The interaction of an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) laser beam with a parylene foil was studied by experiments and simulation. A single EUV laser pulse of nanosecond duration focused to an intensity of 3 × 1010 W cm−2 perforated micrometer thick targets. The same laser pulse was simultaneously used to diagnose the interaction by a transmission measurement. A combination of 2-dimensional radiation-hydrodynamic and diffraction calculations was used to model the ablation, leading to good agreement with experiment. This theoretical approach allows predictive modelling of the interaction with matter of intense EUV beams over a broad range of parameters.