Spiked brownies, drunken brawls, the unmistakable smell of weed, a free-for-all Red Light District. So, just how kid and teen friendly is Amsterdam?

Posted by Jennie

The answer is Amsterdam is definitely kid and teen friendly!  But the apprehension is warranted. There is a Red Light District around De Wallen but you don’t have to go to that part of town. There are spiked brownies in hip coffee shops all around the city, but you don’t have to buy any. A photo to show friends will do. There are shirtless college students drinking yes, wasted sometimes but all in the spirit of fun.

In general Amsterdam is a fairytale. It is a city entwined with water and because of this has the most unique urban landscape. Its skinny and crooked houses with impossibly narrow staircases only add charm to a city that is already too charming.

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I find the Dutch to be very friendly people. They are accommodating, warm and English is widely spoken which makes life easier. To say Amsterdam is beautiful is an understatement. Life the way we know it, is not the same in this city. To begin with, there are hardly any cars. Bikes rule the streets. Both bikes and boats are the main means of transportation.

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The Canal Ring is still the best place to be. With its tulips and bicycles, cool stores and quirky coffee shops, Amsterdam is hipster central, a place to chill.

So what can kids and teens do in Amsterdam? Plenty.

Biking. Rent a bike for a day or for the duration of your stay. Ease into it because it can be intimidating to ride alongside the Dutch who were born to bike.

Parks. Find a patch of grass, or acres of grass. Vondelpark is 47 acres of greenery, fountains, lakes, bike paths. Spend a day with a good book and a picnic lunch.

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Museums  – Most museums are free for visitors under 18. Be sure to ask.

The Rijksmuseum. Don’t miss the Dutch masters specifically Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Vermeer’s The Milk Maid and Van Gogh has one here too, a self portrait.

The Van Gogh Museum. Just steps away from the Rijksmuseum, it houses the most extensive collection of works by Van Gogh. The downside, no photos allowed.

The Anne Frank House. Get to know a little bit about Anne Frank before coming here so that you can fully appreciate the significance of the house she hid in together with her family during WW2. It’s haunting and unforgettable.

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Take a River Cruise with a small group and a personal guide. I wouldn’t advise a big boat with more than 50 passengers. A small boat offers you and your family a more personal experience, with the Captain as your personal tour guide. He’ll even let your kids steer the boat. You’ll get lots of interesting trivia you probably wouldn’t get in a big boat with a bad P.A. system. For instance, over 12,000 bikes are fished out of the canal yearly, and the black painted buildings mean that back in the 1800’s the  inhabitants had the plague! Talk about being labeled!

 

What about food? There’s gouda, herring and beer. Dutch cuisine? Maybe not. But that’s not to say there’s no good food in A’dam. There’s tons of delicious ethnic food – Indonesian, Moroccan, Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Somalian, plus big cones of patat frites and chunky apple pie with a generous dollop of cream!

So yes, Amsterdam is for kids and kids at heart.