Amsterdam has plenty on offer for families with small children. The fact that so many professionals living in Amsterdam choose not to move out to the countryside once offspring announces its imminent arrival means that the Dutch capital is a place where families thrive. This is visible on the streets, where you see mums and dads piling two to three children on all manner of seats on their bikes and carting them off to nurseries. This means that life is abound; there are no sudden ghost towns anywhere in Amsterdam during the weekends, when bankers take a rest.
Here are six attractions for children:
-Kinderkookkafé (Children's Cook Café). This is a great activity, especially when it’s raining. Under the guidance of real chefs, children will learn to fix all kinds of food items, dressed in genuine aprons and chef’s hats.They will surprise you with their home made pizzas and chocolate croissants or cookies.The cafe is located just behind the Vondelpark and opens every day from 10 am to 5 pm. If you want to be assured of a spot, make sure you phone beforehand to check availability.
-Take an excursion to the Van Gogh Museum, which is especially good during weekends when children’s workshops are organised. The museum also offers audio tours which are suitable for children, as well as treasure hunts and the obligatory colouring pages, all centered around the life of Vincent van Gogh, which means your child will come away knowing about this painter.
-If your children are interested in science and love to play with water, NEMO is your museum. I took my son to this attraction very often when he was young and every time we went, he learnt so much without really having the feeling he was being lectured. This is a science and technology museum, which caters to children aged six to sixteen and is fun for adults as well. Plenty of interactive displays and entire factory belts for your child to learn to collaborate with others. The Nemo museum is housed in a massive, jade-colored ship hull on the Oosterdok (Eastern Dock).
-Visit Artis Zoo, if only for the kids’ playground, which is spectacular. The animals on show are great too of course and when it rains, you can enjoy the aquarium or the planetarium. In case you want to make a real trip of it, you can take the Artis Express canal boat which will ferry you from the Centraal Station to the zoo.
-Check out the Tropenmuseum. This museum will not necessarily teach your children too much about Holland as it is dedicated to the ‘peoples of the world’. It is an excellent museum with plenty of life sized displays of life in the far corners of the globe, musical instruments and masks.
-When the weather is really bad, head out to TunFun near Waterlooplein. This is a huge indoor playground underground. It is especially geared toward energetic children of all ages one to twelve, slides, ball pools, an indoor soccer area and trampolines. One thing is guaranteed after you’ve paid this place a visit; the kids will sleep like logs!