netherlands
Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great family destination, and my kids still say it's their favorite city in Europe. 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).


Canals
Central
Museum Quarter
Plantage - Artis Zoo
Windmills
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.
Shopping
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

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, convenient to fun things to do with kids in Amsterdam:


Amsterdam family hotels

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