Amsterdam may have a reputation as a party destination, but it’s also one of the most family-friendly city breaks in Europe.

Compact and bike-friendly, Amsterdam is easy to get around – you could even hire a canal boat to see the sights in style – and its attractions tend to be both fun and educational. From DJs in art museums to the world’s highest swing, here’s where to keep the entire family happy.

A’DAM Lookout

It’s one thing snapping pictures of a city skyline from a height, but what if you could appreciate the view while sitting on a giant swing, 300ft up in the air? The world’s highest swing is located at the top of A’DAM Tower, in Noord, the city’s buzzy warehouse district. It propels you off the edge of the building and is as popular with adults as kids (suitable for four years and up). 

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© Anne Frank House / Photographer: Cris Toala Olivares

Anne Frank House

Her diaries are studied in plenty of schools around the world, but to really understand the important life of Anne Frank, make time for this educational museum. It’s located in a house on Prinsengracht, where the Frank family went into hiding for two years from 1942, and where Anne, 13 at the time, started writing her diaries. 

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Do your bit for canal clean-ups

Plastic fishing on the canals

Almost four million people take to the water each year in Amsterdam, which takes its toll on the canals. Join one of the monthly clean-up boat trips with Starboard Boats and you can help remove rubbish from the canal, lessening your impact on this popular tourist destination while still getting to cruise the waterways and ogle the pretty Dutch buildings.  

The plastic scooped from the water (a job your kids will love) is then made into everyday items like lamps, toys and even a keyring that you’ll get given as a memento of your trip. 

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Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum (Vincent Van Gogh Foundation) / Image: Jan Kees Steenman

Van Gogh Museum

More than two million people visit the Van Gogh Museum each year and for good reason – it’s home to some of the world’s most famous artworks, including Van Gogh’s iconic Sunflowers. Pick up a family guide or treasure hunt to keep your kids engaged while you admire the art.

Alternatively, mix it up and make it more appealing to your teens by visiting on a Friday evening, when you can take in the artist’s work to the sound of a live DJ. This is Amsterdam, after all. 

Bij Storm

Kids of all ages – that includes the adults among us – will love having fun at this makeshift ‘beach’ restaurant just outside central Amsterdam. There isn’t actually any water for swimming, but it’s all about the sandy vibe, with deck chairs, a mini playground, live music and a bar for the grown-ups. 

 

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