Amsterdam With Kids – Tips and Recommendations
- Amsterdam’s fame draws countless travelers each year, and the Dutch capital has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.
- The summers are quite jam-packed in Amsterdam when tourists from all over the world flock the streets to enjoy the warm weather and countless festivals. It’s hard to avoid the crowds totally, but April, May, and September are a little off-peak season, with still pleasant weather.
- Amsterdam has an incredible selection of museums, medieval architecture, and activities for kids to enjoy. Even if you skip the warmest months, you’ll still be able to enjoy many activities indoors.
- Prices have risen in Amsterdam over the past years, but fortunately, you can get a few freebies when traveling to this city; join a free walking tour, hang out in the lovely Vondelpark, or simply walk around at the well-known Albert Cuypmarkt, a large street market.
- Bring some waterproof clothes; the Netherlands is quite rainy, and even in summer, an unexpected downpour might just appear out of the blue.
- Try to plan your visit to Amsterdam during weekdays; room rates rise during the weekends, and the city receives more – domestic – travelers on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Rent a bicycle! Amsterdam is a haven for cyclists, with many kilometers of bike lanes and secured parking spots all over. Join a bicycle tour to see the Dutch capital from a unique perspective.
- You don’t have to buy plastic bottles of water. Tap water is drinkable in all of the Netherlands, so your own reusable water bottle will do the job.
- For reserving accommodation, we recommend booking your hotel through Booking.com, as they usually have the best deals. For tours, canal cruises, and tickets in general, check Get Your Guide.
Amsterdam – Family Travel Guide
Where is Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is located in the North-Holland province in the Netherlands. It is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of just over 870.000. Amsterdam is only a 30-kilometer drive away from the North Sea coast, in the west of this European country. The land area of Amsterdam is nearly 220 square kilometers, and the Dutch capital is part of the Randstad urban region, a bundle of metropolitan areas in the west.
How to get to Amsterdam?
Schiphol International Airport is the transportation hub most travelers go through when arriving in the Dutch capital from abroad. It is one of the busiest airports in Europe, with 108 airlines operating flights to and from Schiphol, and 71 million passengers using the airport annually.
From the airport, it’s easy to reach the center. The cheapest way is to take a train to Amsterdam Centraal, the main station in the heart of the city. The one-way fare for adults is 4,50 euros, and children up to 11 years old pay 2,50 euros. Another option is taking a taxi, although this costs a steep 40 to 50 euro on average.
Same as the airport, the central train station has a crucial logistic role as well. From here, trains connect with all major cities in the Netherlands, and there are direct international routes to Brussels, Paris, and Berlin.
The bunch of motorways that mingle together in and around Amsterdam makes it possible to reach the Dutch capital with ease from all over the country and even destinations abroad. The distance by road from 500 kilometers from Paris, 650 kilometers from Berlin, and 825 kilometers from Zürich.
When is the best time to go to Amsterdam?
The Dutch climate is at its warmest from June to August, but unfortunately, that goes together with large numbers of tourists. Queuing for attractions takes a long time, and prices of accommodation rise significantly. The best time to go to Amsterdam is, therefore, April, May, and September. You’ll most likely experience pleasant weather, while the city is less crowded. During April and May, the flower fields around Amsterdam will be in bloom as well.
Winters can be harsh at times, but if you’re planning to spend most of your time in museums or if you want to see the frozen canals, the months December, January and February are your best bet.
What to do in Amsterdam?
The list of things to see and do in Amsterdam is nearly endless. The stunning architecture, numerous museums, and activities can keep you entertained for weeks. From a cultural perspective, the Rijksmuseum is a must-visit. Exhibitions here show the work of great Dutch painters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer. This museum gives you a very complete overview of Dutch art history, from the Middle Ages until the present day. The ‘Eregalerij’ features the most iconic paintings from 17th-century masters, with the highlight being ‘The Night Watch’ by Rembrandt van Rijn.
The Van Gogh Museum is yet another institution that’s hard to neglect when visiting Amsterdam. This gallery has the most significant work of Vincent van Gogh, the brilliant post-impressionist oil painter that’s one of the Netherlands’ most beloved masters. Explore the museum and have a look at pieces like The Potato Eaters, as well as many still life paintings, portraits, and landscapes Van Gogh painted in the 19th century.
Visit the Anne Frank House to learn more about Anne Frank, the Jewish girl whose story – recorded in her diary – became famous after the World War. You can enter the house where she lived her life in secret, and get to know more about Anne Frank’s tragic life and her family.
As you’re journeying through the city, the medieval architecture is what gives Amsterdam its unique atmosphere. Head to the Dam Square, where you’ll find the National Monument in remembrance of World War 2 and the grand Royal Palace, which is open for tours. At Dam Square, you can also have a look inside Madame Tussauds, with wax statues of iconic Dutch people as well as international celebrities.
To discover the city properly and with Dutch style, tour around downtown with WeBike Amsterdam. From a bicycle, you get an original perspective of the city and a glimpse of many highlights. For wandering around at a slower pace, you can join the Amsterdam Free Walking Tour. This way, you can see the architectural focal points of the heart of Amsterdam, learn more about the history and culture of the city through the stories of the guide.
If you’re traveling with kids, plenty of fun stuff awaits in the Dutch capital. It ranges from interactive museums and large parks to theatres and zoos. Pay a visit to Artis, the oldest zoo in the Netherlands with lots of animal species, historical buildings, and the library of the Zoological Museum Amsterdam on its premises.
The NEMO Science Museum is a rather exciting stop when you’re traveling with children. Exhibitions on technology, the human body, constructions, and innovations give the kids a broader perspective of the world, in a relaxed and playful way. Adults can learn a thing or two here as well, so the NEMO Science Museum is highly recommended.
To get some exercise and see the city from a birds-eye perspective, ascend the stairs of the Westertoren for stellar vistas of the historic heart of the largest Dutch city.
The ethnographic and cultural Tropenmuseum has interesting exhibitions for children, and the Amsterdam Marionette Theater is a pleasant stopover as well. Here, puppeteers make huge wooden puppets tell stories and dance to classical music.
Is Amsterdam family-friendly?
It’s safe to say that Amsterdam is a family-friendly travel destination, as the city boasts so many alluring sights and activities for any traveler.
However, it’s good to keep an eye open for scams and petty crimes you might be dealing with. As usual in any big city in Europe, it’s good to use common sense and keep your possessions close for the sake of your safety. Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and bicycle theft, occur quite often in Amsterdam. Keep your valuables in a sealable pocket on the inside of your jacket, and don’t carry too much cash. Wherever you stop, lock your bicycle with a decent lock.
What are the best events for kids in Amsterdam?