Amsterdam is a culturally unique, European capital city; famous the world over for its network of interlocking canals, laced with tall canal houses and their elegant façades. But did you know, despite its capital status, it is also incredibly family-friendly AND really easy to get out and about, even with prams or buggies?
There are wide open, leafy green parks dotted all around this stunning city, most of them sporting a playground area or two for your toddlers to safely run about and blow off some steam. Many of them also come complete with a small café and outdoor seating area for Mum and Dad to grab a cup of coffee and a ‘gevuldekoek’ – a delicious Dutch cookie filled with sweet crushed almonds. Don’t miss out on a trip to the most famous of Amsterdam’s city parks: the Vondelpark, where in the summer you can visit the free, open-air children’s theatre and music performances, there is also an outdoor paddling pool for the little ones to cool down in.
Discover the beautiful neighbourhoods that Amsterdam has to offer like Jordaan; jam-packed with fabulous little boutiques and shops to mooch around in, or De Pijp; perfect to find a restaurant or café for all tastes. De Pijp is also close to the most popular market in the Netherlands – the Albert Cuyp Markt where you can pick up a bargain or two.
If the day is bright and dry, you will find an abundance of open terraces along the streets of Amsterdam to enjoy a cup of tea, a slice of cake and watch the locals go about their day. All the canals in Amsterdam have their own special history, which you can easily discover on foot, but the Prinsengracht is particularly special. For one night a year, it transforms itself into the biggest open-air classical concert in the world – look out for the Prinsengracht concert each August. On warm sunny days, we recommend you visit one of Amsterdam’s beaches. YES! You read that correctly – beaches! Blijburg beach is 15 minutes by tram from the Central Station and offers wide open views across the IJ, together with a restaurant and water sports facility. You could also pop to Strandzuid which, apart from a city beach, also offers a special beer garden and restaurant to enjoy a bite to eat.
But if the weather isn’t on your side, then Amsterdam offers plenty of indoor activities also. Aside from the usual range of indoor playgrounds, you might also enjoy a boat trip under a glass-roofed canal boat, or perhaps a trip to the Nemo Science Museum where families can enjoy hours of interactive and fun exhibits, with lots of hands-on experiments to try too. As you would expect from such a culturally rich capital city, Amsterdam offers many museums to choose from, including the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and Tropenmuseum – all of which have programs to keep small children occupied too.
If your kids are animal crazy then a trip to the city’s Artis Zoo is a must! Not only is this zoo the oldest zoo in The Netherlands, it is also one of the oldest in Europe. This zoo is a little different though, it feels more like walking around a beautiful, flower-filled park, where here and there you can spot animals like elephants, tigers, monkeys, penguins and hundreds more. It also boasts a butterfly house, aquarium, planetarium and since recently, Micropia, the only museum of microbes in the world.
When it comes to eating out, then not only do Dutch restaurants welcome families, they cater especially well for young children. Many restaurants will offer child-friendly seating areas and menus. But a trip to the Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without visiting a Dutch Pancake House, where all tastes, both savoury and sweet are catered for – your kids have never sat and eaten so quietly than in a pancake house, and Amsterdam is littered with them!
If you fancy seeing what the outskirts of the city centre have to offer, then why not pack a picnic, hop on a tram (all family-friendly of course) and visit the AmsterdamseBos? This large, wooded park (which also has a delightful Pancake restaurant) includes a fabulous organic goat farm where your kids can feed the animals on site and learn all about their care, together with playgrounds, an outdoor paddling pool plus lots more. It’s an absolute must in the summer!
Using local knowledge to bring you the best baby and toddler accommodation, attractions and toddler friendly activities.