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summer in Amsterdam

We are planning to spend 2 months in Europe with my teenage boys this summer, settling into two homebases. June in Spain, I think, and July in Amsterdam. Can anyone share their experiences with me who may have done the same? We love to spend time outside, looking for a safe, lively city that my boys can explore on their own and also opportunities to make friends. Amsterdam seems like a good place for all of this and also an easy spot to take weekend trips from. I'd love your feedback about this and what part of town to live in.

Posted by
13 posts

Definitely rent bikes for the entire month. It is THE way to traverse Amsterdam, and your boys will love cruising around the city that way. I like Fredric’s rental—they give you everyday looking bikes that don’t scream “I’m a tourist”.

Take a day and ride your bikes to Haarlem instead of taking the train.

Rent a small boat to tour the canals on your own.

Take a day trip to Kinderdijk. Pack a picnic.

Posted by
162 posts

I stayed for a week at Herengracht 21 in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam and loved every minute of my stay. Rented a bike at Frederic's nearby and had it for the duration. I think your boys will love the city...especially on a bike. And yes, you can make many day trips from Amsterdam.

Posted by
187 posts

My suggestion that you base yourselves far from the bright lights of central Amsterdam. If you like the ocean, Noordwijk or Zandvoort might be good options. Here's why:

I spent the summer of 1983 living in Zoetermeer, a planned city just outside The Hague. I was in in my early 20's and comuting daily to Rotterdam for a work assignment. Frankly, I think I would have enjoyed my summer less if I had lived in Rotterdam or Amsterdam. My weekends were free and I had an all-Holland transit pass. So, I of course got to Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. I also got to many of the smaller cities in The Netherlands, swam in the North Sea, and had some trips into Germany, Belgium, and France.

So why do I say less enjoyable if I had been in Rotterdam? Since there was relatively little to do in Zoetermeer, I was on a train early Saturday morning for the weekend's adventure. Had I been in one of the larger cities I fear I would have been less motivated to get up and get moving to get beyond the city limits. Now, having visited The Netherlands many times for both business and tourism, I am sure I would have seen less of The Netherlands had I lived in Amsterdam.

BTW, are your son's into specific sports and activities? You could encurage them to spend some time online to see if there are specific places that align with their interests.