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Rembrandthuis kids audiotour.
Image from Koen Smilde

Culture for kids: the best family museums in Amsterdam

Planning a cultural family getaway can be challenging as you navigate the many exhibitions that can tire your kids out. But don't worry: this guide highlights Amsterdam’s best museums that make children part of the equation. Read on to find out where your family can soak in some culture with minimum stress and maximum fun.


Rijksmuseum exterior at night
Image from John Lewis Marshall

The Rijksmuseum can seem daunting for adults and children alike, but you will be surprised by how art can come alive through the many kids-friendly activities available at the museum. The Best of the Rijksmuseum guided tour is filled with interactive and sensory assignments such as solving riddles, drawing and clay modelling. Best of all, admission is free for ages 18 and under.

Adventurous families may follow the Family Quest, an add-on geared towards ages 7 and up, which costs € 2,50 per person. Every family member must work together as a team to unravel eight special Rijksmuseum secrets and discover a special surprise.

Alternatively, the SnapGuide tour is instructed by popular Dutch YouTubers and artists such as NikkieTutorials and Ronnie Flex and is available in both English and Dutch. All you will need to follow the tour is a smartphone and earphones. During this one-hour route, you will learn about Dutch art, history and the guide’s favourite art pieces.

Weekend visitors can drop into the Picknick space between 11:00 and 16:00 for a free Rembrandt drawing lesson or paint demonstration. Additionally, you will find a selection of museum routes geared towards the little ones in the Rijksmuseum app.


NEMO; Roof
Image from DigiDaan

NEMO Science Museum is an absolute paradise for kids, particularly educational, thanks to the interactive displays and engaging activities demonstrating science's inner workings. Aside from the main exhibition, which is not to be missed, the interactive Energetica garden with playable water features on the NEMO terrace is free, and it’s a great introduction to how we can harness energy from the wind, water, and sun.

In the museum, attend the chemistry laboratory, where guests from 6 and up can become scientists or venture into the Marker Space, where you can build prototypes and explore how different materials produce different results. During school holidays, keep an eye out for special workshops that vary from building machines to making an electrical circuit and much more.


STRAAT graffiti street art Museum
Image from Mirte Vreemann

The STRAAT museum in NDSM shows off works from graffiti and street artists from all over the world. With free entry for kids under 13, STRAAT offers a free and fun treasure hunt suitable for children from 6 to 12 years old. Kids can explore the museum at their own pace as they view the artworks and learn about the world of modern street art.

Wereldmuseum Amsterdam

Group of children in a circle during the exhibition Sabi Suriname in the Tropenmuseum during 24H Oost 2019
Image from Koen Smilde

Venture into the Wereldmuseum's party shop, where children can familiarise themselves with celebrations from all around the world. The location hosts festivities from different cultures with music, special dances, creative activities and party outfits. It’s the perfect addition to the main exposition of the Wereldmuseum, which showcases various parts of the world and its people.

EYE Filmmuseum

Kids in the cinema during Cinekid Festival / This picture can only be used for content about Cinekid and Cinekid Festival
Image from Cinekid

The EYE Film museum is an absolute treasure trove when it comes to engaging activities that introduce the world of cinema to children. Starting with the Cinemini, Eye’s film theatre, geared towards children from 2 to 6 who are experiencing their first cinema visit. On Sunday mornings, the theatre opens especially for preschoolers and their families. During this experience, the children watch a film and experiment with light and shadow in play tents afterwards.

Explore the rest of the museum through the Eye walk, an engaging video tour for children from 7 to 12. The Puzzle Tour uses special black viewing devices, with which you can play and discover how motion works in films and optical illusions.

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without noting the many children’s films playing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as during the school holidays.

JHM Children’s Museum

Image from Marijn Scheeres, Joods Cultureel Kwartier

Don’t miss this museum during your exploration of the Jewish Cultural Quarter. The Children’s museum introduces kids to what it means to be Jewish through a tour of a Jewish family home. As the kids journey through the house, they will learn different elements of Jewish culture, including food customs, and even bake their own little hallah bread rolls.

Van Gogh Museum

Kids painting workshop in the Van Gogh Museum.
Image from Maaike Koning

To make your visit more interactive, the museum has created the Van Gogh Treasure Hunt, suited for children ages 6 to 12. It focuses on interesting facts about Vincent’s art and life and starts at the main information desk. There is also an interactive game of finding the rabbits hiding in Vincent’s work for younger visitors aged 4 to 6.

If you plan to visit on a Saturday, don’t miss the series of children’s workshops where kids aged 6 to 12 get involved with painting. The workshop has to be booked in advance and is also available in English on prior booking. The theme of the workshops is constantly changing, but it is always an excellent opportunity for the kids to step into an artist’s shoes, armed with paint, ink and paper, ready to create.


Image from Mike Bink fotografie

Muiderslot Castle will easily delight and occupy any child, but you might be surprised how much the entire family can learn during a visit. A special audio guide for kids will take you along the Tower Route and introduce them to life during medieval times, explain how castle defences worked, what happened if the castle was threatened with an attack, and more. With a duration of just 20 minutes, it will easily keep the kids’ attention. If you’re ready for more fun, don’t miss the children’s quest, which includes both the castle and the gardens with lots of fun assignments geared for kids from 6 to 11 and costs €2,- per child.

Aside from the tours and quests, the Muiderslot Castle often hosts extra activities and events, including crafts, dance, storytelling, and theatre performances. Aim for the weekend or check the agenda during the school holidays to get the most out of your visit.

ARTIS Zoo and Micropia

There is always plenty of family-friendly activity in the ARTIS Zoo! Check the agenda before your visit to avoid missing the fascinating zookeeper events, such as the training and feeding sea lions and Asian elephants, entering the Lemur Land enclosure where you can wander among the animals, and more.

The ARTIS-Micropia museum is the perfect introduction to the world of microbes and organisms invisible to the naked eye. The museum is highly interactive, with bonus activities such as a microbe collection. Also, a lab technician is ready to answer questions during the lab talk, so all of those pressing whys and hows will be addressed.

Museum Tramway

Discover the history behind Amsterdam’s trams and get to know the city through a ride on a restored tram that lets you and the kids experience the way of the past. The trams run from the Haarlemmermeer Station every Sunday from April to October. Get to know the city in a sensory way, surrounded by the smell of varnished teakwood seats, the sounds of the tram and the unique Amsterdam route. Tickets can be purchased from the conductor on the tram, just like in the old days.

The National Maritime Museum

Uitmarkt zondag 2018 Scheepvaartmuseum
Image from Bas Uterwijk

Aside from its monumental permanent collection, the National Maritime Museum engages children through special exhibitions such as The Story of the Whale, suitable for children from 5 and up. It examines the practice of hunting whales and the impact on them, and the consequences of human activity on marine life.

Another exhibit, Diver Doris, is well suited for the smallest visitors from 2 to 4 years old. This interactive journey will take the family through barrels and boats, the sounds of a singing seaweed forest. The little ones can build blocks and explore in search of a lamp that must return to the lighthouse.

Of course, we can’t forget the full-sized replica of a real VOC ship moored next to the building. Children can learn about life on the ocean and the impact of trade. All while exploring the captain’s cabin, firing a cannon and crawling into the hold. Can they uncover hints that will surely lead the way to some secret treasure?

During school holidays, the museum offers additional guided tours, junior audio tours and colour book activities.

Stedelijk Museum

Stedelijk Museum permanent collection
Image from Gert-Jan van Rooij

Did you know kids under 19 get free entry to the Stedelijk Museum? Consider participating in the WhatsApp Trail treasure hunt to make your visit more memorable. You will receive your clues via your phone and follow the route as you search for the dancing lady, a mysterious bird, and much more. It’s the perfect free family activity, which must be booked in advance.

You can also follow a children’s audio guide, which includes eight works of art and engages the kids in a magical visual search.

Zaans Museum and Verkade Experience

Image from Mike Bink

A day trip to the windmill-heavy area of Zaanse Schans is an excellent way to explore the Old Holland region. The Zaans Museum offers plenty of engaging ways to learn. You can learn about typical Dutch lifestyle objects, view the permanent collection of art from the region, and discover traditional Dutch crafts such as weaving and making barrels. And, of course, get to know everything about chocolate at the Verkade Experience as you step into a chocolate and biscuit factory of the early 20th century.

A unique Verkade Treasure Hunt is a bonus at a €1 surcharge. It includes various interactive activities at the chocolate machines, and two treasure hunts are available: one for children ages 6 to 8 and one for kids from 8 to 12. Some fun things you can do include testing your skills at the assembly line, creating custom Verkade chocolate bar wrappers, and much more.

Kid-friendly theatre in Amsterdam

Theater De Krakeling children's theatre performance on stage
Image from Jan de Ridder

If you are looking for kid-friendly English-speaking performances, don’t miss Theater de Krakeling’s Language no problem shows. De Krakeling’s performances combine visual theatre, dance and music into an engaging show. Another theatre you should attend is the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre, which celebrates the art of puppetry. They have a list of rotating performances such as Faust, The Wide World, The Castle in the Air, The Magic Flute and The Impresario, often inspired or accompanied by classical music. With supplemental materials such as colouring pages related to the performances and the story of their plays, it’s easy to pick out a performance that will suit your child’s interest.