Amsterdam - minimum age?

(30 Posts)
MEgirl Wed 30-Mar-16 09:24:46

DS has expressed a wish to go to Amseterdam with a group of friends. He's only 16.5 and I've said no but was wondering what would be a suitable minimum age to set?

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Mar-16 09:27:51

My DD just flew to Portugal aged 17.5 and had a hard time getting through immigration.

DD was meeting her grandfather the other side but she was told she shouldn't be travelling alone.

No problem flying alone.

So I would think flying into Amsterdam airport maybe a bit more difficult?

MEgirl Wed 30-Mar-16 09:37:55

I'm not so worried about the travel but what they are likely to get up to. Also, I haven't looked in to age restrictions for hotels/apartments.

leonardthelemming Wed 30-Mar-16 11:56:12

Is it really getting that difficult? DS2 flew from South Africa to the UK aged 15.10 but this was some time ago and of course he was a British citizen/returning resident. He never travelled by himself in the opposite direction.

As for what he might get up to, if you can't trust him at 16, when will you be able to? And in reality, how can you stop him if he insists he's going? He can apply for an adult passport at 16, after all.

But I suppose I'm biased, because DS2 lived by himself from 16 and was absolutely fine.

I don't know for sure about hotels and such like, but some hotel chains in the UK - Premier Inn, for example - have a minimum age of 16, and Youth Hostels accept 16-year-olds as long as there are at least two of them. Since Britain seems to be more restrictive than much of Europe I wouldn't anticipate a problem, but best to check.

In my experience, immigration formalities are less of an issue for ferry passengers. (Possibly because they know for sure where you've come from.) I have never had my passport checked at St Malo, for example. That's France, of course, but there are no passport checks at all within mainland Europe so perhaps go to France by ferry and then train? Or possibly train all the way? (Eurostar to Brussels, then there's an hourly service to Amsterdam.)

CremeEggThief Wed 30-Mar-16 11:58:53

The coffee shops and bars won't serve under eighteens and are quite strict about checking i.d.

leonardthelemming Wed 30-Mar-16 12:01:03

Just thought, for the train all the way option - I think the only passport check is at St Pancras. Not a lot of use if you live in the North of England, of course, but there's a ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.

PennyHasNoSurname Wed 30-Mar-16 12:04:50

I wouldnt be happy with my dcs doing the "all mates abroad" holiday til 18, but as someone said above, technically at 16 they can go without your permission.

No way would I be paying for it!

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Mar-16 12:13:06

Sadly it seems it is difficult, well certainly travelling into Europe from UK. DD didn't have an issues at passport control in England.

Tbh it never crossed my mind it would be an issue going to Portugal and DD said anither girl from college was on the same flight, she also was stopped for a considerable length of time and this girl is native to Portugal.

I can't see an issue with traveling by train, but don't forget both immigration is at one place therefore you need to leave UK and enter EU all at St P

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Mar-16 12:14:26

Dd1 s friend went to Ibiza at 17 but needed parental consent to book the holiday. She went and sadly got swine flu on the third day and wanted to get home

leonardthelemming Wed 30-Mar-16 12:14:37

As Penny said, I wouldn't pay for it either. And tbh, if I had a son that age now I would far rather he went with a gf than a group of mates. But as I said upthread, you can't actually stop him. Personally though, I wouldn't be sorting out his travel and accommodation - if he's mature enough to go, he ought to be capable of doing that himself.

corythatwas Wed 30-Mar-16 12:22:59

If it is a question of what he might get up to, then we MNers can't really set an age limit: some boys are more mature at 15 than others at 21 and we don't know your ds. Maybe it might make sense to rephrase the question as "how difficult would his age make it to walk away from his mates if they engage in dangerous behaviour/cope on his own/sort out any trouble with police/hospitals etc if the worst happens?".

If he cannot even book his own accommodation and sort flights I think I would assume he won't be able to cope with any situations that might arise either. Oh and you are not obliged to fund anything that you haven't chosen because you think it would be a nice thing to give him.

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Mar-16 13:43:43

Arent most 16 year olds working part time and have there own money to pay for trips, holidays, clothes etc, why would parents be funding holidays?

lljkk Wed 30-Mar-16 17:56:38

Most 16yos are not working PT... Oh, how I wish.
A holiday means not spending all time gaming. damned if we do, damned if we don't

16yo DS got to & from Berlin, last month (with a 17yo mate). Flew Ryan Air. I seem to recall Ferry wouldn't take under 18yo... but flying no problem. He ended up spending a lot of time with Syrian refugees.

NameAgeLocation Wed 30-Mar-16 18:04:48

He will need to be 18 to go to a coffee shop or have a drink.

If he is a sensible type I might let him go, but would make sure he is clear on the above (they are strict) and would also pound the following facts into his head:

Drugs sold on the street are not always what they seem and may kill you en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Amsterdam_drug_deaths

Young men disappear here, well I wouldn't say often, but not infrequently. They are often found in canals. www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g188590-i60-k6586857-WARNING_to_tourists_be_careful_of_the_canals-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province.html (And plenty of sad stats on Google).

Sorry to be a downer but living here, I am sadly all too aware of the dangers for young tourists. I hope it helps to answer your question.

NellysKnickers Wed 30-Mar-16 18:12:13

18 for Amsterdam I would say. Although my boys won't be going until they are at least 30 due to the couple of 'lost' weekends I've experienced there grin

Travelledtheworld Wed 30-Mar-16 19:48:10

I would say 18 unless he is really sensible.
what is his motive for going ? If drink and drugs then definitely no.
If he does manage to organise and pay for himself....
there is a good alternative youth hostel chain called " stay okay" which is good value.

Also he needs a plan in case of major terrorist alert and public transport and airports get shut down....

Coconutty Wed 30-Mar-16 19:51:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alltouchedout Wed 30-Mar-16 19:53:42

They can go abroad without me/ their dad/ school teachers etc when they are 18. Until then, haha no. Get a caravan in Yarmouth.

Bunbaker Wed 30-Mar-16 19:54:20

"Arent most 16 year olds working part time and have there own money to pay for trips, holidays, clothes etc, why would parents be funding holidays?"

I doubt it. Where we live part time jobs are hard to come by.

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Mar-16 20:04:55

Oh I'm in Midlands and plenty of jobs here. All of dd2s friends work part time. It's how they can afford the festival's, clothes etc

Bunbaker Wed 30-Mar-16 20:11:22

Oh, I'm in South Yorkshire where they are just about to make hundreds of people redundant in yet more steelworks closures.

Smug much ivykaty44

caroldecker Wed 30-Mar-16 20:43:52

My boy went to Oman on his own at 16 - it depends on the child and your trust in his ability to look after himself.

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Mar-16 21:18:46

Bunbaker why on earth would I be smug about steel workers losing their jobs ffs, I have lived through the ghost towns of the car industry in the Midlands

Archfarchnad Wed 30-Mar-16 21:43:19

DD1 (17) flew by herself to Amsterdam last month, but for a university open day rather than a holiday with friends. There was no problem with the flight or the airport, she flew with EasyJet. We did give her a piece of paper signed by us both, confirming that we had given permission for her to travel alone (this is pretty standard in Germany, where we live). I booked her into a hostel called Shelter, which is run by Christians so has a very different ethos from the 'yeah man, we have a smoking room' kind of place - in fact smoking and alcohol are banned there, which DD1 was quite happy about. She slept in a single-sex 4-bed dorm. But they also keep a closer eye on the younger clientele, which I was very happy about - and they certainly had no problems with her being under 18. They have two branches, one in the centre, near the Red Light district, and the other in Jordaan, where it's a bit quieter.

But what DD1 was doing is very different from a lads' trip; I'd be less happy with that. DD1 has flown by herself before so I knew she could manage that (even the ticket machines at the airport being in Dutch only). And DD1 is also used to living in a big city so could cope with people approaching her (didn't happen anyway). It all comes down to your DS's personality, and that of his friends. Essentially, would they be going solely mainly with the idea that they can get stoned and ogle women in windows (and is that a really stupid question)? If yes, then tell them they can go on a bike trip round the Lake District instead.

Iflyaway Wed 30-Mar-16 21:58:16

love Amsterdam but think there are lots of parts you wouldn't want a 16yo walking around, even in the daytime really

Where on earth do you get that from?? I live here, have done for years and can guarantee that's a load of rubbish. I have DS who grew up here, no problems.

Even the whole place Red Light District is crawling with tourists anyway...

And yes it's true, he won't be able to even buy beer or wine in a supermarket without showing age ID at the cashier, never mind a café, bar or coffeeshop.

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