiny Dutch town, Katje receives a box from America with soap, socks and chocolate. Soon, more boxes arrive with food and warm clothes for the townspeople. In spring, the town sends a surprise to America – tulips. An endearing story, with heart-warming illustrations. (Chapter book)


netherlands kids world war ii Boxes for Katje
The Wheel on the School netherlands childrens books  
The Wheel on the School
Meindert DeJong, Maurice Sendak

In a small town in North Holland, storks that bring good luck no longer roost on the rooftops. A determined little girl and her five classmates involve the whole town, young and old, in their search for a wheel to put on the schoolhouse roof. A children's classic. (Chapter book)


The Great Tulip Trade
Beth Wagner Brust, Jenny Mattheson

Anna loves tulips, and her father gives her eight tulips for her birthday. The tulips are so precious, she trades seven tulips for a table and bed, a painting, a puppy and cow, two lambs, and six chairs, but she won't trade the last for gold, diamonds or a big house. (Easy reader)


The Great Tulip Trade kids easy reader netherlands
kids netherlands Hammer Soup  
Hammer Soup
Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Neat and tidy Kate, who always weeds her garden, is just the opposite of her messy neighbor, an easy-going giant named Bruce, in this charming story from Dutch author-illustrators Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. Irresistible whimsical illustrations. (Picture book)


(More children's books on other Netherlands pages)
| the netherlands