fun things to do with kids in amsterdam - family travel    Travel for Kids
The Netherlands


Canal houses

Amsterdam is a hidden-gem family destination, and my kids still say it's their favorite city. It's an old city (dates back to 12th century), with a beautifully preserved city center – canals, locks, bridges, canal houses in all shapes and sizes (including the smallest house that is only as wide as the doorway). Traveling with kids in Amsterdam, it's a great city to explore on foot or rent bikes.

Amsterdam Photo Album
    Canals & Anne Frank House
    Waterfront & Dam Square
    Museum Quarter – Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum
    Plantage – Artis Zoo
    Windmills - Zaanse Schans
  Rent bicycles – Amsterdam is a good city for biking – it's flat, there are bike lanes and you can really see things. Small size kids' bikes are available for rent and there's also bikes with a carrying for toddlers.
    Be sure to lock your bikes as bike theft is common. (Note: Stolen bikes are often just jettisoned into the canals. The city has a special crane and hook for pulling bicycles out of the water. It’s fun to watch.)
Take a tour of a diamond "factory" – For centuries, Amsterdam has been a center of the diamond industry. If anyone in your family likes jewelry, ask at your hotel about a diamond "factory" tour. The "factory" is an atelier where diamonds are cut and polished into exquisite shapes. Find out what makes a diamond perfect.
Relax in the parks – Amsterdam is dotted with wonderful parks that have lots of green space and playgrounds for toddlers. In the center of Amsterdam, visit the Vondelpark. Other good parks are the Westerpark, Beatrixpark, Rembrandtpark.
      There are also small playgrounds, near the Noorderkerk, (slides and swings) and Frederick Hendrik Plein (sandbox and jungle gym) in the Jordaan.

Fun food


Our favorite snack is "Vlaamse frites" (French fries).  The frites are freshly cooked, dusted with a little oil and salt, poured into a paper cone and eaten with tiny plastic forks. Douse your frites in all kinds of sauces, not just ketchup, but mayonnaise, peanut sauce, etc. We sampled Vlaamse frites all over the city, but our first choice was Smullers in Centraal Station.


In the sweets department, there are lots of choices, including pancakes (pannenkoeken), gauffre (waffles), and profertjes, a fried confection dusted in powdered sugar. The Pancake Bakery at Prinsengracht 191 has a wide selection of pancakes. If your kids love chocolate, Dutch chocolate is delicious in numerous forms –  hot chocolate to drink and chocolate candies in unusual shapes.




There are lots of delightful things to buy besides wooden shoes and toy windmills. Bicycle horns shaped like alligators are fun. Small Delftware tiles and tiny ceramic canal houses are a good buy.

family hotels amsterdam

Travel for Kids has lots of fun things to do with kids in Amsterdam, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels and apartment rentals in Amsterdam, different styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods near to places you'll want to explore:

Amsterdam family hotels
Amsterdam family apartment rentals
family tours amsterdam

In the Rijksmuseum, families will see paintings by Dutch artists Rembrandt and Vermeer, but how to make the artworks come alive for kids? Discover treasures of the museum in a 2+ hour private family tour:

    Rijksmuseum Tour for Kids: Cabinet of Curiosities
family travel tools amsterdam

Buy an Amsterdam city pass for free entrance to the Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, and Houseboat museums, discounts on canal bikes, Nemo Science Center, Artis zoo and Madame Tussauds, plus unlimited trips on the subway and trams:

Amsterdam Card
Ride around Amsterdam on the hop on hop off canal bus. 14 stops throughout the city, including the Anne Frank House, Central Station, Rijksmuseum, and more. Tickets are valid for 1 or 2 days, and you can board the canal bus anywhere on the route.
Hop On Hop Off Canal Sightseeing Tour
kids books amsterdam
the abcs of amsterdam  
The ABCs of Amsterdam
Paola Bucciol, Anca Ioana Bostina

Insider Amsterdam A to Z – from Amstel River to bucket bikes, canals, eetcafes, houseboats, tulips, windmills, to tot ziens (see you later). (Picture book)



The Van Gogh Museum is a "must see," and before you go, read about the life of the artist. What did van Gogh see when he walked in the Dutch countryside as a boy, looked at paintings in art museums, practiced drawing people in fields, lived in a yellow house and painted sunflowers in France? (Picture book)


vincent van gogh saw world in vibrant colors
meet rembrandt van rijn  

Rembrandt is one of the most famous Dutch artists. Look at the details of his paintings, such amazing color and texture. Filled with examples of Rembrandt's works, including self-portraits from young to old man, his lovely wife Saskia, and stories from the Bible. Fun to read before you visit the Rijksmuseum. (Picture book)


Who Was Anne Frank?
Ann Abramson, Nancy Harrison

Illustrated biography of Anne Frank, about her life growing up in Amsterdam, going into hiding when the Nazis take over, living in the secret annex, capture and imprisonment, and enduring author of her famous diary. (Chapter book)


amsterdam world war ii kids biography Who Was Anne Frank?
I am Anne Frank  
I am Anne Frank
Brad Meltzer, Christopher Eliopoulos

"By remembering and telling Anne's story, we make sure nothing like this ever happens again."

As a girl Anne liked to go to the movies and write stories, but her family was Jewish. In 1942, the Nazis started rounding up Jews to send to concentration camps. The Frank family went into hiding in a secret annex. Anne started to write in her diary. "I believe that people are truly good at heart." (Picture book)


Windmill de Kat
Hyo-mi Park, Jin-hwa Kim

Before visiting Zaanse Schans windmill village, read about historic uses for windmills – to grind flour, colors for dye, make paper, pump out water for more land to grow tulips. At Zaanse Schans the windmills have been restored, and their sails continue to go round and round. (Picture book)


windmill de kat
Sophie Stork's Amsterdam Adventure Book
Jacobine de Zwaan, Tatiana van der Linden

Take a trip around Amsterdam with Sophie Stork biking to the Vondelpark, visiting Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House, playing in Artis, exploring the National Maritime Museum, and having a snack at the indoor food market Foodhallen. (Picture book)


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