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For a family trip to Amsterdam, Oud-West makes the perfect base

Travelling with kids gives you a fresh perspective on the world, and nowhere is that truer than in Amsterdam. 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. 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.  

Within easy reach of the Canal Ring, in peaceful, leafy Oud-West, Hotel Roemer has spacious family rooms and a calming courtyard garden. 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. We’ve picked eight addresses to explore in the neighbourhood, from laid-back brunch spots and kids’ concept stores to a mind-expanding museum.  

 

The toy shop

  • The coolest: Blender

    Ruysdaelstraat 9, 11 & 13, 1071 WX

    The genius of this bright, airy children’s concept store is that everything’s under one roof: clothes, toys, homeware and a buzzing café. Sip a restorative flat white while the kids hit the indoor play space, with its jaunty bunting, ride-on trikes and hubbub of excitable toddlers. A simple menu caters to all ages, running from baby-friendly purées to sandwiches and salads.

  • The classic: Archive Store

    Frederiksplein 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.

The big day out

  • For a rainy morning: the Van Gogh Museum

    Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ
    If 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.
  • For a sunny afternoon: Vondelpark’s playgrounds

    Vondelpark 7, 1075 VR
    Best 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.

The all-day brunch

  • The most feelgood: Dignita Vondelpark

    Koninginneweg 218h, 1075 EL
    If 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.
  • The blowout feast: TEDS

    Bosboom 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.

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The sweet treat

  • To cool down: ice-cream at Ijsboutique

    Johannes Verhulststraat 107, 1071 MX
    After 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.
  • To warm up: hot chocolate at Café Blond

    Ferdinand Bolstraat 44, 1072 LL
    Blond 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?

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