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Family picking fruit at Fruittuin van West
Image from Amie Galbraith

Family guide to Easter in the Amsterdam Area

There’s nothing like Easter in Amsterdam, when the first rays of sunshine, the abundance of flowers and baby animals lift everyone's spirits. For many families, it is a time to re-emerge, make the most of terraces and playgrounds and get back out on bikes in fewer layers - a joy we celebrate yearly. So whether you’re looking for bikes, brunches or the Easter Bunny, why not check out these tips for Easter Weekend?

Experience Easter among the flowers

Keukenhof Windmill and Tulips
Image from Laurens Lindhout

It’s hard to talk about this time of year without starting at the Keukenhof Gardens. Head to the picturesque village of Lisse, where you’ll be rewarded with the magnificence of the self-proclaimed “world’s most beautiful spring garden”.  And it’s hard to disagree with that label. Children can meet goats and sheep at the petting zoo, whilst the Miffy playground and hedge maze are excellent opportunities for little ones to burn off steam. An informative scavenger hunt will lead families to the most beautiful spots dotted around the park.

Head out on a sightseeing adventure

Mills at Zaanse Schans, Zaanstad.
Image from Paolo Gallo

Zaanse Schans is a beautiful residential area that has been kept in the style of the 18th and 19th centuries. Here you’ll find a bakery museum, a warehouse where clogs are made, a cheese factory, a pewter foundry and an array of windmills, wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops.  It’s wonderful in spring with lambs skipping in the fields of the Kalverpolder and the windmills turning in the spring breeze.    

Pick your own bouquet

Pink tulips at the flower market.
Image from Daniel Spilka

For something deliciously low-key, head to one of our favourite hidden gems - the Zomerbloemenpluktuin just outside the city, along the Amstel River. This is a delightful little picking garden and the perfect place to bring your Easter chicks for some fun. On Easter weekend, children can search for eggs, paint vases and pick tulips and daffodils to arrange in them. Best of all, they are encouraged to pull the bulbs up with the tulips ready for you to grow your own the following year. There’s also the chance to bake bread over a fire before filling it with a hotdog and popcorn-popping, pony rides, a bouncy castle, a slide and climbing tower and a complete Easter brunch on Easter Monday.

Feast at the Easter brunch buffet

The terrace and the fruit shed of Landgoed de Olmenhorst in Lisserbroek
Image from Koen Smilde

Enjoy a wonderful Easter Sunday before at the Olmenhorst orchard amongst the pink apple and pear blossoms. It looks like this year’s Easter Sunday and Monday activities (egg hunting and candle making) are set to impress again. On both days, the generous and extremely reasonable Easter brunch buffet includes mountains of freshly baked loaves, organic jams and cheeses, salads, fish, meat and piles of desserts and pancakes. Book early to ensure you don’t miss out.

Plan an orchard picnic

Family and kids picking fruit at Fruittuin van West
Image from Amie Galbraith

Another picking farm within easy reach of Amsterdam is Fruittuin van West. Open on Easter Monday from 10:30 to 18:00 the orchard is offering a full organic picnic (and a promise to close the roof on the inner garden if it rains!)  More details of activities are on their website. This is another event that’s best to book in advance.

Bike to the beach

Family cycling through the dunes of Heemskerk Beach
Image from Heemskerk - Zee van tijd

If the weather is bright and you’re looking for some fresh air, there’s simply nothing better than a good bike ride. Instead of hanging around town, why not make a day of it and head off to the beach at Zandvoort and IJmuiden. ‘Behind the Beach’ rents out tandems, mountain bikes, picnic bikes, electric bikes and even “Aunt Paula” electric scooters and beach wagons. Take a picnic and spend a leisurely day on the paved cycle paths in the wind-sheltered dunes with a chance to spot rabbits, deer and cows, or make your way along the boulevard and stop off at one of the many fabulous cafés and pavilions. 

Spend the day with animals

Stadsboerderij Osdorp garden with kids
Image from Stadsboerderij Osdorp

Spring is when chicks and lambs are welcomed to all of Amsterdam’s many city farms. If your little ones are animal lovers, why not head to the sweet farm in Westerpark, the wonderful Stadsboederij in Osdorp, the hidden Kinderboederij in the Pijp or Kinderboederij Zimmerhoeve with its fantastic playgrounds next door? A little further afield, explore the much-loved Geitenboederij Ridammerhoeve goat farm in the Amsterdamse Bos or leave the city altogether and enjoy the wonders of Elsenhove on the way to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. Many farms host Easter parties on Easter Sunday including egg hunts, egg decorating and opportunities for children to cuddle some newborn lambs.

Visit the zoo

Giraffe eating hay in Artis Zoo.
Image from Arthur de Rooij

Those who enjoy their animals on the larger side should head to the incredible ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo. There you can enjoy an Easter breakfast buffet with a view of the giraffes and zebras, take a walk through the flowers and learn fascinating facts about all the species that lay eggs (including sharks!).

Take little warriors to historic fortresses

Exhibition inside Forteiland Pampus
Image from Tony Perez

At Forteiland Pampus, Easter madness will be in full swing. There will be hundreds of eggs right across the island – hidden chocolate eggs waiting to be discovered, and the best free-range chicken eggs transformed into a wonderful Easter brunch which can be enjoyed on the fabulous terrace or indoors in the cosy pavilion (booking essential!). After brunch, guests can enjoy a tour of the fortress and the thrilling island. Boats leave from Amsterdam IJburg or Muiden. This year, kids can also experience a virtual reality tour of the Defence Line of Amsterdam from the seat of a hot air balloon. 

Be part of the fairytale

Image from Mike Bink fotografie

The magnificent Medieval castle, Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot is getting in on the Easter action too. Holding special “Tulip Tours”, guides will show how special vases were made to hold these previously precious flowers which will be displayed around the castle.  The falconer will return after the winter break, giving hourly flight demonstrations and sharing juicy titbits about falconry in the Middle Ages.  For little ones wanting to get in on the avian action, children can also make their own owl mask. 

Shop your way around a market

Noordermarkt market stalls
Image from Koen Smilde

The Paasmarkt Almerestad on Easter Sunday and Monday is a market filled with clothing, vintage treasures and delicious food. Take a break from all the chocolate and see what they have to offer. 

For lots more family-friendly inspiration and tips on activities, restaurants or hotels, check out our guest blogger's website: