Last week, we flew our (now-8-month-old) baby boy (first long haul flight!) to the Netherlands to be with our Dutch family for our annual reunion. Most of our family lives outside of Amsterdam, so every year we spend significantly more time away from the capital than we do in it. As such, we thought it’d be nice to carve out at least a full day and a night to really enjoy the city.
We were pleasantly surprised by how family friendly the city was in general (inconvenient roadworks aside). There were also tons of kids around, and young families too. We aren’t sure how many of them were tourists vs locals, but it was still nice to see. So here’s a sneak peak at some of the places we visited over our 36 hour trip, and why we enjoyed each of them – baby in tow and all:
Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s largest public park. It begins just West of Leidseplein and Museumplein (where the Rijksmuseum is situated along with other lovely spots for both tourists and locals), and ends in the general vicinity of Willemspark (one of the most premium residential neighborhoods in the city). The park itself is lovely for walking, picnicking, and sports. On the Willemspark side, there is also a quaint al fresco eatery called Vondeltuin, right by a large playground complete with a massive jungle gym, sand pit, and benches for parents to sit and watch their kids. The restaurant serves fairly priced, general Dutch fare (I had a ham en kaas tosti [similar to a grilled ham and cheese], and my husband had kroketten op witte broodjes [Dutch croquettes on white rolls]), and a couple of Indonesian inspired choices for good measure (such as kipsate [chicken satay]).
We spent some time both lunching at Vondeltuin, and walking through the park to get from Willemspark to the Museumplein side (which is closer to the Kinderboekwinkel [children’s bookstore] we wanted to visit). The walk from one end of the park to the other took about 40 minutes (baby stroller in tow, and at a leisurely pace). Our little one is not yet on his feet, but he loved the breeze, the trees, the clean air, and the summer bustle. It gave him plenty to look at, and kept him entertained. Also, being rather nature-deprived living in the urban Jakarta jungle, the park was a breath of fresh air for us too.
#2: De Kinderboekwinkel
Rozengracht 34, 1016 NC Amsterdam
Unfortunately, I was unable take good photos of de Kinderboekwinkel (Google maps listing here). However, trust me when I say: it’s a lovely children’s bookstore on Rozengracht. It also has a “Part 2” version on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal (maps listing here), which is a bit smaller, but equally cute and useful for sourcing all your baby lit needs. Both also have a cute tractor for kids to play on outside, and a baby reading/activity area inside equipped with coloring pages and used books to flip through.
#3: Albert Cuypmarkt
Albert Cuypstraat, Amsterdam
One of my favorite places in Amsterdam is Albert Cuypmarkt – mainly because it is home to the poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes) stand that won my heart 2 years ago. It’s red, it’s helmed by a kind Dutchman, and it’s impossible to miss if you’re walking through the market.
Poffertjes aside, however, there’s also plenty more to see (and eat) along the market. It’s a narrow, long pass of stalls and stores (including ones for cheese, haring [herring, Dutch style: most commonly pickled, served on bread with chopped raw onions], Stroopwafels, and non-food-items like handmade jewelry, thrifted clothing, et al). Our one night in Amsterdam, we stayed in the Sir Albert Hotel (near Museumplein, and right by Albert Cuypmarkt), so we walked over mid-morning to have poffertjes for late breakfast and it was wonderful.
Coffee and Coconuts is a tropical-inspired cafe near Albert Cuypmarkt. It’s not remarkably familly friendly for any specific reason, but it’s friendly enough for me to say I’d be back. The cafe itself is built out of a gutted, renovated 20’s era cinema, giving it a hip, chic, semi-industrial look.
It has a wide, healthy menu, with fresh juices, coffee, organic pastries, all-day breakfast, and more to choose from. Their coffee, like at all other good cafes in Amsterdam, can be prepared across different styles (chemex, cold brew, etc). We had an afternoon snack there with friends, and ordered a Royal Apple (apple, carrot, ginger, and lime juice; €4,5), Monique’s unique brownie (Pecan, walnutand soft chocolate ganache, chewy on the inside.€3,70), CT’s coconut cookie Grated coconut and a hint of espresso – €1,70, Oedipus Beer (“Dodo”,€3,5), and a Flat White (€3,5).
I would highly recommend it for a summary afternoon as its semi-al-fresco atmosphere really lends to those sunny day vibes. They also play great music in the background, making it overall a nice cafe to pass the time or meet some friends.
In all, we had a great time in Amsterdam, and will most certainly be back every chance we get!