Netherlands Travel
June 12, 2008 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations of things not to miss in Amsterdam on trip this month

I have about 6 days in Amsterdam and 2 days in Belgium with a 14 year old boy and 15 year old girl. What sorts of things should we not miss on our travels including touristy things, scenery, museums, food? Since the US dollar vs Euro is so bad, bonus for ideas that are not too expensive.
posted by maxg94 to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Hey are you gonna be there for the meetup on Sat the 21st?

I just found out about this group that does cheap canal boat rides: St. Nicolaas Boat Club of Amsterdam

They don't technically charge anything but they except donations.
posted by chillmost at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2008

If you fancy a movie, my favourite cinema is in Amsterdam. The Tuschinski, looks a little odd on the outside but inside is gorgeous, thick carpets, beautiful furnishings, tiered seating. If you're used to multiplexes this will come as a fantastic change. It shows big US films, with the original English voices so no problem understanding. It's pretty central and easy to get to on foot, if you search for tuschinski on google maps its the only place in Amsterdam. Their film line up is at
posted by biffa at 6:03 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also great things to do in Amsterdam outside for families:

- Visit vondelpark
- Canal cruise
- Consider getting a museum card if that's your sort of thing and, by paying one price, you can see as many museums as you want in Amsterdam - there are many great art museums.
- Albert Cuyp markt is a great open-air market on the weekends where you can buy fresh food and other stuff.
posted by mateuslee at 6:20 AM on June 12, 2008

Rent bicycles. Ride the tram. Walk through the Jordan.

Food? Frites met mayo.
posted by three blind mice at 6:24 AM on June 12, 2008

Van Gogh Museum was the highlight for me. That and the great buds.
posted by baphomet at 6:32 AM on June 12, 2008

The Anne Frank Musuem was very powerful and sobering. I was there in 2000 and it still gives me shivers when I think about it. Perhaps not the most uplifting thing for a vacation but it is a very important piece of the world's history.
posted by mmascolino at 6:58 AM on June 12, 2008

Seconding mateuslee's ideas. Especially museum card, as museums here are very expensive individually. Note that it doesn't cover the Anne Frank House, which is a must see.

Rent bikes, have a meal in the Pijp, go to the small galleries in the centre. Visit the public library and the galleries near Centraal. Get out of town and see Utrecht and Haarlem, smaller, beautiful cities away from the crowds.

Belgium has some excellent galleries and parks as well, if your kids are into it maybe take a tour of some of the EU areas. Rent a city bike!
posted by wingless_angel at 7:47 AM on June 12, 2008

I still remember the herring I bought on the street. Likely a not-yet-acquired taste for the kids, but way better than anything back home.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:56 AM on June 12, 2008

You cannot miss the NEMO science centre. It's awesome, and it's all bilingual. Their motto is "You are forbidden not to touch".

Also, if you can stand to take a one hour drive out of the centre then there is the Walibi World theme park.
posted by alby at 8:17 AM on June 12, 2008

In Amsterdam, don't get sucked in to the "torture museum"- it's lame (and the most frightening part is it's inaccuracy). I enjoyed the Waterlooplein Flea Market and seeing Rembrandt's Night Watch done in life sized bronze sculptures at Rembrandtplein. It's especially pretty when it's lit up at night.

In Beligium, you might like the Art Noueveu walking tour in Brussles, but I'd also highly recommend taking the train to Namur and climbing up the citadelle. They have a Felicien Rops museum there, which may or may not be appropriate for your kids... I enjoyed it, but you may want to look into it before you go. Bruges is a hoot- like Amsterdam for old ladies. They troll the streets for lace and chocolate like frat guys do for pot and hookers. It is very pretty though and astonishingly old. The canal rides are much nicer than in Amsterdam. You should also climb the bell tower there- the view is worth all 300-ish steps.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 8:55 AM on June 12, 2008

Visit the Anne Frank Museum, but go very early in the morning. It gets really busy.
posted by Martin E. at 9:42 AM on June 12, 2008

Belgium: highly recommend Ghent, if your kids like wandering about a very old city with some great architecture: lovely cathedral/churches, behijnhof(s), turn of the century socialist buildings, castle, cloth hall, and amazing pubs (not, perhaps, for the kids). I rate it more than Brugge/Bruge because it's less touristy, although Brugge's lovely too. Like all of Belgium, it's easy to get to from anywhere else in Belgium.
posted by YouRebelScum at 9:44 AM on June 12, 2008

Seconding Ghent.
posted by phrontist at 9:53 AM on June 12, 2008

Have an Indonesian rijsttafel for dinner one night. YUM.
posted by medeine at 11:27 AM on June 12, 2008

Renting bikes is the best way to get around Amsterdam, but you (and especially your children) will need to be careful and watch out for cars, trams, other bicycles, and (perhaps most importantly) pedestrians (read: clueless tourists walking into bike lanes).

I highly recommend going to the Anne Frank House in the evening, after 6 or 7 pm. I did this recently and there was no line whatsoever.

I haven't taken it myself, but a friend recently took the St. Nicolaas Boat Tour mentioned above and spoke very highly of it. That being said, my understanding is that the tour occasionally gets a little "blue" and there is a more than decent chance that other folks will be smoking cannabis on the ride. Since you're traveling with the kids, you may want to keep that in mind.

The Jordaan and the nearby De 9 Straatjes is a really nice place to walk around, particularly if you get a little burned out on the more touristy areas.

The Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum are practically next to each other and definitely worth a stop. You could do both in about 2 hours.

For Belgium, I enjoyed Bruges a bit more than Ghent and you could easily spend an enjoyable couple of days there. It's not very big, but there's a lot to see in the area and it's very easy to get around, particularly by bicycle. For me, the best thing about Bruges is taking a bicycle ride in the early evening before dark. You will have much of the streets to yourself between 6 and 10 pm as most the tourists seem to pack it in around then.

Brussels is also highly recommended, particularly the area around the Grand Place. Touristy, but still magnificent.
posted by dhammond at 2:59 PM on June 12, 2008

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