We crammed so much in during our time in Amsterdam, I hardly know where to begin. After the drama of our arrival, we woke up on Monday morning raring to go.
Museumplein and a Cruise
We kicked things off by walking to Museumplein, a public space that’s home to three major museums – the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. It’s also where you’ll find the famous I Amsterdam letters. Naturally, we paused to take a few photos…
I love a good museum and could have happily spent the day wandering around all three, but travelling with kids means considering their somewhat limited attention span! In the end, we spent just over an hour in the Van Gogh Museum where the children loved searching for their favourite paintings.
After a quick snack and a drink outside in the sun, we made our way to the Diamond Museum. Although the small exhibition was fairly basic, the kids absolutely loved this place and were fascinated by the information on display. Go figure! We grabbed lunch from a kiosk outside before heading to Coster Diamonds to witness the polishing process up close.
As our legs were feeling a little weary, we opted to spend the afternoon exploring the city by boat. Our I Amsterdam City Cards included a free canal cruise, so we hopped on board behind the Rijksmuseum. The trip lasted 75 minutes and it was a great way to take in the sights. Although the heat was a little stifling at times, the children’s audio guide was a real winner.
After some downtime back at the apartment, we visited Happyhappyjoyjoy for dinner and drinks. The meal was fairly expensive, but the food was great and the decor incredible. I’d definitely recommend it if you enjoy Asian cuisine.
Artis, the Jewish Cultural Quarter and NEMO
The following day was a little overcast, so we packed our rain coats for a trip to Artis, an incredible zoo in the centre of Amsterdam. We travelled there and back by tram which the kids adored and we ate lunch at Borrl Kitchen, a gorgeous little eatery opposite the main entrance.
As we were in the area known as the Jewish Cultural Quarter, we decided to split into pairs so Izzy and I could visit the Holocaust Museum and Memorial. As morbid as it might sound, I’ve always had an interest in this dark period of history and even studied the subject as part of my sociology degree. I was really keen to explore this side of the city and I was thrilled when Izzy expressed an interest too. The museum is fairly new and still a work-in-progress, but we found the exhibitions very thought-provoking and informative.
We caught up with the boys at NEMO Science Museum. If you’re travelling with kids, this place is not to be missed. It’s packed full of interactive exhibits and the views across the city from the roof terrace are pretty breathtaking.
On the way back to our apartment, we popped into Pancakes Amsterdam for a sweet treat. I sampled the Apple Crumble version which was delicious.
Later that evening we took a short walk to De Foodhallen, a relaxed indoor food market in Oud-West. The level of choice was impressive and there was also live music which created a fantastic atmosphere. We had a great time.
De Hortus, The National Maritime Museum and Anne Frank’s House
The following morning, the weather was much warmer and brighter, so we headed to Hortus Bontanicus. I have a serious weakness for greenhouses and gardens, so this was a real treat. The Butterfly House was particularly magical.
From there, we made our way to The National Maritime Museum. For Jesse, this was the highlight of our entire trip. He was completely captivated by the audio tour. Rather than racing through at a frenzied pace, he strolled slowly from one exhibit to the next. We also had a really good lunch in the museum cafe. After picking up a few souvenirs in the gift shop, we made our way back to the apartment for a rest.
Having failed to bag online tickets before our trip, I had begrudgingly accepted we wouldn’t be visiting the Anne Frank Museum during our time in Amsterdam. Four hours of queuing just isn’t my thing.
However, checking the website on a whim, I discovered two tickets had become available for that very evening. Izzy and I went without the others and it was a mother/daughter moment I’ll never forget. The whole experience was incredibly moving and we spent the slow walk back to Oud-West reflecting on so many things.
Izzy read Anne’s diary a while ago and has long understood what the holocaust was, but the full horror of it seemed to hit her after our visit to the secret annexe. ‘She was just a teenage girl like me,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Mr L.A. took Jesse to meet an old friend for dinner and drinks at Dapper, a trendy bar and restaurant less than a minute from our apartment. Izzy and I joined them just in time for cocktails. As I sipped my large G&T, we planned our itinerary for the following day, opting to venture out of the city in search of windmills.
Love Audrey xxx