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FAMILY FUN IN HOLLAND
Holland has numerous theme parks, zoos, nature parks and museums that
will guarantee a great time for kids of every size, this is a fun and
interesting place for the whole family.
The best way to see this country is by car because everywhere you want
to visit is within a 3 hour drive, so I would recommend either travelling
there by ferry or hiring a car from the airport. Travelling by car will
give you the opportunity to stop and explore interesting cities full of
beautiful parks, museums and attractions, plus many attractive towns where
you can relax in the square and enjoy coffee and delicious Dutch pastries
whilst listening the magical sound of the town clocks chiming out there
distinctive themes. En-route you will also travel through breathtaking
countryside, often alongside a river or canal.
On this trip we explored the cities of Eindhoven and Arnhem in the southern
and eastern regions of the country:
This is a hidden gem located in the southern heart of Holland. Its wide
diversity of modern art and architecture go hand-in-hand with monumental
buildings and the city has developed itself into a modern town and centre
of fashion, design and technology. Eindhoven is most famous for its association
with Philips, Holland's first multinational, and it’s attractions
include a spectacular indoor karting track and a beautiful park with wonderful
attractions and facilities for families.
Philips Light Bulb Factory
Here you can see how light bulbs where made in the 19th century. This
is where the Philips brothers first produced their now world-famous light
bulbs and visitors can experience the atmosphere of the 19th century during
a tour of the first and oldest Philips factory building located right
in the city centre. Housed in the same building is the Artificial Light
in Art Museum which shows collections of paintings and sculptures related
to the use and effects of artificial light. This fascinating collection
includes over 600 objects including light sculptures, paintings, pastels,
gouaches, antique and modern graphic works (lithos, etchings, silkscreen
prints) and posters.
Brochures and tours are available in English.
Fun and nature combine for all the family in Genneper Parks, an area of
natural beauty with many recreational opportunities and situated close
to the centre of Eindhoven. Cycling and walking routes take you past the
most beautiful spots and hidden amongst the greenery you will find fascinating
attractions for young and old, such as swimming paradise De Tongelreep,
the Historic Open Air Museum, the Ice Sports Centre, the Environment Educational
Centre, and various indoor and outdoor sports facilities including a golf
and miniature golf course.
Historic Open Air Museum
you will discover what life was like in the Iron Age and Middle Ages.
The museum includes a typical prehistoric village from the Iron Age called
“Eversham”, and a small medieval city called “Endehoven”,
where you will see animals rummaging around and people in prehistoric
and mediaeval clothing working in and around their houses. On Sundays
and during school holidays children can obtain a ‘Children-Action-Card’
which enables them to participate in all types of activities such as felting
bracelets, cutting wood, cooking on a log fire, baking bread and even
throwing lances! This is a very family friendly place to spend a day.
There is a loose sheet guide available in English.
Visitors can roam freely around the Genneper Farm and enjoy areas full
of wild flowers, fields full of grain, chickens, cows and pigs. A visit
here introduces you to the atmosphere in the Brabant farming community
and provides a realistic picture of the daily work involved with maintaining
the environment and running an animal- friendly farm and a cheese dairy.
Swimming paradise De Tongelreep
in the heart of the Genneper Park, this is one of the largest swimming
complex’s in Holland. It has a sub-tropical swimming pool with wave
generator, slides and rapids, whirlpools, herb and steam baths, large
outside pools with exciting slides, bridges, terraces and a separate pool
for young children. This is a children’s paradise, there are so
many things to do and the outside lawns are a great place for families
to relax on a hot summers day.
Ice Sports Centre
There is plenty of skating fun to be had for the whole family in this
splendid indoor ice sports centre with a massive 8400sq/mt’s of
ice. The centre houses three individual rinks: an ice hockey rink, a training
rink and a 400-metre rink, and organises countless activities. On Friday
evenings they have a disco dance on ice, and Sunday mornings are dedicated
to family sessions.
The Van Abbemuseum is one of the leading museums of modern and contemporary
art. The exhibition space houses a revolutionary exhibition programme
that highlights all the latest developments in contemporary art, its own
internationally renowned collection, with famous masterpieces from Picasso,
Chagall, Lissitzky, Beuys, and many more. If the sun shines it's just
delightful to be on the museum terrace overlooking the river Dommel, or
on rainy days you can lose yourself among the many exhibitions and treat
yourself to a delicious lunch or high tea in the museum restaurant.
The DAF Museum houses over 120 historic vehicles and automobiles, varying
from a single seat ‘Riding Raincoat’ to the Royal Beach Car,
which has to be seen to be believed. Technology and the romance of times
gone by go hand in hand here, all the family will enjoy this.
Brochures and tours are available in English
OTHER ATTRACTIONS NEAR EINDHOVEN:
Eindhoven is an ideal base from where to visit this amazing wonderland
of fairytales. All the family will enjoy this dazzling theme park with
its fairytale characters, stories, magic and attractions. The imposing
Efteling Theatre is located near the entrance to the park, a building
designed in the lavish style traditional for Efteling and is one of the
five largest theatre facilities in the Netherlands. The new Efteling Fairy
Tale Show is performed three times a day (five times a day in the peak
season), with fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. Besides this, the
theatre stages the most enchanting musicals in the autumn and winter months,
such as Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and the new musical TiTaTovenaar.
(note that despite all the performances being in Dutch they are still
spectacular)The park is divided into realms and in the Fairy Realm visitors
will meet many familiar characters from 24 well-known fairy tales, including
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and the People of Laaf
who live in their very own village called Lavelaar. Villa Volta is an
exceptional place, a haunted villa full of mysteries and secrets. In the
Adventure Realm excitement and sensation are the order of the day - the
largest swinging ship in the world is located here, as is the Python,
a roller-coaster with two loops and a corkscrew twist. In the Alternative
Realm you can enjoy a hair-raising descent on a Swiss toboggan run, go
on an exciting boat trip through the Forbidden City or visit the Haunted
Castle. The Travel Realm boasts a flying temple that goes up 45 meters
from where you have great views of the Efteling complex. Also here is
the Vogel Rok, a roller-coaster ride on the Rok bird that flies through
the dark at thundering speed. This amazing theme park has everything for
children of all ages.
Dippie Doe Family Park (Best)
The indoor play park has soft play areas for younger children and a giant
maze with big slides and climbing walls for the older ones. Outdoors there’s
an adventure trail for the children to explore and a small golf course.
Klompenmuseum de Platijn (Best)
Here you can see how clogs are made and the many different types of clogs
used by Dutch people for working and for going to church and weddings.
There’s also a small workshop where the children can enjoy painting
their own clogs as a souvenir.
Beiaard-en Natuurmuseum (Asten)
In this small rural museum children can learn everything they need to
know about clocks and even get to assemble them. There’s also a
nature museum where children can do searches and learn about nature in
Cheese Farm de Ruurhoeve (Hoogeloon)
All the family will enjoy seeing and hearing about the process of making
cheese, from milking the cows to maturing the finished product.
Parrot Park (Veldhoven)
More than 3500 parrots and cockatoos, many kinds of fish, reptiles, turtles,
squirrels, emus and kangaroos can be seen in this animal refuge shelter.
It has one of the largest aviaries in the world, an educational centre,
a playground and several picnic places in the surrounding forest area
which make it an ideal location to spend a family day out.
Dierenrijk Europe (Mierlo)
This small zoo keeps almost all the animals that live in Europe. This
is an ideal place to spend a day because it’s compact and not too
tiring. There’s a forest, swamp, mountains, playground and a cinema
showing films about nature.
Gemeentemuseum Helmond (Helmond)
Children can search to discover how residents used to live in the castle
in former times and have great fun exploring in the basements to collect
answers to all their questions.
This charming town whose rather bewildering name literally means ‘The
Duke’s Forest‘, (a reference to the medieval castle and woodland
that dominated the area when the town was founded in 1185), is located
north-west of Eindhoven and well worth visiting. Known to locals as Den
Bosch (pronounced Den Boss), the preserved buildings, old canals, maze
of narrow streets and alleys that follow the line of fortifications dating
back to the Eighty Years’ War, enhance the old-worlde charm of this
town dubbed European Historic Fortress Town 2005. An excellent way to
experience the city is by taking to the water on a canal boat tour.
Situated on the banks of the Rhine, Arnhem is the capital city of the
province of Gelderland, known as the ‘Green Heart’ of Holland.
This vibrant city is a perfect base to explore the region and its many
family-friendly attractions include the magnificent Hoge Veluwe National
Park; Burgers’ Zoo, which has a tropical rainforest, jungle, desert
and safari park; the Netherlands Open Air Museum; a toy museum; numerous
petting farms and excellent play areas.
The Hoge Veluwe National Park and the Kröller Müller
of our most favourite places in Holland is the National Park De Hoge Veluwe,
which covers around 5,500 hectares making it one of the largest National
Parks in the country. The park is home to red deer, roe deer and wild
boar and was founded by a wealthy philanthropic Dutch-German couple called
Helene and Anton Kröller Müller. Anton Müller bought the
estate as a hunting ground and Helene used it for her incredible art collection,
which is now undoubtedly one of the best in Holland. With 42 kilometres
of well signposted cycle and walking paths the park offers excellent opportunities
for safe family cycling and walking. Maps indicating all the routes within
the park are available at the entrance, although everywhere is well signposted.
Here the children can safely run free and you can endlessly ramble or
cycle and enjoy the space and peacefulness. The best way to see the park
is to use the free white bicycles, which are available at various pick-up
points throughout the park. (including smaller bikes for children).
The Kröller Müller Museum is located in the middle of the park
and is a must place to visit. Cars are banned from most of the park so
to get to the museum, either walk, take the park bus or one of the free
white bikes. The highlight of the museum is a great collection of 278
paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and there’s also masterpieces from
Seurat, Picasso, Mondriaan and Renoir. Children will love the unique underground
museum which explains hidden life beneath the earth’s surface and
includes the exposed roots of a living beech tree. Then the artwork continues
outside with an impressive 25-hectare sculpture garden filled with over
100 interesting and unusual sculptures from this century set amidst stunning
landscaped gardens and woodland, an ideal and interesting place for families
Burgers’ Zoo is not an ordinary zoo, the 18 hectares park houses
more than 3,000 animals in a real Safari Park, Savannah, and a spectacular
Rainforest and Desert. Its referred to as “A trip around the world
in one day“ and apart from all the animals you normally see in a
zoo, you'll find that all of them live here in their own natural environment.
Safari Park was established in 1968 and is the oldest in continental Europe.
Giraffes, zebras, antelopes, rhinos, lions, cheetahs and a number of African
bird species can be studied and admired from a 250-metre-long walking
bridge that leads you all the way through this section of the park. It
gives you the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful panorama in peace and
quiet and from a beautiful vantage point. The Rainforest is a purpose
built greenhouse showing numerous plants and birds in their natural tropical
surroundings. Travelling along narrow paths and over suspension bridges
you make your way through this huge tropical paradise where you will see
exotic plants, hear the sound of cascading waterfalls, meet turtles, Caymans,
otters and other exotic animals. In the Desert section you can imagine
yourself in a real desert with rock masses and canyons, six meter high
cactuses and an oasis. Look out for snakes and scorpions, and large animals,
such as big horn sheep and red lynxes. From the desert you can walk to
the tropical ocean. Here you slowly descend deeper and deeper from the
beach into the ocean where under water you can admire all kinds of colourful
tropical fish. In the coral reef you have the opportunity to see morays,
grunts, clown fish, sponges, sea anemones, sea urchins, sea cucumbers
There’s so much to see and do here, its both educational and enjoyable
for the whole family.
The Netherlands Open Air Museum
This wonderful museum gives visitors the opportunity to discover and experience
how Dutch people have lived over the last 250 years. The vast museum park
has been designed to provide a hands-on image of Dutch daily life in yesteryear.
You will need a full day to explore the 85 authentic buildings ranging
from an historic paper mill, an old school, bakery and a 1950’s
health centre as well as examples of every type of Dutch windmill ever
built. Of special interest for children is the Children’s Estate
where they can do chores that used to be quite normal but are now done
by machines, such as drawing water, washing clothes in a tub and even
milking a cow - a replica of course! Also, they will love the old-fashioned
playground from the 1930’s, the Zaan Square with old-fashioned toys
and the bakery. The great thing about this museum park is that children
can not only see how people once lived and worked in the countryside,
but also join in with so many activities. The best way to get around the
park is by taking a ride on the historical vintage tram, you can get on
or off wherever you wish and its also fun. There are many cafes and restaurants
in the 44 hectares of grounds.
The Dutch Watermuseum
This museum is a unique activity museum and an entertaining learning experience
for all ages. Built in, around and below the historic Begijnen watermill
dating from 1404, the museum has a Watercinema, Waterworld, Waterlab,
Watertheme, Watertopic, Waterplayground, Watershop and Aquarium Restaurant
that has a special Super-beaver children’s menu.
The Eusebius Tower
The 93 metre Eusebius Tower is the only church tower with a glass lift
and a fantastic place to visit for amazing views of Arnhem. Rebuilding,
recent restoration and the modern glass enclosed panorama lift make this
historical tower accessible to everyone. At 73 metres is the belvedere
with breathtaking views in all directions, and on foot from here visitors
can visit the panorama deck at 80 metres. Then if you are feeling really
fit you can make the descent via the stone spiral staircase with 385 steps
to the bottom, let the children count them!
Recommended Places to Stay
Holiday Inn - Eindhoven
This child-friendly hotel has family rooms, children’s menus and
offers free recreational facilities including an indoor swimming pool,
sauna, steam room and a fully equipped fitness room. The hotel is centrally
located and there are plenty of excellent restaurants nearby so the children
have a wide choice of options.
Hotel Blanc - Arnhem
This is a small family-run hotel located in the centre of Arnhem close
to the railway and bus stations. The rooms are small but adequate, compensated
by its ideal location, private parking and nearby restaurants.
Recommended Places to Eat
Restaurant Falstaff - Arnhem
This pretty little child-friendly restaurant is located close to the Hotel
Blanc, railway and bus stations. The wonderful menus offer a wide choice
of dishes and the service is excellent, but it is very popular with local
people so its advisable to book a table in advance.
Balimas - Arnhem
Located close to the river, this pretty oriental restaurant with its indoor
garden is ideal for families.
Da Verdi - Eindhoven
If the kids like pizza then this is the place to go. They can chose from
an amazing choice of toppings and even see the pizza’s being baked.
I also recommend the pasta dishes, this is one of the best Italian restaurants
I have visited.