Amsterdam with Kids

Author: Dan Brewer

Last Updated:

Amsterdam has a pretty wild reputation – the Red Light District, etc., but it also has an contrasting reputation as a good destination for a family trip. With the wild side being the stronger mental image, we were a little nervous about how our visit to Amsterdam with kids would go. As it turns out, we had a great four days in Amsterdam with kids (ages 7 & 9). Yes, there were things I wish they hadn’t seen in store fronts, etc., but it’s amazing at what they don’t even notice.

To help you determine whether an Amsterdam family vacation is right for you, we’ve shared our experiences from our 4-day visit with kids.

a 7-year old boy from the FamilyCanTravel.com blog, enjoys a laugh while wearing giant wooden shoes in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Our son enjoys a laugh while wearing giant Dutch wooden shoes.

This post contains compensated links.

7 Things to do in Amsterdam with Kids

Over our four days in Amsterdam with kids, we did a lot of fun things. The following list of things to do in Amsterdam with kids is listed in order from our favorite family activities to our least. In case you question the order of our picks, please know that the order of these family-friendly Amsterdam activities was picked by our kids.

1. Amsterdam River Tour with All You Can Eat Dutch Pancakes

I love Dutch pancakes, so when I discovered there is a 75 minute river tour in Amsterdam with all-you-can-eat pancakes, I quickly signed the family up.

A very popular family-friendly Amsterdam tour, the pancake boat was filled with young kids and their parents. The Dutch pancakes came in three varieties: regular, apple and bacon. There’s a huge toppings bar to personalize your pancake.

For the savory pancakes, there’s onions, cheese, etc, while the sweet tooth crowd can choose from peaches, bananas, Nutella, chocolate shavings, chocolate candies, etc.

a y-year old boy on a family trip to Amsterdam prepares his meal on an all-you-can-eat Dutch pancakes boat tour.
Our son BEFORE he discovers the tower of sugary toppings for his Dutch pancake…

The kids were loving their sugary Dutch pancake creations when they found out there is a large ball pit below deck. Between the pancakes and the ball pit, the kids had an incredibly good time. As for us parents, the scenery wasn’t world class, but it was worth it for the pancakes and the very excited kids.

A very excited 7-year old boy is about to eat his first Dutch pancake on the all you can eat Dutch pancake boat tour in Amsterdam.
The smile says it all – our kids loved the all-you-can-eat Dutch pancake boat!

At the end of the journey, my daughter said “This was the best boat ride ever!”. If you are looking for a fun dinner idea for your Amsterdam family vacation, this is it!

Reservations for the All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Boat

2. NEMO Science Museum

When we were researching kid-friendly activities in Amsterdam, the NEMO Science Museum kept coming up over-and-over. To be honest, we typically shy away from zoos and science museums when we travel with our kids, as they tend to be pretty repetitive.

But we had heard such good things about the NEMO Science Museum that we decided to give it a shot, and we’re glad we did – it ended up being one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids.

a huge sculpture of a skeleton doing a handstand at the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The NEMO Science Museum is a massive complex, with fun, interesting, interactive and educational exhibits spread out over 6 floors! As you’d expect, the atmosphere within the NEMO Science Museum is pure craziness, with excited kids running in every which direction, racing to try each new exhibit.

It was nice that our kids were old enough that when they found an exhibit which interested them, they would stop and really try to learn what it was all about. A few years prior, they would have just run around with their hair on fire, trying to see everything as quickly as they could.

A 9-year old girl looks at a row of human skulls at the very kid-friendly NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Our daughter learning about evolution.

It’s impossible to list everything there is to do at the NEMO Science Museum (there’s simply too much!), but some of our kids favorite exhibits were: communicating via morse code, the giant chain reaction show in the middle of the museum, making old-fashioned movies on a zoetrope and making giant bubbles.

A 9-year old girl enjoys making giant bubbles while visiting the NEMO Science Museum while on a family vacation to Amsterdam.
Our kids loved making giant bubbles!

To be very honest, they had fun the entire time we were there. We spent 2.5 hours at the NEMO Science Museum with our kids and we could have spent hours more, had we not need to catch a train to Innsbruck, Austria. If your kids enjoy science, we recommend you visit the NEMO Science Museum during your family trip to Amsterdam.

Celine Brewer, owner of the Family Can Travel blog, has fun with her kids in Amsterdam at the NEMO Science Museum.
Celine and the kids learning about pulleys at the NEMO Science Museum.

Due to the popularity of the NEMO Science Museum, they sell admission tickets with a timed entry time. Don’t miss out and buy your tickets ahead of time.

NEMO Science Museum Tickets

3. Countryside Bike Tour

When we travel with kids, we love to join family-friendly bike tours as a fun and active way to see our destinations. The Netherlands are known the world over for being a bicycle crazy nation, so it made perfect sense for us to join a kid-friendly cycling tour of Amsterdam.

It didn’t take long to find the family-friendly Countryside Tour offered by We Bike Amsterdam, who not only have bikes for kids, but they also have helmets (and no one wears a bike helmet in this country!).

one of the Family Can Travel kids smiles while on a break from a family-friendly cycling tour of Amsterdam.
Our daughter is all smiles on our Amsterdam cycling tour.

We joined our cycling tour not far from the river in central Amsterdam, and after getting our bikes and helmets properly sized, we were quickly on our way. The countryside bike tour requires taking a ferry across the river to North Amsterdam. I was a bit worried about our kids needing to ride their bikes through the busy streets of central Amsterdam, but we got to the ferry terminal via some quieter side streets.

Once we made the river crossing, we enjoyed a beautiful bike ride along the well-treed parks and canals of North Amsterdam, considered by some as the trendiest neighborhood in the world. Before leaving the city for good, we stopped at one of the last remaining windmills in Amsterdam.

A 9-year old girl from Family Can Travel, poses in front of a windmill in Amsterdam while on a family-friendly cycling tour.

The cycling through the Dutch countryside was easy and a lot of fun. The kids loved cycling past fields of cows and sheep along the super-flat cycling trails the Netherlands is known for. As you’d expect, there were lots of canals throughout the farmland, adding to the charm of the Dutch country landscapes.

Celine Brewer, of the Family Can Travel blog, cycles with her 9-year old daughter on a bike tour of the Amsterdam countryside.
Celine and daughter enjoy the easy cycling around the Amsterdam countryside.

We stopped in the village of Ransdorp in the Water Land district, where we climbed the church tower to admire the views. From the top, our kids were excited to see the buildings near the ferry terminal, near where we started our journey. Nearly 14 km away, they looked so small – a great visual to show the kids how far they’ve come.

The view of the Amsterdam countryside on a family-friendly cycling tour around Amsterdam.
You can see how far we went from the top of the church tower.

Next we stopped in a local restaurant for a huge slice of delicious Dutch apple pie. The perfect treat to reward ourselves after reaching the halfway point of our cycling tour.

a 9-year old girl on a family trip to Amsterdam is excited to try a slice of Dutch apple pie.
We were all excited to try our huge slices of Dutch apple pie.

The ride back to Amsterdam was through some charming lakefront villages and beautiful parks. We stopped to climb up a dyke which are so prominent and important throughout the Netherlands.

We really enjoyed our kid-friendly cycling tour through the Amsterdam countryside. This is a great family activity if you are visiting Amsterdam with older kids.

Book your Countryside Tour by We Bike Amsterdam

4. Anne Frank House

A visit to the Anne Frank House is a must for anyone who has read Anne’s world-famous diary. You need to plan ahead to visit the Anne Frank House as tickets are only available online. They go on sale around six weeks in advance, and they sell out quickly.

To secure our tickets, I visited the Anne Frank website regularly to ensure I didn’t miss getting them, and I strongly recommend you do as well.

The FamilyCanTravel.com kids pose in front of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Our kids in front of the Anne Frank House – no photography allowed inside…

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Anne Frank House. Each visitor is given a complimentary audio guide, which provides an entertaining and informative narrative as you follow the set path through the museum. Each room has its own story, which supplements the pictures and information on the walls.

We really liked how each room had an explanation of what it was and a diagram of where it was in the overall structure, especially as it relates to the Annex.

It was chilling to walk through the original bookcase to enter the Annex, and walking through the same small spaces as the Frank family was memorable indeed. To see it in person gives one a special perspective to the challenges and hardships they would endure through their years of hiding. 

When we learned we were visiting Amsterdam, I wanted to share the Anne Frank story with my 9 year old daughter, but there were a few sections in the original book I felt were inappropriate for her age.

We bought her an “Ordinary People Change the World” book on Anne Frank (an excellent book series for younger kids), which helped introduce her story to her and her younger brother (7 years old).

While we were in the gift shop, we bought our daughter the Diary Of Anne Frank Young Reader Edition, which was suitable for 9 year olds.

Supplement your visit to the Anne Frank House with a 2-hour Life of Anne Frank and World War II Walking Tour.

5. Edam Cheese and Windmills Tour

Our family runs on cheese, so when we heard that the Dutch towns of Gouda and Edam are just outside Amsterdam, we just had to visit. We began our full day bus tour at the Amsterdam Centraal Station. We enjoyed our short drive through the countryside to Edam. There were lots of canals, cows, horses etc.

Edam is a beautiful little town with an interesting history. Historically it was a fishing village, but when the water dried up it transitioned into a cheese making village.

Our family knows Edam cheese as it is often our cheese of choice during our previous family trips to Europe. It was a fun treat to get to explore the beautiful cobblestone streets of its origin town. We walked along many flower-lined canals and through the historic town centre, with a stop at the location of the edam cheese market.

a cart of Edam cheese balls in the center of the town of Edam, the Netherlands.
So many balls of Henri Willig cheese balls in the town of Edam.

Our next stop was Volendam, a charming seaside village with lots of great shopping and waterfront restaurants. This was the lunch stop for our tour, so we found a popular restaurant called De Lunch, where we enjoyed Kebbling – a local fish & chips variation.

Our next stop was the Simonehoeve cheese farm, where we were treated to a short presentation on how cheese is made. Afterwards, we enjoyed trying a wide variety of cheese samples. The smoke goat cheese was our favorite, closely followed by the onion/garlic cheese and the stinging nettle cheese.

A 9-year old girl, from FamilyCanTravel.com, enjoys a cheese tasting at the Simonehoeve cheese farm while on a family trip to Amsterdam.
Our family LOVES cheese – bring on the free samples!

Our final stop was at the historical village of Zaanse Schans. This spot is extremely popular for its collection of windmills, many of which are hundreds of years old.

a 7-year old boy, from the travel blog called FamilyCanTravel.com, sits in front of a charming windmill at Zaanse Schans, just outside Amsterdam.
Our kids loved visiting Zaanse Schans.

In addition to the windmills, it’s fun to explore the grounds at Zaanse Schans. There’s a demonstration on how to make wooden shoes, a giant cheese shop and many shops and restaurants.

Book Your Edam Cheese and Windmills Tour

6. Van Gogh Museum

As a family who loves outdoor activities when we travel with kids, we don’t visit a lot of museums. But, when we are visiting a major city, we will often seek out ways to expose our kids to some culture, as long as it’s not too boring for everyone.

Amsterdam is home to many world class museums, so we figured we should take the opportunity to visit some. Our daughter recently learned about Vincent Van Gogh at school, so we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to let her see some of his masterpieces in real life.

a 7-year old boy looks at a masterpiece painting at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Our 7-year old learns about Van Gogh while actually having fun at a museum.

One of the most popular things to do in Amsterdam with kids, the Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh paintings and sketches in the world. Spread out over four floors, it’s easy to be impressed with the skill of this legendary painter.

Vincent Van Gogh was not dedicated to one subject or style, but freely experimented throughout his career. This made the visit to the Van Gogh Museum more interesting, as I find repetitive art museums pretty boring.

There are many of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings on display here including Sunflowers, Irises, Almond Blossoms, many self portraits, etc. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any of his Starry Night paintings on display.

The famous Van Gogh paintings always had a crowd around them, but it was always a manageable crowd. If you wanted a closer look, or a good picture, you usually never need to wait more than a minute-or-two to get right up front and centre.

a Van Gogh self portrait painting on display in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

As amazing as the Van Gogh paintings and sketches were, it would have been pretty boring for the kids without the activity books they got from the Family Desk on the first floor. There are several iterations of kids activity books at the Van Gogh Museum, each tailored towards a specific age range.

The activity books seemed to take away attention from the Van Gogh artwork, but at least it kept our kids happy while we enjoyed viewing the entire collection without a single complaint from the kids.

a 9-year old girl from the Family Can Travel blog, looks at her activity book while visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Our kids really enjoyed their activity books at the Van Gogh Museum.

As with the NEMO Science Museum, the Van Gogh museum is so popular that it sells timed-entry admission tickets. Ensure you don’t miss our by purchasing your Van Gogh Museum tickets online ahead of time.

Timed-entry Van Gogh Museum Tickets

7. Family Photo Shoot

On several of our family trips around the world, we were lucky enough to capture some special moments from our family trip with a session with a professional photographer. Some of the family photos we received from these photo sessions are some of our most treasured possessions.

Amsterdam is such a beautiful destination. We didn’t have a chance this family trip, but you can book a family photo shoot in Amsterdam. Your professional photographer will make you feel relaxed and help you find photo-friendly locations in and around Amsterdam.

a 7-year old boy, from the travel blog called FamilyCanTravel.com, sits in front of a charming windmill at Zaanse Schans, just outside Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Family Photoshoot

A family photoshoot is an excellent way to preserve memories from your trip! Get $25 off your first Flytographer photo shoot.

A 4 Day Amsterdam Itinerary with Kids

While researching our family trip to Amsterdam, we were impressed by the large number of family-friendly activities. We could have stayed much longer, but in the end we felt that four days in Amsterdam with kids was about right.

Yes, there were some kid-friendly Amsterdam attractions we missed out on (like the Artis Royal Zoo, the National Maritime Museum, etc.), but we were happy with 4 days to visit Amsterdam.

a painted bicycle with bright colors and flowers sits next to a canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

To help you get a sense for what you can do on your family trip, here is how we spent our 4 days in Amsterdam with kids.

Day 1 Visiting Amsterdam with Children

After a long international flight from Canada, we took a taxi from the Amsterdam airport to our kid-friendly hotel in central Amsterdam. We checked in, then we ventured out to find lunch before our first activity of the day.

After a few slices of pizza, we enjoyed getting to know the streets of Amsterdam with a 25 minute walk from our hotel to the Van Gogh Museum. The walk took longer than it otherwise would have as we stopped multiple times along the way for pictures of the famous Amsterdam canals (a UNESCO World Heritage Site!).

many houseboats line one of the world-famous canals of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
It’s easy to fall in love with Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum

We chose to visit the Van Gogh Museum on our first afternoon in Amsterdam with kids as we knew we would be tired from our overseas flight from Canada. It turned out to be the perfect activity as it was a slow paced activity which we could enjoy without the need for much energy.

When we arrived at the Van Gogh Museum at 3PM on a Wednesday afternoon, there was a sign saying that tickets were sold out for the day. We’re grateful that we bought our Van Gogh admission tickets on Get Your Guide before leaving home. We simply waltzed right up to the entrance line and were inside in just a few minutes.

Spread out over 4 floors, the Van Gogh Museum is an excellent art museum dedicated to one of the world’s most renowned artists. We picked up some kids activity books from the “family desk” on the first floor, and we were grateful that we did. As amazing as the Van Gogh paintings and sketches were, the kids would have been bored out of their minds without having the activities to keep them entertained.

the two kids from the FamilyCanTravel.com blog, sit on the floor working on their activity books at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
The Van Gogh Museum activity books were a big hit with our kids.

Our visit to the Van Gogh Museum lasted 90 minutes. Without the activity books, I’d imagine we would have visited this world-class Amsterdam museum in half that time.

Day 2 Visiting Amsterdam with Kids

Edam Cheese and Windmill Tour

Given it was our first full morning in Amsterdam with kids, we knew we’d be jet lagged, so we took it easy on ourselves and joined a bus tour. This enjoyable full day tour around the outskirts of Amsterdam took us to the cheese making village of Edam, the fishing village of Volendam, a cheese farm with generous free samples, and finishing up at the windmills of the Zaanse Schans historic village.

a group of historic windmills at the Zaanse Schans village near Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

It was a fun day exploring the cultural history of the Netherlands in the rural areas around Amsterdam.

River Tour (with Dutch Pancakes!)

After our full day windmill and cheese tour around Amsterdam, we treated ourselves to a 75 minute river tour with all-you-can-eat Dutch pancakes! Between the awesome pancakes and the large ball pit for the kids, the scenery was a bit of an afterthought, but who cares? We had all-you-can-eat pancakes! This was by far our kids favorite activity in Amsterdam.

a boy from the Family Can Travel blog, adds many sugary toppings to his pancake on an all-you-can-eat Dutch pancake river tour in Amsterdam.
It’s easy to see why the Dutch pancake boat was our kids favorite activity in Amsterdam.

Day 3 of our Amsterdam Family Vacation

Countryside Bike Tour

We love going on bike tours on our family travels, and we were especially excited to go on a kid-friendly bike tour of the Amsterdam countryside. This 25 km bike ride was fun and easy as we made our way through the outskirts of the city into a beautiful rural setting.

Along the way, we passed a beautiful windmill, many canals and fields full of cows and sheep. We got a chance to admire the beautiful countryside from the top of a church tower in a nearby village.

Celine Brewer, of the FamilyCanTravel.com blog, cycles with her daughter alongside a canal outside of Amsterdam.
The girls cycle alongside a charming canal outside Amsterdam.

Anne Frank House

I was a bit unsure whether we should bring our kids to the Anne Frank House, but I’m glad we did. The Anne Frank museum was very well done and handled the delicate topics with care. We were able to enjoy the historic experience of exploring the Anne Frank House, while at the same time, introduce our kids to an important piece of World War II history.

Day 4 in Amsterdam with Kids

We struggled with jet lag for the first few nights of our family trip to Amsterdam. Couple that with a pretty busy schedule for the first few days, we really needed a good night’s sleep. So, we didn’t set an alarm for our final morning in Amsterdam with kids, and we slept in 2 hours later than we typically do!

After packing for our overnight train to Innsbruck, Austria, and going for lunch, we headed for our final family-friendly activity in Amsterdam.

NEMO Science Museum

As mentioned, we had an overnight train planned, so we wanted a kid-friendly activity near the Amsterdam Centraal train station. The NEMO Science Museum is only a 10-15 minute walk to the train station, making it the perfect final activity for our family trip to Amsterdam.

Two kids from the Family Can Travel blog, sit and watch a kinetic show at the NEMO Science Museum while on a family vacation to Amsterdam.
Our kids loved the kinetic show at NEMO.

The 2.5 hours we spent in this massive science museum for kids just flew by. Our kids had an amazing time and were very disappointed when it was time to leave, which we only did because we had to grab dinner before our overnight train to Innsbruck, to begin our three weeks in Austria with kids.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam with Kids

Despite planning several months in advance, we found it difficult to find affordable, kid-friendly accommodations in Amsterdam. We typically start with looking for a vacation rental, as we like having separate bedrooms and kitchen facilities, but there were very few kid-friendly vacation rentals in Amsterdam with a good location available.

So, we started looking for a kid-friendly Amsterdam hotel and were lucky to find a really good one – the Eden Hotel. We stayed in a Studio Split Level room, which was actually located in a separate building just a few steps away from the main hotel. We rented this room as it has many features of a vacation rental.

the FamilyCanTravel.com kids lie on their beds at the family-friendly Eden Hotel in Amsterdam.
The Eden Hotel was a lot of fun to stay at with kids.

The Studio Split Level was basically two hotel rooms (one with a queen bed and one with two twin beds), separated by a set of stairs. The kids room had a kitchen table and a simple kitchen, allowing us to enjoy healthy breakfasts at our table before venturing out to explore Amsterdam for the day.

The Eden Hotel had a convenient location, a quick drive from the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, and was within reasonable walking distance to every kid-friendly attraction we visited in Amsterdam.

If the Eden Hotel is booked, or is not to your taste, feel free to browse other family-friendly vacation rentals in Amsterdam. If you prefer a hotel, we personally use Booking.com as we enjoy their Top Picks for Families, making it easy to find kid-friendly hotels in Amsterdam.

bright flowers bloom next to a canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Where to Eat in Amsterdam with Kids

In general, it’s very easy to find food for picky eaters in Amsterdam. There’s all kinds of American fast food chains (you name them, they are here), and a wide variety of cuisines to choose from at Amsterdam restaurants, including kid-friendly stuff like Italian, hamburgers, etc.

As far as Dutch food goes, Dutch pancakes are usually quite popular with kids. Much larger and flatter than American pancakes, you can load up your pancakes with toppings to help make them more of a substantial meal. Dutch pancake restaurants are quite easy to find in Amsterdam.

Dan Brewer, of FamilyCanTravel.com, sits on the pancake boat in Amsterdam with his kids.
We’re all excited for Dutch pancakes!

For our trip to Amsterdam with kids, we ate at a wide variety of restaurants. Our fast food options were the Salsa Shack (kinda like a Chipotle) and New York Pizza. These were decent as far as fast food options go.

For restaurant meals, we had the Dutch Pancake boat cruise (discussed above), and we also went to the Rib Factory (where the ribs were actually quite good). For our final night in Amsterdam, we went to a kid-friendly restaurant near Amsterdam Centraal station.

It’s the kind of place I’d typically walk right past, but the menu was varied and the reviews were very favorable. We’re glad we visited Q Global Restaurant – the kids left stuffed full of pizza, and Celine & I enjoyed our meals of avocado salad and a chicken shawarma platter. 

A 7-year old boy from the FamilyCanTravel.com blog, enjoys a meal at the kid-friendly Amsterdam restaurant called Rib Factory.
Mmmmm…. Ribs…..

If you are looking for an affordable, healthy lunch option in Amsterdam, seek out one of the La Place restaurants. They have an excellent selection of healthy, kid-friendly foods (such as make-it-yourself yogurt bowls) and smoothies. We wish we had found La Place earlier during our trip to Amsterdam with kids – we could have avoided some of the trips to a fast food joint.

a fresh fruit buffet at a La Place restaurant in Amsterdam.
So many great options for kids at La Place.

We hope you enjoyed reading about our family trip to Amsterdam. If you’d like to follow along on our family vacation to Europe, our next stop was Innsbruck with kids.

+ posts

Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.

When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).