Netherlands: Amsterdam, Family Vacations and Dutch Treats.
Amsterdam is a city worth discovering with kids because there are so many tactile experiences to share. From canals, bridges, and bicycles to street performers, interactive museums, and shopping no two days will be the same. Here’s the scoop.
I have already posted several popular ideas for a family vacation in Amsterdam. This page adds new discoveries recently submitted by readers. Each has merit and I feel it is essential that they be passed along to anyone planning a family holiday in Amsterdam.Artis – Aquarium, Planetarium and Zoo.
Artis is the oldest zoological complex in the Netherlands and includes more than 500 animal species, three greenhouses, an aquarium, amfibrium, planetarium, and insectarium as well as the Geologisch Museum, and Zoologisch Museum. The planetarium offers shows created for young minds and while the commentary is in Dutch there are summaries in English, French, and German. The aquarium framed by a Neo-Classical building is perhaps the best bet for youngsters. Four huge tanks support remarkable population of fish and marine mammal. Wait for it! Checkout the amfibrium in the basement. (Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, Amsterdam. Tel: 0900 278 4796, 31 20 523 3400 or www.artis.nl
) Tropenmuseum Junior – View cultures of the world.
Located off city centre in East Amsterdam (Amsterdam Oost), near the "Oosterpark" and Artis, this museum is part of Tropenmuseum. The junior version provides exceptional interactive experiences created for youngsters six to 13-years of age. Children are invited to open their minds to stories from around the world and imagine the daily lives of others from the rainforest in Latin America to urban areas in China and from villages in the Middle East to habitats in Indonesia and India. The museum’s immersive experiences encourage young minds to be curious and open to cultural differences, helping them to be tolerant and to become respectful world citizens. Parking is limited. Bonus points: Free entry with Amsterdam City Card or Museum Pass. (Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam. Tel: 31 20 568 8200 or http://tropenmuseum.nl/
)Ajax Museum & World of Ajax – Fun for soccer fans.
For fans of Ajax - the most famous of all Dutch football clubs – this is a must. It is possible to join a 45-minute tour of the soccer complex and to enjoy extra time at the Ajax Museum located within Amsterdam ArenA - the club's home stadium. The museum showcases the history of the club and displays Ajax memorabilia, including football cleats, awards, contracts, and jerseys. World of Ajax tours include a peek behind the scenes at the press room, control room of the stadium, the highest seats, and a chance to watch a team practice. (Arena Bloulevard 29. Amsterdam. Tel: 20 331 1336 or www.amsterdamareana.nl
) Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – Pose with celebrities.
Amsterdam has its own Tussaud outpost which is on Dam Square. It’s an effortless way to view Dutch pop culture; see models from Queen Beatrix to DJ Tiesto; view celebrities and heads of state. Perhaps the most fun is the chance to make your own film with a star - Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Joop van den Ende or Johnny Depp. (Dam Square 20, Amsterdam. Tel: 31 20 523 0623 or www.madametussauds.com/amsterdam/
)Location on the planet.
The primary airport is Schiphol – modern, efficient, and family friendly. A cab to the vicinity of Ledenplein runs from 35 to 40 euro. Trains connect the airport with the city center and tickets are about three euro each. Bonus points: Make note that the shopping opportunities are plentiful, meaning is always possible to make purchases at the end of your trip. The rule of thumb is if it is sold in a shop elsewhere in Holland (and not by an artisan) it is also sold at Schiphol and the prices look competitive for most items. Make it happen.
Depending on your family’s adventure quotient, it is feasible and affordable to rent a flat, canal boat or apartment and discover the city at your leisure. The best bet is to browse the city’s website for current family vacation options. Go to www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting Content by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor FTF and images by Courtney Stephenson. Copyright 2012.