With its unique canals and iconic houses lined around them, Amsterdam is a city that every traveler will like. It is a city with straight roads that you can easily explore on foot, by boat, by train or by bicycle. Although it is known as the city of sin, I can actually say that it is one of the most child-friendly cities to visit in Europe. 🙂 In this article, I will share notes that I think will be useful for those who are thinking of going to Amsterdam with their children. Here it is, guide to exploring Amsterdam with kids.
Where to stay in Amsterdam with kids?
It is useful to stay in a hotel close to public transportation in Amsterdam. For sure, it is more convenient to stay in the center of the city, but the prices will be expensive accordingly. If you book early, you can find a central and child-friendly hotel at a more affordable price. Let me share the hotels that I can recommend, you can reach the direct booking pages by clicking on them.
Budget-friendly accommodation options in Amsterdam: Hotel Dwars, Linden Hotel, Hotel The Neighbour’s Magnolia, Max Brown Hotel Canal District, WestCord Art Hotel Amsterdam, ibis Amsterdam Centre, Generator Amsterdam, City Hotel Amsterdam, Hotel Mansion
Good to know before you go
In Amsterdam, public transportation and most museum entrances are free for children under the age of 4. Same for trains and buses to neighborhood towns. It is useful to specify the age of your child before buying a ticket. If you get an Amsterdam City Card, entrance to many museums is free and public transportation is also free.
Red Light District may not be a suitable environment for children, you can skip this place when you are traveling with your kids. Or you can do some research on what it is like and decide for yourself.
Best time to visit Amsterdam with kids
Since Amsterdam is located in the north of Europe, it can be really cold. If you want to have a comfortable trip, I would recommend the months between May and September. We went in early October and we were able to visit the city wearing a sweatshirt and a jacket. We had to dress a bit more layers when visiting the nearby villages, I had my son wear socks under his pants and a thicker sweatshirt, we also had to wear our hats. If you don’t mind dressing in layers, Christmas and New Year’s will also be interesting for children. I’ve been to Amsterdam at Christmas time before and I absolutely loved the city, the decorations will keep the kids interested, and the ice skating rink can be fun too.
Things To Do In Amsterdam with Kids
In general, I don’t think you will have any problems with children while traveling in Amsterdam, there are really great activities for children that you can enjoy with your family. Here I am only writing about the places that will attract children.
Nemo Science Museum: This is a Science Museum planned entirely for children. It consists of five floors and on each floor there are different mind-bending toys, educational games and videos according to different concepts. Child entrance is free with IAmsterdam card.
Het Scheepvaartmuseum: In the National Maritime Museum, located right next to the Nemo Museum, you can learn about the 500-year maritime history of the Netherlands and the impact of seafaring on Dutch culture. This museum organizes interactive exhibitions for children, I think children would find this museum interesting.
Tropenmuseum Junior: This is a museum of world cultures, mostly about the former Dutch colonies and it is a really nice museum. Inside this museum, there is an area called Tropenmuseum Junior, which is completely for children, and you start to visit an interactive exhibition in which children play a role. There are also activities for children such as theater plays and handicraft workshops.
Vondelpark: This wonderful park in Amsterdam is a must for families with children. There are many playground alternatives as well as huge green areas for children to run wild. There is also a cafe around the park called Kinderkookkafe where children can prepare their own meals, you can stop by before or after the park.
Linnaeushof: This is Europe’s largest children’s playground, with more than 350 attractions including climbing areas, go karts, trampolines, slides, etc. They have also created a separate area for the youngest children so they can play on their own, away from the older kids. You can go there even in bad weather because there’s plenty to do in the indoor playground too.
Amstelpark: This is one of the most popular parks in Amsterdam.It has large playgrounds, a mini train that runs around the park, a mini farm with animals such as donkeys, chickens, goats, etc., a mini golf course, a grass maze and other activities that children will enjoy.
This is Holland: 5D simulation with wind and water effects, where you will feel like you are flying over the famous tourist attractions of the Netherlands.
Upside& Down: I guess it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this is a museum just for taking photographs. There are upside-down rooms and instagram-friendly areas with various decoration ideas. You can think of it as an indoor activity in bad weather conditions.
Madame Tussouds: Located right in the center of Amsterdam on Dam Square, the museum exhibits wax sculptures of celebrities and historical figures. They are categorized as important people from the Golden Age of the Netherlands, celebrities from the world of movies, music and sports. Children can have their photos taken with their favorite celebrities and learn about Dutch history. I recommend it as an indoor activity in bad weather.
Artis Royal Zoo: This is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and is home to around 6000 animals of more than 500 species. The animals do not live in cramped cages, but in more spacious and relatively natural environments. It is also a botanical garden and has more than 200 species of trees.
Micropia: Located inside Artis Zoo, the museum is the only one of its kind to showcase the invisible world of micro-organisms. For example, you can see how microbes are transferred during a kiss, or with a body scanner you can see all the microbes currently on your body. An informative and entertaining activity for children.
Het Amsterdamse Bos: This is a huge city park, 1000 hectares of land and about three times the size of Central Park in New York City. There are animal parks, sports clubs, children’s playgrounds, a pond, hiking and biking trails. It’s a bit outside the center of Amsterdam, but not too far.
Luchtvaartmuseum Aviodrome: The aviation museum, with the most valuable collection of aviation history in the Netherlands, is located at Lelystad Airport, just outside Amsterdam. More than 100 old and new airplanes are on display, both indoors and outdoors. You can board a Boeing 747 and pilot it in the flight simulator.
Spoorwegmuseum: Again located outside of Amsterdam, in the old Maliebaan station in Utrecht, the national railway museum is a great place for both adults and children to learn how trains changed the world. There is a theater, fun activities and various exhibitions.
Madurodam: This is another museum outside Amsterdam, similar to our Miniaturk. It exhibits scaled-down models of buildings and structures in Dutch cities at a scale of 1:25. If you have a lot of time, consider this place.
Bakfiets or rent a bicycle: Bakfiets is the name given to cargo bikes in Amsterdam. They have a place in front of them to carry packages etc. Most people use them to carry children. You can rent one of these or if this is difficult, you can rent a normal bicycle with a child carrying seat on the back. This experience will be quite fun for the children.
Taking a canal tour: As you know, Amsterdam has many canals running through the city. Canal tours are very popular and give you the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective by going through the water, and it is also an activity that children enjoy a lot. If it fits your budget and you are with your spouse and friends, you can rent a small private boat and take a private tour or you can join the bigger boat tours, they last around 1-1.5 hours. If you want a canal tour with kid-friendly activities, you can join the Blue Boat Company’s tour. On this tour, an interactive audio story for children is told in English and Dutch. Each child receives a small package with games, pencils and binoculars. Parents listen to the normal audio guide at the same time with headphones. The tour lasts 75 minutes and the ticket price is 10€. I didn’t participate in this tour, but I found it while researching, I’m sharing it for your information.
Electrische Museumtramlijn: Would you be interested in a nostalgic city tour with a museum tram? Every Sunday from the beginning of April until the end of October, historic trams run on a 100-year-old, 7-kilometer old tramway route. Opening hours are 11:00-17:00 and the cost is €2 for children, €4 for adults, children under 4 are free. For the museum tram ride, trams are used not only from Amsterdam, but also from The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, Vienna and Prague. All the vehicles date from the first half of the previous century, but of course they have been renovated.
I hope my Amsterdam with Kids guide will be helpful and you will have a nice trip. If there is anything else you would like to add or ask, please write in the comments.