On hot days, let the kids cool off in one of Amsterdam's many outdoor pools or paddling pools. Here is a list of the Mamas' favourites.
When summer arrives in the city, Amsterdam’s pierenbadjes (paddling pools) start filling up.
As a general guideline, the pools are open between May and September, although some are only filled on the days that the temperature goes above 21 degrees. All pools are cleaned and maintained regularly and are very popular on sunny days so arrive early to secure a place in the shade. We recommend taking a picnic and finding a spot beneath the trees to call your own for the day. Don't forget your sunblock!
Some of the pools listed below are staffed and others are not, but in any case, parental supervision is required at all times.
Water Splashing Wonder (Nemo): Set up on the roof of the Nemo Science Museum, the Water Splashing Wonder is a fun and busy water play area, teaching kids about solar power while offering spectacular views out over the city. The onsite restaurant provides food and drink and has toilet facilities.
♦ Winner, Best Museum for Families, Best Day Out (Indoors) for Families, Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016 ♦
Noorderparkbad (previously Floraparkbad): The winner of the Amsterdam Architecture prize 2016, the Noorderparkbad is a new and modern building which houses the most energy-efficient swimming pool in the whole of the Netherlands. In the warmer months, it also offers a great outside area with a full-sized swimming pool, a shallow kids pool and a paddling pool for the youngest visitors. The outside pools only open when the water is warmer than 19 degrees.
Flevoparkbad: Awarded the first prize in a survey of outdoor swimming pools conducted by Het Parool in 2015, the Flevoparkbad offers a water-lover's paradise in the leafy-green setting of the Flevopark. In addition to the fully equipped paddling pool, it has a shallow pool with slides, a 50m heated swimming pool, a cafeteria and plenty of space to relax or play under the shade of the trees.
Pierenbad Oosterpark: A brand new paddling pool set amidst the beautiful setting of the freshly renovated Oosterpark. The pierenbad has water fountains and coloured lights as well as other nicely designed playthings for children to enjoy. There are public toilets next to the pool and plenty of cafés in the near vicinity.
Brediusbad: Located in a green and tranquil part of the Spaarndammerbuurt, the Brediusbad is a fun and busy spot with something to offer for all members of the family. The paddling pool is equipped with a small slide as well as other fun playthings for the youngest visitors. Older siblings can make use of the shallow pool and those with a swimming diploma can take a refreshing dip in the 25m x 33m heated swimming pool. The covered changing rooms, warm showers and a kiosk for food and drink help to make this a very popular spot.
Pierenbad Gerbrandypark (Slotermeer): A clean and simple paddling pool but definitely worth a visit due to its setting amongst unusual pieces of artwork which were inspired by the local children. Although small, the Gerbrandypark also offers a playground and a kiosk.
Pierenbadje Gibraltarbad: Tucked away amidst blocks of apartment buildings, this well-maintained shallow pool provides a welcoming oasis among the hectic streets of the Bos en Lommer neighbourhood. Tall trees surround the pool, providing shady spots to escape the sun. Although there are public toilets on site, there is no kiosk or café so bring your own picnic to get the most out of a day spent visiting this hidden gem.
Sportplaza Mercator: Located in the heart of Amsterdam West the Sportsplaza Mercator is a super modern sports centre offering an outside area complete with a full 50m swimming pool, a shallow play pool and a brand new playground for small children to enjoy. The outside pools do not open during bad weather so if in doubt call ahead to confirm.
Sloterparkbad: One of the biggest swimming locations in The Netherlands, the Sloterparkbad offers an outdoor swimming pool and paddling pool in addition to a number of inside pools. The outdoor pools are set within 5 hectares of green space which borders the Sloterplas itself, in which it is also possible to swim. There is also a fun outdoor playground, perfect for young children, and a café on site for food and drink.
Pierenbadje Westergasterrein (Spartelvijver): This unusual but simple paddling pool is actually part of a river that runs through the heart of the Westerpark. Offering little more than a fun, clean and safe place for the smallest family members to splash around in, it is nonetheless a very popular and much-loved spot, perhaps due largely to the many other attractions that the park has to offer. If the kids get tired of the water then a short walk will take you to a variety of cafés, a petting farm and a number of fantastic playgrounds.
Amstelbad: Located in the beautiful setting of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, this outdoor pool is well known for its nice atmosphere as well as the wide range of attractions it offers. Visitors can choose between a deep swimming pool, a shallow pool, and a paddling pool as well as activities such as mini golf and table tennis. A sandy playground provides more opportunity to keep little ones busy, and there's a kiosk for refreshments.
Kinderbadje Beatrixpark: Located right next to a playground and large sandpit, this clean and attractive paddling pool was voted by Het Parool as Amsterdam’s best Pierenbad in 2006. Situated in the monumental part of the Beatrixpark, the pool is well maintained and the water quality is checked regularly. A new building within the park provides public toilets and a kiosk for coffee and ice cream.
Mirandabad: Located in the South of the city, the Mirandabad is one of Amsterdam’s best-loved swimming pools. Most famous for its sub-tropical atmosphere, the complex offers a large variety of both indoor and outdoor pools, making it the perfect destination for a family day out. The youngest family members can splash around in one of the splash pools or play in the small playground while the older kids enjoy the excitement of the water slides and wave pools.
♦ Honourable Mention, Best Swim School, in the Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016 ♦
Pierenbadje Vondelpark: One of the best-known pools in the city, this very popular and busy pierenbad is located in the heart of the Vondelpark, surrounded by grassy fields and shady trees. Public toilets can be found right next to the pool and the Melkhuis café and playground are just a short stroll away.
Waterspeelplaats Noord Gaasperplas: For those looking for something a bit different, the water play area in the North of the Gasperplaats offers a fun spot for little water lovers to enjoy during the warm summer days. Essentially a sandy and shallow part of the lake, this area is surrounded by trees and grassy fields. Public toilets can be found nearby, although there is no café so be sure to bring your own refreshments. The quality of the water is checked every two weeks to make sure that it is safe to swim in.
Amsterdamse Bos Pierenbadjes: The Amsterdamse Bos has two paddling pools for small children, and the water is regularly checked and refreshed. Both pools are within a short walking distance of a playground and a snack kiosk as well as public toilets with a baby change area. For those with older children seeking more adventure, check out the separate swim area in the Speeleilanden together with a cool adventure playground.
♦ Amsterdamse Bos is the winner of the Best Day Out (outside) for Families in the Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016 ♦
Meerkamp: A great destination for a family day out, Zwembad De Meerkamp in Amstelveen has something for all ages. The outside area has three pools, including a shallow pool and a paddling pool as well as a playground, a bouncy castle and a zip wire for older children. Sun beds and large grassy areas surround the pools and, if the weather turns bad, visitors can take cover and enjoy the inside pools instead.
Hazel West is a writer, yoga teacher and proud mother of four who has been living in a small Dutch village in The Netherlands with her Irish partner since 2004. Her work has been published on The Tribe Magazine and Mamalode as well as on her blog.