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feedback on Amsterdam itinerary

We'll be in Amsterdam for four nights in the beginning of June. We have two kids - they will be almost 11 and 8. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on this potential itinerary.

Day 1: We get in on the Thalys from Paris in the afternoon. We'll head to our apartment in Zaandijk. I'm thinking we'll just stay in Zaandijk and perhaps walk around Zaanse Schans.
Day 2: Vondelpark and Bloemenmarkt. A friend said to go to Tony’s chocolonely superstore. We have tickets to the Van Gogh museum at 2. Maybe a canal cruise.
Day 3: I'm not quite sure what to do in the morning - perhaps we could look around Zaanse Schans again, depending on what we saw the first day. We have tickets to Anne Frank at 8:15 pm, which I know is late but that's what I was able to get. So, I was thinking of getting to Amsterdam, perhaps late afternoon and look around the Jordaan area, maybe the Dam Square before the Anne Frank museum.
Day 4: This day I am not quite sure what would be best. Should we go to Haarlem, or the Hague, or Utrecht, or Marken? Would there be a good place to bike around? I would love to hear some suggestions of what kids might like.

I also wondered what people thought would be best for transportation. Since we're staying outside Amsterdam, would it be better to just buy our tickets individually each time or get some sort of pass?

Thanks for the help!

Posted by
3875 posts

Den Haag - you could go to Madurodam - there were lots of kids there. My husband and I went and I had a blast - and I'm in my mid-40's and we don't have kids. Easy to get to from the train stn via tram. If you do go, make sure you have some 1 and 2 euro coins for the little automated machines - you get little trinkets (got a Madurodam tulip pin and mini ceramic clogs), treats (mini Mars bar) or make the displays move (especially the amusement park).

Posted by
2487 posts

Something for the whole family could be the Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum) near Amsterdam Centraal station or, south of Amsterdam and easily reached by train from Zaandijk, the Vestingmuseum (Fortress Museum) in wonderfully preserved Naarden.

For those few days I would buy separate tickets instead of the OV Chipkaart.
Your children can travel the trains with a so-called Railrunner: EUR 2,50 for the whole day.
Mind that Zaandijk Zaanse Schans is a unmanned station. You need a working bank card for the ticket machine.

Leiden could also be a good day trip. Intensely Dutch. Lots of canals. Not so crowded as Amsterdam. At a few minutes from the railway station you'll find the huge original 18th-century windmill »de Valk«, which can be visited. And you can have a canal tour to see it all from the water. (Probably best to inform at the Tourist Information on the Stationsweg, two minutes from the station.)

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks so much for the suggestions! I will look into them all.

Posted by
41 posts

I just returned from a 3-day trip in Amsterdam with our kids (ages 6 and 8).

Feel free to PM me, but some random thoughts:

  • Absolutely go to the Maritime Museum. It was our favorite and perfect for kids—very well done. After that, we Ubered to the nearby brewery Brouwerij ‘t IJ which was a blast and very kid-friendly.

  • Yes to Tony’s Chocolonely. Really fun store with tons of samples. It’s right in the thick of the touristy stuff, so knock it out when you’re already near Dam Square, etc. We made a special trip which I wouldn’t advise.

  • Good idea to combine Van Gogh, Vondelpark and Canal Cruise (Blue Boat is right there). At Vondelpark, look (hard) for the cool treehouse play set. Our kids probably spent an hour there.

  • We had an 8:30pm to Anne Frank, which I liked because it opened up the day. When you go, get the apple pie at nearby Winkel 43 in Jordaan (they also serve dinner). There is a playground a block north of there, along the same canal.

  • Make sure to save a few hours for wandering the Canal Belt and Jordaan. Beautiful, quieter areas with nice boutiques, restaurants, etc.

  • I know it’s the historic core, but I really could have skipped the whole area between Centraal and Dam (except for Tony’s). Beginhof was neat, but the rest was pretty touristy and much less charming than everywhere else. You could get the gist on a tram ride through it. If you do go, there is a free exhibit next to the Amsterdam Museum’s paid entrance that our kids liked (it has a wooden giant).