Amsterdam with kids
Travelling to Amsterdam with kids gives you a fresh perspective on the world. Despite a wild-child reputation, the city makes the perfect playground for kids, with its hands-on museums, sprawling parks, and maze of bridges and canals. We’ve picked some of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids, from family-friendly restaurants and sweet treat spots to festive family winter activities. You’ll also find recommendations of where to stay in Amsterdam with kids.
Things to do in Amsterdam with kids
Van Gogh MuseumMuseumplein 6, 1071 DJIf the kids dismiss art museums as boring, here’s a chance to change their minds: with his swirling brushstrokes and ear-splicing antics, Van Gogh’s far from dull. A family audio-guide gives the scoop on his greatest works, and sharp-eyed sleuths will relish the interactive Treasure Hunt. Entry’s free for under-18s, but book tickets online to avoid temper-testing queues.
VondelparkVondelpark 7, 1075 VRBest explored by bike, this stately park’s dotted with slides, swings and playgrounds – including a secret woodland fort with ladders and aerial walkways. At the south-western end of the park, rustic café-bar De Vondeltuin is great for all ages, with its tot-friendly sandpit and climbing frames to clamber up. Order snacks and toasties at the counter, then head for the sunny terrace.
Sloterplas Swimming BeachSloterpark, President Allendelaan 3, 1064 GW Amsterdam
This tranquil, family-friendly beach is found in leafy Sloterpark, in Amsterdam’s Niew-West district.
With designated zones for swimming, volleyball equipment and picnic tables, it’s easy to while away a day here– especially if you combine the beach with a bike ride around the park’s trails.
NEMO Science MuseumOosterdok 2, 1011 VX
If you’re visiting Amsterdam in winter, it’s wise to prepare for a spot of rain. And what better indoor activity to have up your sleeve than a scientific playground? NEMO Science Museum hosts hands-on exhibitions that explore tech, chemistry, anatomy, the universe, and everything in between. Don’t miss the Chain Reaction live demo that brings the Mousetrap board game to life.
Archive StoreFrederiksplein 16-18, 1017 XM
Discerning parents love this handsome shop, set on the edge of De Pijp. It sidesteps throwaway plastic in favour of traditional toys, from lambswool knitted bears to pastel-painted stacking sets. There are pocket-money trinkets too (think sticker sets and pirate eye-patches), along with chic essentials like bibs and bamboo bowls. Upscale clothes add to the appeal, from knitted baby bonnets to Bonton dungarees.
Where to stay in Amsterdam with kids
Treks across town can be tiring, of course, as can city-centre crowds, so it pays to be strategic when you’re choosing where to stay in Amsterdam with kids. A great place to stay in Amsterdam with kids is leafy Oud-West. Within easy reach of the Canal Ring, Museumplein’s a ten-minute stroll away, and Vondelpark is even closer; a handsome expanse of lawns, lakes and glades, dotted with first-rate playgrounds. To the north, De Hallen’s also worth a wander, with its cinema, weekly kids’ activities and lively indoor food hall.
With kids to keep busy, keep the practicalities simple, and book your tickets and hotel in one with Eurostar Holidays. We’ve found the best family-friendly hotels in Amsterdam.
Family friendly restaurants in Amsterdam
Dignita VondelparkKoninginneweg 218h, 1075 ELIf you’ve worked up an appetite in nearby Vondelpark, refuel at this charming café. Follow the regulars’ example and order a Benny Boy: poached eggs, bacon and potato hash, laced with hollandaise. Children are made welcome with a toy-filled play corner, and mini-portions of pancakes or eggs cost a mere €3. ‘Eat well, do good’ is the motto here; all profits go to charity.
TEDSBosboom Toussaintstraat 60, 1054 AV
Brunch is a pleasingly decadent affair at this cosy neighbourhood café, set on one of Oud-West’s prettiest streets. There’s a toddler-friendly sofa by the window, and a long communal table for larger broods. The menu runs from buttery brioche French toast to triple-decker croque monsieurs. Even the eggs benedict arrive on a croissant, though cereal, fruit and soft-boiled eggs cater to simpler tastes.
The ButcherFour branches across Amsterdam
Ward off any hangry meltdowns by staying within reach of one of The Butcher’s rightly popular burger joints. If you’re planning ahead, book at the Albert Cuyp speakeasy-style branch. Upon arrival you’ll be asked for your password and escorted to the secret room out back. Or take the ferry to the A’DAM Tower for ping-pong and pinball with your grub. Wherever you end up, there’s a kids' menu on offer.
IjsboutiqueJohannes Verhulststraat 107, 1071 MXAfter a morning’s art appreciation at Museumplein, take a detour to this cult ice-cream parlour, set a few blocks south of Vondelpark. Ingredients are exactingly sourced and flavours off the scale, from heady Sicilian pistachio to zingy passionfruit sorbet. Sample one of the signature scoops (the honey and fig is sublime) or keep it simple with a cone of creamy Dutch strawberry.
Café BlondFerdinand Bolstraat 44, 1072 LLBlond started out as a cute ceramics brand, before branching out with an equally sweet café. Its bijou HQ in De Pijp ticks every Instagram box with its pink façade, seasonal flowers and dainty glass cake-stands. Treat wide-eyed tweens to a mug of wickedly rich hot chocolate, or a slice of the pink velvet cake. It also serves sensible toasties and soups, but where’s the fun in that?
Winter in Amsterdam with kids
Despite its reputation for grown-up fun, Amsterdam is fast becoming a hot spot for family-friendly city breaks. With plenty of festive charm (and a host of weather-appropriate activities), winter is the perfect time to visit.
Lucky little Amsterdammers get two reasons to celebrate. A few weeks before Christmas, Sinterklaas – the Dutch Saint Nicholas – paves the way for a season of sugary treats. Give your kids a taste of edible Dutch traditions: pepernoten (small spiced biscuits), chocolate letters and oliebollen (Dutch donuts). The icing on the cake? When temperatures plummet, local kids strap on their skates for a whizz on the frozen canals. Whatever the forecast, there’s no shortage of winter fun to be had. Here are our top picks.
WinterparadijsAmsterdam RAI, Europaplein 24, 1078 GZ
Get the whole family into the full festive spirit with a visit to Amsterdam Winterparadijs. Winter activities abound with ice skating, tube sliding and curling, plus traditional Dutch games. If you want a more gezellig experience (think cosy comfort), settle into the winter cinema or toast marshmallows on an open fire. Finish your day with a ride on the Ferris wheel to see the city from on high. From 21 to 30 December 2018.
Amsterdam Light FestivalThroughout the city
Amsterdam’s annual Light Festival sees its streets and waterways illuminated with enchanting light installations from around the world. Teasers for this year hint at inflatable structures stretched over canals and 3D blueprints. Take a self-guided tour on bike or foot or book a boat ride to get a view from the canals. Either way kids will be captivated by the bright and the beautiful.
Amsterdamse Bos1182 DA Amstelveen
Covering almost 1,000 hectares, Amsterdamse Bos is a welcome retreat from the bustling city centre. Spot Highland cows and birds of prey, or take the kids to meet kids of another kind at the goat farm. There’s an outdoor playground to burn off excess energy, too. Snow forecast? Join locals sledging down de heuvel before refuelling with Dutch pancakes at Boerderij Meerzicht.
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Image credits: © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Marcus Koppen; © NEMO Science Museum; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © The Butcher; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Winterparadijs; © Amsterdam Light Festival; © Alphons Nieuwenhuis; © Anne Frank House - Cris Toala Olivares; © Miquel Gonzalez; © Getty