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Amsterdam - I'd like to take my 6yo

(40 Posts)
frugalfuzzpig Mon 10-Feb-14 21:08:22

DD is completely obsessed with Van Gogh and so a trip would be a dream come true if we could go to the museum.

I've never been though and lots of people have told me there are lots of, um, unsavoury areas?!

It would just be a short break as we can't really afford a big holiday, it could be just us two or up to 8 of us depending if DSCs want to come (one DSD was enthralled by Anne Frank and apparently the house is there?)

Any tips please? How to get there, other things to do etc?

fuzzpig Fri 23-May-14 22:02:00

Ooh, hadn't seen all the recent posts, thanks.

Unfortunately we aren't going this year sad shortly after I started this thread, DH got a job! Which is brilliant obviously but it meant we had no clue where we stood with annual leave etc and it was just too late to book anything. So we are hoping to do it next year instead!

EBearhug Fri 23-May-14 21:53:30

My manager's going to Anne Frank's house on Monday - he was looking at buying a ticket in advance, but they're only available from mid-June, looking now. I went when it opened at 9am, and I had to wait about 20 minutes to get in; when I came out, the queue was far longer, at least 2 hours, so plan to go early or late in the day, unless you've got tickets in advance. I think you need to have read the Diary and/or have some understanding of why they were in hiding and later in concentration camps to really get it, and I don't know that I'd take children much under secondary age.

The zoo is popular too, as well as the science museum. The Rijksmuseum has things I would have adored as a child, and still enjoyed as an adult, including a large model ship and the dollshouses. I'd have sold my parents (well, at least my sister) for a dollshouse like that when I was a child! Beautiful model houses and furnishings (for adults, rather than children.) I did enjoy the Van Gogh museum, but I'm not sure I'd have been so keen as a child - however, I wasn't so keen on Van Gogh.

If you're there for a few days, it might be worth getting the train out to the Zaanstreek and seeing the windmills there - it's not a long journey, and there are a number of working mills.

I'd avoid the red light district - I wasn't paying too much attention as I was wandering round the streets in the morning, and just ended up there, and I was half way along before I realised, but I think later in the day, it would be more obvious (and I still wonder why anyone would think a single woman on a sunny, dry spring morning would want to go in to watch a live sex show, but at least they are not sexist, in that they call out to everyone passing...) Round the Leidseplein in the evening, it's lots of sports bars and Argentinian steak houses, and I wouldn't bother, other than to marvel at the number of steak houses. How much steak can any population eat? But there is so much else to see and do, it's easy to avoid the bits you'd rather not do with children, especially if you pay a bit more attention to where you're walking than I did.

I think I need to persuade my Dutch colleagues I need a week in the office there...

rosy71 Fri 23-May-14 21:16:25

We went on holiday to Holland last summer & spent a day in Amsterdam. Ds1 was 8 & ds2, 5. We travelledd on the tram & spent most of our time waling around & looking at the canals. I would think the Anne Frank House would be unsuitable for young children & had a huge queue. The red light area is quite contained & easily avoided.

qazxc Thu 15-May-14 14:11:40

As well as pancakes, a canal boat ride, photos in this clog seem to be a compulsory requirement for tourists. wink

winkygirl Thu 15-May-14 10:04:52

Thanks - we were worried about not being able to speak the lingo! Sounds like the city is very well geared up for tourists.


keely79 Wed 14-May-14 15:33:38

Love amsterdam. What might be quite fun to stay in would be one of the houseboats - we did that for B&B once and it was great! This was the one we stayed in, but there are loads to choose from

I wouldn't worry about the coffee shops and red light district - it's a very relaxed city, with lovely canals to walk beside, great food, very friendly people. Might be worth seeing if you can rent a bike - perhaps with a trailer for your DD to ride in?

AnandaTimeIn Wed 14-May-14 15:31:07

Oh yes, the Pancake Bakery is up the road from Anne Frank House - over 20 types, savoury and sweet - yum!

AnandaTimeIn Wed 14-May-14 15:28:41

Red light district is tiny in the scheme of things so easily avoided - it, s close to Central Station.

Amsterdam is a public transport dream, so well organised. Tram stops (tourist routes) are even announced in English including info ("Van Gogh museum") etc.

Nemo, the Science Museum is great - it looks like a sunken ship! (left of CS). Zoo (Artis) is great too - tram 9 from CS.

Anne Frank house queues avoidable around 5-6 pm.

No need to stay outside, wonderful hotels here including around Vondelpark/Museumplein (Van Gogh/Rembrandt).

I agree with pp - Amsterdam is actually great for bringing up kids. It, s very safe on a world scale.....


qazxc Wed 14-May-14 15:21:40

Do be careful though about cyclists, they don't kindly to people being in their way.

qazxc Wed 14-May-14 15:20:14

I've been there with my boyfriend and would definately recommend as a destination. TBH I've seen more smut and rowdy behavior in family destinations like the canaries than in Amsterdam.
The Red light district is easily avoided and even if you take a wrong turn all the ladies in the windows wear bikinis, our guide told us it's so that Amsterdamers can tell their DC "Oh she's just waiting for the bus to take he to the beach" should they ask, I don't know how much truth is in that.
Stoned people tend to be quite a quiet bunch so a lot easier than being in a place where people drink to excess.
the whole vibe of the city is very laid back and relaxed, english is commonly spoken, getting around/ finding your way around is very easy.
The Van Gogh Museum is great, Ann Frank's house probably not for small children. There are lot of places to see and things to do. Take a boat ride, ride the trams, eat lots of pancakes.

ThePrisonerOfAzkaban Wed 14-May-14 15:04:23

The safe streets ie the non red light ones have signs up saying it's children friendly so look out for those. There are some good status around the city that children can climb and have fun with. Lots more then the red light district

goodiegoodieyumyum Wed 14-May-14 14:41:26

Winky the Trams have screens which tell you the next stop, the buses do too, very easy to get around

winkygirl Wed 14-May-14 14:24:55

I am going next week with my Mum. We would like to know if the buses and trams have some form of display to say what the next stop is. Or is it obvious when you get to a stop what the name is?

Any advice much appreciated!

frugalfuzzpig Wed 12-Feb-14 20:18:07

Sounds good. smile I think we'd not want a full week anyway, due to cost if nothing else! So we won't be able to do everything, but we will try and work out priorities etc.

I wouldn't be able to cram too much into one day - I have a disability that means I need frequent rests.

Rests with pancakes, maybe... grin

somedizzywhore1804 Wed 12-Feb-14 20:16:00

Not read whole thread for this may have come up but me and DH did a "mini cruise" last year from Hulll to Amsterdam. It was insanely cheap- something like £200 for the two of us and it was two nights on the boat and a day trip to Amsterdam- more than enough time to see the VG museum as it's right by the coach drop off. It was great and the boat was fun and meals were included and the food was lovely.

Google P and O mini cruises to Amsterdam.

lljkk Wed 12-Feb-14 20:13:05

I had a blast with just one day walking around. Walked the full park and went to the modern art museum. Lots to do outside, too.
It's easy to avoid the unsavoury areas, not that unsavoury before 4pm, anyway. I didn't notice any cannabis, just a few "cafes" in the high tourist strip, which are obvious doss houses, easy enough to avoid.

This is where I stayed few months ago: no telly in the rooms!? But nice location otherwise. English speaking, wifi, etc.

frugalfuzzpig Wed 12-Feb-14 20:00:32

Oops namechange fail above blush

Just bumping this as I looked in the diary at work and it looks like I won't be able to take a whole week. My own fault for not booking earlier, I hadn't realised leave would be booked that early (stupid of me really) - haven't actually taken a summer holiday since I've worked there.

So I was wondering does anyone think a few days would be enough? Apparently the flight isn't much more than an hour, so is it possible to do more of a short 'City break' type thing?

RomulanBattleBagel Tue 11-Feb-14 19:37:23

Sounding better and better! The topic after artists (which is what started DD's love of Van Gogh) was shipwrecks - she is fascinated by them. We are going to the Cutty Sark in half term grin

I know absolutely nowt about the Netherlands, is Arnhem far from Amsterdam? (ie would it be possible to do both)

Velma67 Tue 11-Feb-14 18:40:42

The science museum nemo is brilliant for children. There is also a replica sailing ship at the maritime museum which is great.

If you wanted to consider elsewhere, the Kroller Muller museum has a large Van Gogh collection. It is a little bit north of Arnhem. Arnhem also has the very fabulous Open Air Museum.

Rosvita Tue 11-Feb-14 18:30:47

And frugal have a good time and enjoy it - beautiful city.

Rosvita Tue 11-Feb-14 18:30:12

3nations aspects of Amsterdam are though-as smoking cannabis is legal in the designated coffee shops there are more people walking around stoned than say in England.I am not saying it is non-family friendly- I know that there are also lots of family-friendly areas,sights and things to do.
frugalfuzzpig no need to drive over there whatsoever as others have said - tram,cycle,walk,taxi.

3nationsfamily Tue 11-Feb-14 14:33:41

Driving (and parking) in the city is a nightmare. Trams and trains are fab so no need to have a car. Even if you want to explore other places the train service is excellent.

frugalfuzzpig Tue 11-Feb-14 14:30:45

Thanks Havant I've requested a few from the library to see what's good smile

Glad that transport seems to be good too, as I forgot to mention neither of us drive. Not sure if my dad would hire a car if they came with us though.

HavantGuard Tue 11-Feb-14 11:14:10

You can prepare in advance. I'd buy the Rough Guide so that you can read up beforehand and have it with you if you need it. It will make you feel like you have been there before!

HavantGuard Tue 11-Feb-14 11:10:31

It's a lovely place to visit. You can completely avoid the red light district.

The tram is the easiest way to travel from place to place and the Van Gogh museum is brilliant. It would be easy to split up so your DSD can see the Ann Frank house and you and your DD can do something else. The queues to go into the house can be reasonable or HUGE though, so allow plenty of time.

Just keep your eyes peeled for cyclists (they zoom about) and keep some change for the toilets. The tram goes out to the suburbs so if you wanted to you could stay further out and still get around easily.

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