Things To Do With Kids in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's compact center makes it a good city for kids, from toddlers to teenagers. The old center is hemmed in by the Ij River and Centraal Station to the north, and spreads wouth in an inticing web of medieval street and canals. A stroll on a sunny day along the canals to peer at the houseboats is a novelty for most city-dwellers, and outdoor spaces like Vondelpark, Artis Zoo and Hortus Botanicus are a breath of fresh air.

When the weather demands indoor fun there are plenty of kid-friendly museums, like the interactive Het Scheepvaartmuseum and NEMO where learning is fun. You can also spot global and local celebs at Madame Tussauds.

For children who like cycling, they'll be glad of the relatively traffic-free streets to explore on two wheels. If they're tiny enough, you can get them on a kid's seat on your own hired bike.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum)

This mammoth, Venetian-style 
17th-century warehouse houses the national maritime museum, recently reopened after major renovation. Showstoppers include a golden royal barge and a replica of the East Indiaman Amsterdam, built in 1749 and sunk off England. Open daily 9am-5pm. Adult €15; conc €7.50.

Artis Zoo

The multiple attractions at Artis include 6,000 animals, gardens with lakes and rambles, two museums (zoology and geology) and a planetarium.

Vondelpark

Laid out in 1864 by prominent resident citizens, with rambles, lakes and lawns, Vondelpark is still the ultimate summertime hangout and loved by locals.

NEMO

The New Metropolis science centre brings science and technology to life interactively for all ages: discover how an engine works, build a dam or make abominable smells in the working laboratory. Even more amazing is the building itself – a copper-green ocean liner crashing into the river IJ by Pompidou architect Renzo Piano.

Anne Frank Huis

The cramped, bare hideaway where Anne Frank, her parents and sister and four family friends lived for 
26 months before deportation, and ultimately death in Belsen, is one of Amsterdam’s most moving wartime memorials.

Hortus Botanicus (Botanic Garden)

With its steamy hothouses, lovely gardens and exotic palm trees, Amsterdam’s historic ‘living museum’—AKA the botanic gardens—dates from 1638. It shows around 8,000 varieties of plants, including the oldest pot-plant in the world—a 300-year-old breadfruit tree from East Africa.

Koninklijk Paleis

Built on 13,659 wooden piles (a figure every Dutch child knows by heart), Jacob van Campen’s city hall is a great masterpiece of Dutch Renaissance architecture. In 1808 Napoleon’s brother turned the building into a royal palace, complete with chandeliers and Empire furniture.

Noordermarkt

This popular fleamarket in Jordaan has vintage paraphernalia from books to jewelry, and plenty of second-hand goods. Around the corner is the textile market, selling colorful fabric by the meter. On Saturday is the organic farmers’ market (boerenmarkt) with cheese, fruit and meat. Open 8am-1pm Mon; 8am-4pm Sat. 

Madame Tussauds

There's everyone from Lady Gaga to Rembrandt in this 3-story museum of life-size wax models, with a good mix of Dutch historic characters and global celebrities.

The Pancake Bakery

Housed in a 17th-century warehouse formerly owned by East India Company, this bakery serves Dutch specialty sweet and savory pancakes. The menu offers 70 flavors and varieties, all cooked to perfection.