If you are looking for one family-friendly museum for all ages to visit when in Rotterdam, The Maritime Museum Rotterdam located in the city center is it.
It was founded in 1874 by Prince Hendrik, the brother of King William III. Its world famous museum collection contains approximately 850.000 objects from six centuries illustrating the rich Dutch maritime history. The permanent exhibition Masterpieces (Dutch: Topstukken) collection consists of diverse model ships, navigation equipment, paintings, cartography, forgotten collection of VOC maps, beautiful pen-and-ink drawings and many other artefacts. And if you have kids, the other two permanent exhibitions ‘Offshore Experience’ and ‘Professor Plons’ (Professor Splash) are definitely worth a visit!
‘Offshore Experience’ (advisable for kids age 8 and over) is located at Half Deck.
Visitors get to board an oil rig platform, equipped with yellow vest and helmet, and venture three kilometers under water where you can see for yourselves how offshore employees operate. Experience everything through a series of audio visual challenging activities in search for energy at sea; engage your senses watching a 360° film projection of open water, learn how ships come and go, land helicopters, study models of the newest and most advanced offshore ships or read up on wind farms. Fantastic learning opportunity for older kids and adults too.
Professor Plons / Professor Splash (advisable for kids age 4-10 years old) is located at Deck 2.
This exhibition is about the exciting adventures of Professor Splash and his friends surrounding their home port. The set-ups are indoor and outdoor rooftop play areas where kids can learn about the maritime world as they explore around. There are introduction to various types of ships, loading and unloading goods, transport using wheel barrows and trolleys, hoisting sails, cooking a meal in the galley, catching fish, putting out fires and more. While the kids entertain themselves, you can enjoy a cup of hot beverage available for a small fee (coin-operated machine). Strictly at this museum section only.
If your kids are still energetic at the end of this museum visit, check out the open-air museum section by the Leuvehaven water known as Maritime Museum Harbour (Dutch: Havenmuseum). It features historic sailing ships, tugs, cranes, a lighthouse and a grain elevator. Use your Maritiem Museum entry ticket to gain access! The public are FREE to walk around the jetty area. Do watch out for your little ones as there are little to no railings or fences along the docks. Nevertheless, a perfect place for a quick stroll.
The Maritime Museum Rotterdam certainly deserve your attention. Expect to spend at least 2-3 hours here.
Address: Leuvehaven 1. 3011 EA Rotterdam.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday and public holidays from 11am – 5pm.
Entrance Fees: €12.50 for adults, €9.00 for kids age 4-15 years old and free entry for children under 4 years old. Free entry for Museumkaart holders.
Getting There: https://www.maritiemmuseum.nl/how-to-get-to-the-museum