3 Days in Amsterdam With Kids

Filed under: Travel, Traveling with Children

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We go to Ireland about once a year to see my husband’s family, and when we do we like to swoop by a major European city for a stopover if we can. This year since both our kids have read The Diary of Anne Frank, and are endlessly intrigued with Anne’s story, we chose Amsterdam. Although I’ve been there before, pre-kids, what a wonderfully kid-friendly destination it turned out to be! 

Art, art everywhere!

Art, art everywhere! 

We had three days and so much to choose from. Here is a list of all the things we wanted to do:

With only 3 days, in Winter, seeing everything on our list just wasn’t possible. We are definitely going to have to go back. This is what we did (and I highly recommend all of it.)

Day 1: Checked into our beautiful 17th c. hotel on the canal in the heart of the city (see this post for more on this special hotel - it is the place to stay when in Amsterdam). We left our bags and immediately walked around the city (no one drives! They walk or ride bikes.) We were amazed at how many people are on bicycles, and how small the cars are! It was tricky trying to cross streets with all the foot traffic, trams, cars, and bikes – so if you do go, stay alert!

This could fit in my minivan!

This could fit in my minivan!

We noticed that moms tote their tots around on bicycles in big wooden boxes – and a lot of the moms are biking in high-heeled boots!

How do you steer when there are live tots in here?

How do you steer when there are live tots in here?

Day 2: We walked to Anne Frank house, walked around the city some more, went to Rembrandt House, spent a very long time making ginormous bubbles with some hippies in Spui Square (which is actually a triangle), walked some more, went to a Dutch restaurant with a local Dutch friend who ordered bitterballen, a savory Dutch treat, Dutch sausage and cheese, and mini pancakes for us. Note: Mini pancakes come in all flavors – sweet with cream and strawberries, or savory with cheese and meat, and kids love eating them.

Day 3: Spent the whole day at NEMO, a wonderful hands-on science museum for kids of all ages – not to be missed! You could spend two whole days here and not get to do everything.

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We had planned to go to NEMO in the morning and hit the Van Gogh or Riikjesmuseum in the afternoon, but NEMO turned out to be so endlessly interesting that by the time we got out it was late afternoon, and raining, and almost dark, so we only had time to walk to the train station and jump on the train to Schiphol airport. An interesting note about NEMO – there is a “Let’s Talk About Sex” exhibit for teens. The Puritan in me instantly shunned it, but my husband said it might be a good exhibit for me to walk through with our twelve-year-old. Luckily, I decided to go take a peek in it myself before bringing her – we thought it would be a kind of birds & bees primer, but it was more, oh, so much more. They had hundreds of jointed doll couples in a glass case demonstrating all of the possible positions one can um, fornicate in. They had positions in Amsterdam that I didn’t even know about. Next was a “peep show” – you put coins in and then duck behind a red velvet curtain to watch – well, to watch I don’t know what but if it was anything like the doll poses, I wasn’t going to bring my 12-year-old who still believes in Santa Claus in there.

I ran out.

My husband laughed and said I am repressed. Compared to the Dutch, who still sell marijuana in some “coffee shops,” yes, I guess I am. (-:

Ella not talking on the train.

Ella not talking on the train.


The train ride to Schiphol  was in itself interesting for the kids, because we got to go upstairs to the 2nd floor (!) and watch all the landscape and Dutch homes (mostly apartments) fly by. And, kids love trains.

We were yucking it up in the carriage like the Americans that we are, laughing and trying to speak to each other in Dutch when a man informed us that we were seated in a “Silent” carriage – no talking! Oops! So we spent the rest of the trip in silence, which actually was pretty unusual and interesting for the kids too. (-:







Bikes, bikes everywhere!

Bikes, bikes everywhere!

 So do I recommend going to Amsterdam with kids? Definitely.


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3 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Well, this is going on my to-go list!
    Twitter: AlisonSWLee



  2. I want to go! And I want to know what was in that peep show. :) Ellen
    Twitter: sensiblemoms



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