Revisiting Amsterdam (A’dam to the locals) with my children was a bit different from previous visits in my late teens and early twenties.
This crazy liberal, bike and cheese loving mecca should be on everyone’s bucket list of travels. Even with its often bleak and gray weather, the Dutch Capital never disappoints and holds something for everyone.
So, wondering what to do with kids in Amsterdam? Pretty much anything you would do without kids in Amsterdam. With the exception of coffee shops and erotica shops in the Rosse buurt, or as we know it… the infamous Red Light District – Amsterdam is relatively kid friendly.
What to See and Do
Canal Burger Cruise
You must see Amsterdam by water. This 90 minute tour (or any other tour) through the historic canals is essential to your itinerary . Your perspective of any city changes when viewed from the water. Amsterdam is a city built on a network of 165 canals – her true charm can only be discovered by boat.
The burgers were decent enough and served with unlimited beverages….Heineken Beer (of course), wine, water, juice, soft drinks, etc…
Van Gogh Museum
I recommend this little Museum over the much larger (massive) Rijks Museum, especially with kids. My guys are 12, 11 and 9. They know some of Van Gogh’s work so the museum was relatable to them and small enough to bomb through.
- Almond Blossoms
- Wheatfield with Crows
Starry Nights is not there. It resides at the MoMA in New York City.
This is exactly what you think it is. An interactive tour through the legendary Heineken Brewery with a tasting at the end. I’ve done loads of wine tours, this was my first beer tour. For beer lovers it’s a must. This gal will stick to wine tours. As for the kids, not gonna lie…BORED. So bored. Definitely the low light for them.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House cannot be missed. This one had an impact on everyone. The kids know her story and were intrigued throughout the tour. I left with a heavy heart reminded how close this brave little girl came to surviving the war. There are many quotes by Anne posted through the home. This is my favorite……
I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear; my courage is reborn. But, and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist, or a writer?
— Anne Frank
To that I say: “Yes, darling clever girl! You wrote one of the most important memoirs of the 20th century.”
One nice thing about returning to Amsterdam as an “adult” is that I could afford to do a little shopping and the Nine Streets do not disappoint. As the name indicates, these 9 Streets are lined with unique boutiques and cafes….yes, cafes, not coffee shops! Big difference. Located right behind Dam Square, definitely worth the look . You might have to ply your children with hot cocoa to keep them engaged.
Getting Around Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a fabulous walking city. Obviously, it’s also a biking city. I do not recommend renting bikes for families with kids. The bikers don’t play in Amsterdam and are likely to run you down well before a car. Remember to look all ways when crossing and to mind the bike lane. Trams are also plentiful and a good way to step out of the rain.
Points of Interest
In the center of Amsterdam, close to the Central Station, you will find Dam Square. The Royal Palace takes up one side. Fun Fact: The Dutch Royals actually live there (part of the time).
The centre of Amsterdam night life unless The Red Light District is more your scene. This is a bustling square with cafes, theaters and street performers. My guys love buskers and are always up for stopping to watch for a bit.
The Flower Market/Bloemenmarkt
A floating flower market on the Singel Canals. Here you can buy tulip bulbs and any other kitsch Dutch memorabilia you may desire.
The Red Light District
Yes, Mom of the Year, took the boys through the Red Light District. Not the whole thing. Just one bit of it, and in the early part of the evening. Very early.
The Wallen, or Russe buurt (Red Light), is the oldest part of the city and offers much more than brothels, peep shows, and sex shops. It has some beautiful canals, restaurants and historic leaning gabled houses. It is probably one of the most interesting “neighbourhoods” in the world.
It is not just all cheese shops. Although the cheese shops are plentiful and the cheese is so good. The Dutch have some other interesting and notable food. Some of which requires some acquiring.
- Stroopwafels – Chewy, syrupy, waffle goodness.
- Bitterballen – Deep-fried meatballs, bit like croquettes.
- Oliebollen – Deep-fried sweet dumplings in oil.
- Raw Herring – Eaten whole (plain) or with cut up onion.
- Salty Fries with Mayo – My fave. Once you try fries with mayo, you’ll never go back to ketchup. Fries are available everywhere….kids were thrilled.
- Black licorice – Known as drops to the Dutch. These are foul. Even more foul is the dubbel zout (double salt) version. My half Dutch husband loves them. Like I said, some tastes are acquired.
- Stay near the centre. As mentioned Amsterdam is an easy walking city within the centre you will never run out of interesting things to see.
- Buy your tickets to attractions on line. ALWAYS, do this. You should never have to wait inline with a little advance planning. The Anne Frank House and The Heineken Museum are especially busy. Pre-book.
- Also, there are many large and beautiful city parks. We didn’t have time to see any this time around. But, they often have nice attractions for kids.
Checkout our trip vid: A’dam with the Fam on Youtube:
19 thoughts on “A’dam with the Fam”
Very informative! We are going there in March. Will definitely use your tips for places to take the kids!
Thanks you two. Hit me up if you need further recommends. The parks there are lovely too. Some have fun attractions.
I’ve always wanted to visit and this have given me a little kick to finally do it! thank you! <3
You’re welcome!!! Be sure to let me know how it goes!!! 😉
Anne Frank museum was definitely one of my European highlights. So many people in one place (avoiding the rain of course!) and it was absolute silence.
Yep. It felt humbling. The kids didn’t make a peep. Only Declan once to show me where they used the toilet. 😳
I have family over in Holland and I am looking forward to exploring all of Europe with them. Thank you for offering a glimpse.
You’re welcome. Summer is a lovely time of year but really busy. Try mid fall or late Spring. Enjoy!
Gorgeous! I’ll be visiting Amsterdam soon so I’ve bookmarked this! Thank you 🙂
Thanks Aoife. It’s a fab city.
Ok, I love your blog! So happy I just discovered it off facebook!
Thank you Diana!! x
Awesome…the pictures make me want to go so bad! I had a chance to visit the anne frank house on a group trip and didn’t go. I’d read the book and was afraid to face the reality…gotta girl up and make that trip one day!
Do it on your next visit! It’s a great city…..thanks for stopping by.
I loved my trip to Amsterdam and can not wait to go back…..probably with kids lol It’s a beautiful place. My sister almost just moved in and stayed while we were there!! lol I’ll have to save this for my next visit, except I’ll leave out the black licorice haha
Yes, definitely skip the licorice! 😉
Did Amsterdam on my own earlier this year as hubby traveled for work. Would love to take the kids in a couple years– once everyone’s out of the toddler stage 🙂 Awesome post!
Thanks Mom. Go in the spring or the fall. Winter is dreary and summer is too busy. x
great tips for one of my favorite cities!