Many Brits might see a Family holiday in Amsterdam as a contradiction in terms. Whilst we associate the Dutch capital with a very tolerant attitude to drugs and prostitution, it’s also one of the child friendly capitals of Europe. To give you an idea of the best family activities in Amsterdam, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 things to do with children. Are we missing anything? Let us know in the comments below!
1) Visit Science Centre Nemo
As Science Centre’s go, I can honestly say that Nemo is the most impressive and unique museum for children I’ve ever visited. Situated just a ten minute walk (or an even shorter boat ride) from Central Station, Nemo is jam-packed with exciting and innovative discoveries for children and adults alike! The building itself is impressive enough – it’s big, green and boatlike with an amazing rooftop deck, the perfect spot from which to admire the medieval city below. Inside, the approach is very hands-on, with interactive exhibits, science experiments and displays.
2) Artis Royal Zoo
Artis is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in Europe. Home to over 750 species of animals, it is renowned for its beautiful architecture, space and diversity. Each animal has plenty of room to roam, from the giraffes to the elephants, and there’s also an aquarium and a butterfly pavilion. Over 1,000 butterflies fly through this tropical interior, ranging in size, pattern and colour. For lunch, pop into the café and enjoy a refreshing snack and a cool drink.
3) Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve
It might be a mouthful, but this goat farm in Amsterdamse Bos, which is Amsterdam’s biggest forest, is one of the family highlights of the city. Besides goats, there are chickens, cows, pigs and horses, and everyone is welcome to make friends with the critters and learn all about organic goat farming. Children can take part in various workshops and learn how to milk a goat and make cheese! Finish it all off with a tasting session. The rural setting is really special and is the perfect opportunity to explore the Amsterdam Forest.
For water rats, there are plenty of swimming opportunities in Amsterdam. Our favourite pool is Flevoparkbad, situated in the East of Amsterdam in a beautiful green area. With 2,5 acres of parkland, an Olympic sized swimming pool, a separate children’s and toddler’s pool, sports facilities, a playground and a cafeteria, this is the perfect location for a family afternoon out. There are plenty of water attractions for kids and excellent spots for you to recline and relax in the sun.
Vondelpark is in the centre of Amsterdam and is often compared with Central Park in Manhattan. With playgrounds scattered throughout the park, this is an excellent place to spend an hour or two with the kids. The largest park in the city, Vondelpark welcomes 10 million visitors every year and is packed with playgrounds, cafes, sculptures and beautiful nature. Visit the Blauwe Theehuis and enjoy a refreshing drink while admiring the blue herons by the water.
6) Pancake Cruise
Two things you can’t miss when you’re in Amsterdam: canal cruises and pancakes. Luckily for you, this pancake cruise combines the two. Enjoy a 75 minute cruise or the 2.5 hour cruise through Amsterdam while eating as many pancakes as you can. Up to the challenge?
Translated as the ‘Kids’ Kitchen Café’, the Kinderkookkafé has been open since 1981. The idea is that children are responsible for cooking for and serving guests who enter the café, all depending on their age and experience. There are always adults on hand to help out and it’s recommended for children between 8 and 12 years of age. What’s more, the café is situated in the Vondelpark, the perfect place to hang out with the family!
While this may be more for the mothers than the kids, this excellent family restaurant is the ideal place to go for a family dinner in the evening. Translated as ‘Mothers’, this restaurant serves all the Dutch home-cooked classics from the Dutch kitchen. Every inch of wall space is covered in pictures of mothers, so don’t forget to bring one of yours and she can get pride of place up on the wall!
This huge play area for children is perfect for rainy days. Situated underground, in what used to be a tunnel, this play centre is perfect for children between the ages of 0 and 12. Children can run, slide, climb, ride and jump to their heart’s desire. Situated right in the centre, it features racing lanes, playgrounds, football pitches and building rooms filled with plastic bricks.
10) Water bikes
Everyone knows that bikes are the way forward if you’re visiting Amsterdam, but not many people know how fun the water bikes are. Hop on and pedal through the beautiful canals of Amsterdam, admiring the beautiful city centre from the water! You can enjoy the independence of seeing the canals without a guide and get a bit of exercise along the way!
Book a holiday park in Amsterdam
Are you planning a family holiday in Amsterdam? Have a look at our holiday parks near Amsterdam and enjoy a fun-filled family holiday in the Dutch capital. If you know of any other family activities in Amsterdam that are worth being shared, please let us know in the comments!