There’s no denying that Amsterdam is a beautiful city. It is one of the largest historical city centres in Europe and has over 50 museums. You may know Amsterdam best for its vibrant nightlife but there is plenty to do on your family holiday. Here are just a few of the things you can do in family-friendly Amsterdam.
Things to do in family-friendly Amsterdam
Popular with kids is the Tropenmuseum (the Tropical Museum) where the displays (art, photographs, music and film) depict the lives of cultures outside of the West, focusing on the tropics and subtropics.
|The Nemo Science Museum|
Or there is Amsterdam’s Nemo science museum which is best suited for children over 6 and features interactive science exhibits, experiments & shows in a huge, waterfront, boat-like museum.
Amsterdam is a great destination to introduce your children to culture, both artistic and literary. You could visit the Van Gogh Museum which displays over 200 of his works, including landscapes, still lifes and drawings and letters. These are displayed alongside works from Van Gogh’s contemporaries so that visitors get real insights into his life and work.
|Vincent Van Gogh – A Self Portrait|
And of course perhaps the most famous museum is the Anne Frank House. Perhaps more suited to older children, nevertheless, the story told by Jewish wartime diarist Anne in her diary is one of the most terrible and moving in the 20th century and to see the home in which she was imprisoned brings to life the ordeal she and her family endured. Anne Frank’s diary is still read by school children across the world today.
|Anne Frank House|
Canals & Boats
Experiencing Amsterdam by boat will give you a different perspective on the city. There are loads of different types of boat tours – there’s an Amsterdam Pizza Tour or an Amsterdam Burger Tour or you could take an evening canal cruise. There’s even a children’s party cruise on the ‘Pancake Boat’ where the kids make and decorate their own pancakes.
There are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people – over 800,000 bicycles! Cycling is a way of life in Amsterdam and the city has a great network of bike paths and cycle routes. Cycling is also a great way to explore the city.
|Image credit: Anna & Michal|
You can hire bikes called ‘bakfiets’ (cargo bike) which have a wooden compartment in which your kids can sit.
|What a cute way of sightseeing!|
There is a vast choice of restaurants featuring international cuisine and street markets aplenty where you can sample local fare such as Stroopwafels or Poffertjes.
Stroopwafels are chewy syrup waffles first made in the town of Gouda in the Netherlands during the 18th century. They are made from two thin layers of batter with a sticky syrup filling in the middle. In Amsterdam, you can find freshly made stroopwafels at Amsterdam street markets like Albert Cuypmarkt and Noordermarkt. Stroopwafels are a great accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea and come in various sizes. The most popular size fits perfectly as a lid on your coffee which softens the cookie and melts the syrup. Yum!
Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour found at outdoor markets and on many street corners in winter. They are typically served topped with powdered sugar and butter. Usually served on a little paper plate with a tiny fork for smearing the butter, they can be really messy to eat if it’s windy as the powder sugar will cover your face and clothing!
|Image Credit: Flickr: Nenyaki|
We all know about tulips from Amsterdam but it’s great to see the street markets awash with a riot of colour. Why not visit the floating flower market or Bloemenmarkt. All the stalls are located on floating barges along the canal, which is how the flowers used to travel from the fields to the city.
Fresh flowers are still brought in daily, but these days come by lorry! You are sure to find your favourite flower here, from the traditional Dutch tulip to the more exotic varieties. In December you’ll also find Christmas trees.
It is also very easy to reach Amsterdam with more than 300 direct flights to Schipol Airport which is 20 minutes from the city centre by train.
As you might expect for a major tourist destination, there is a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets but be sure to do your research to check what is included in the cost of your stay. For example, with some of the family-friendly hotels, bike hire is included in the price.
Have you and your family visited this amazing European city? What sights would you recommend? Where would you most like to explore in family-friendly Amsterdam?