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April with kids- need advice

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
137 posts
56 reviews
April with kids- need advice

Our family will be in Amsterdam early in April. Kids are 9, 16, 17. My husband and I have been to Amsterdam several other times, but w/o kids. Must sees for us are the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh.

- We'd love to rent bikes, but the youngest isn't fully confident by himself, so we'd need a tag-a-long if they exist there. I've looked up a number of rental places, but it's not looking good. Any suggestions, or should we just give up on that idea?

- Since it will be tulip/flower season, a trip to Keukenhof might be in order. Does it make sense to do a tour (coach bus that brings us there)? Would it be worthwhile to bundle the Keukenhof trip with another sidetrip, such as to Haarlem through a tour operator, or Amsterdam canal tour? Or should we just arrange for public transport?

Thanks in advance for you help!

Fort Worth, Texas
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
14,624 posts
1. Re: April with kids- need advice

ive seen parents throw their kids in the boxes on these type bikes..you could probably rent one.

bakfiets.nl/eng/modellen/cargobike/long/

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
2. Re: April with kids- need advice

Even to adults wanting to rent bikes I always say, please have a look at our hectic traffic situation before deciding. Leave alone adolescents.

Thousands upon thousands of locals get around by bike and are on a serious mission to get to appointments, work, school. We ride with purpose and I guess others could call it 'aggressively'. Wavering and insecure tourists can cause annoyances and dangers.

And in many places you share the narrow road with cars and trucks. There are traffic rules not all foreigners are used to. For example bike lanes are one-way unless otherwise indicated, so only use the bike lanes to the right side of a road. Look over your shoulder and indicate with your hand before turning left, another cyclists might be directly next to you in the process of overtaking you.

That bakfiets that Steve linked to: even I as a local find that thing quite hard to get used to and to control with two toddlers in it. The wheel being that far to the front makes it a completely different type of vehicle that takes time to get used to. It is not meant to carry big kids (say over 6 y/o). The weight would simply topple the bike over.

Even this model would not be fit for a 9 year old, and is also harder to control. www.macbike.nl/photo-gallery/childtandem/

It's probably safer for everyone if you just ride through Vondelpark without motorized traffic, or other quieter areas outside the center.

Sorry I don't know anything about Keukenhof. There is a 'Top Question' about it at the top right of the page.

Buy your Anne Frank House tickets months in advance (possibly they become available in January... start checking from now on). www.annefrank.org That way you can skip the long line. Or else you will have to queue, possibly for more than an hour.

Van Gogh Museum is open on Friday evenings and I hear it's quieter then.

You may enjoy this page: iamsterdam.com/en/…families-and-children

Have fun!

http://cile.home.xs4all.nl/

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
137 posts
56 reviews
3. Re: April with kids- need advice

Thanks for the information.

Our intent for the bike ride was to go outside or outskirts of the city- potentially on a tour. In the past, I've watched in awe as hundreds of bikers navigate the Amsterdam streets, along with trams, cars and horses (mounted policeman) --- and Cecelia, you are right! It's not a great place for tourists on a leisurely ride.

If in the end, we don't do the bike ride, it 's not the end of the world.....

Just checked on Anne Frank tickets and not available yet, but will keep checking! Van Gogh tickets already available. When we booked our flights, I wasn't thinking about April being prime time for tourists in Amsterdam, but after struggling to find a place to stay, I'm realizing how busy it will be. We finally found a great VRBO in a good location ---- now just need to plan our days, with enough flexibility that it doesn't seem like a death march for the kids.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
4. Re: April with kids- need advice

Ah okay! In that case I'd say rent bikes at MacBike at Central Station (preferably with at least 3 gears), take the free IJplein ferry from the back of Central Station, heading northeast (see the blue dots in the water for the ferry routes, in Google Maps), and cycle to some picturesque villages nearby. Early April you may already see baby geese, lambs etc. too. In reply #3 in this post is my Google Maps suggestion for a mellow countryside ride, taking in the prettiest streets in (otherwise quite modern/grey) northern Amsterdam and getting you to the pretty villages. And returning via another way, if you wish.

tripadvisor.com/…0

Make sure to take the IJplein ferry which has a separate platform, the other ferries would make things more complicated.

Edited: 30 December 2015, 20:16
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
5. Re: April with kids- need advice

P.S. MacBike, and Yellow Bike, and Mike's Bikes also offer 'countryside bike tours' with a guide. In case you don't mind being in a group with a fixed schedule, but prefer having someone show you the way and tell you some stories. You can find reviews for those companies if you type their names in the uppermost search box here above the forums, where it says "What are you looking for?"

On their web pages it's always a bit vague where they go. Or they go quite far, all the way to Marken. My Canadian friend is very fit and sporty but her muscles started to ache after about 15 kilometers on a bike. It's just not a movement lots of people are used to.

Also, booking a bike tour will get you stuck on a day which may bring bad weather. Better let a bike trip depend on the weather.

Edited: 30 December 2015, 20:21
Orlando, Florida
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19 posts
37 reviews
6. Re: April with kids- need advice

We are planning to go with DD (5) in April too.

Several years ago I took a tour to Keukenhoff. It was an amazing place, but because of the tour times I did not have nearly enough time to see it (& I was racing around on my own). This year we will go on our own so we have time to enjoy the experience.

Needless to say, with a five year old, we will not even attempt bicycles. I'm torn on Anne Frank House. I've been there and it's so moving, but I don't know that she's old enough to understand.

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
137 posts
56 reviews
7. Re: April with kids- need advice

I'm struggling to help my 9 year old understand the circumstances during WWII, in order to fully appreciate the Anne Frank House!

Thanks for input on Keukenhoff. We'll likely find transport there ourselves. We also want to make sure it's a nice day, so we don't want to be locked into a schedule.

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
137 posts
56 reviews
8. Re: April with kids- need advice

Thanks so much for all your help. Slightly off topic--- but we're going to be taking a train from London to Amsterdam with a train change in Brussels. Is it worth a couple of hours layover to check out the main square, Grand Place? It would be about lunch time, so I'm thinking we could leave our bags in a locker, jump on a tram (or walk the 22 minutes) to the square and get a bite to eat. Haven't been in Brussels before-- but the square looks impressive!

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
9. Re: April with kids- need advice

Well I'm not a big fan of Brussels, but Grand Place is about the only interesting place. And cafe Mort Subite is nice.

The restaurants in the direct vicinity of Grand Place are very touristy and probably overpriced.

New York City, New...
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931 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: April with kids- need advice

Have you considered having your 9 year old and other children read the Diary of Anne Frank? Millions of school children have read it around the world. Reading the diary will make the visit to her home so much more meaningful.