I’m sure the saying is something like, Paris is always a good idea. But, in our home it’s Amsterdam. Amsterdam is always a good idea.
It’s why we opted to take the 2-hour each way trek from our home base in Germany when we were in Europe last summer to spend about 5 hours in Amsterdam.
And it’s why it’s about time that I get this post up.
Without further ado, let’s look at some awesome books for kids preparing for a trip to Amsterdam.
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Click here for more cities in my best children’s books for trips series.
Favorite children’s books for a trip to Amsterdam
Learn Dutch with Books
I think a trip to a new country should always include spending time learning a little of the language. There doesn’t seem to be a good book/cd combo for teaching basic Dutch phrases to kids, so I’m going to recommend three items here.
Dutch for Beginners – Kids
by Amyas Andrea
This is definitely an introductory book for kids. It includes very basic words and sentences. It’s also available in Kindle version.
Pimsleur Dutch Basic Course Level 1
This isn’t a book, but CDs. It’s also not geared towards kids. However, I think it’s important for kids to hear the language before they go and this is definitely a more affordable option.
DinoLingo Dutch for Kids
The DinoLingo DVD and flashcard set comes in at a much higher pricepoint. It’s a good pick for those who really want to expose their children to kid-friendly tools for learning the language.
Sophie Stork’s Amsterdam Adventure Book
by Jacobine de Zwaan and illustrated byTatiana van der Linden
This book is geared towards the youngest Amsterdam visitors and includes illustrations and poetry about Amsterdam’s Top 10 tourist sites for families. There’s also a bit of information for the parents planning the trip.
KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Amsterdam, Netherlands
by Shannon Jones and illustrated by Casey Uhelski
KeeKee the cat travels around the world and this trip takes her to Amsterdam. Aside from seeing some of the great sites, there’s also a glossary and pronunciation guide, a map of Amsterdam, and a list of sites to see.
Mission Amsterdam: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure
by Catherine Aragon
My husband and I took our first trip to Amsterdam when I was pregnant with my first. It was also the first time we decided to do a photo scavenger hunt during our travels. So, I love a good scavenger hunt and I like this on that is geared towards kids/families visiting Amsterdam. (Ie. YOU!)
Knuffle Bunny Free
by Mo Willems
So this is technically not an Amsterdam-centered book. I wanted to include it for several reasons. First, kids love Mo Willems’ books. Second, this popular series sees Knuffle Bunny headed to Holland. So, readers get to join the family
Children’s books about the people behind some of Amsterdam’s famous sites
The Diary of Anne Frank
Many “things to do in Amsterdam” lists include a visit to the Anne Frank Attic. I, also, encourage you to visit, but only if you think it’s something your kids can handle. It’s a two-point thing. Are they mature enough to behave in a respectful manner? And is the Anne Frank story too sensitive of a subject? For our family, our trip to Amsterdam when my son was less than a year old meant that we let the visiting grandparents watch him while we took the tour.
Whether you decide to go or not, this abridged version of The Diary of Anne Frank is a good book to read about beforehand. Older kids may appreciate the unabridged version, while even younger kids may appreciate the Who Was Anne Frank book instead.
Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artist
At Museumplein there are two museums that are definitely worth a visit. The Rijksmuseum and The Von Gogh Museum.
The Rijksmuseum showcases many Dutch artists and more, but my favorite is Rembrandt’s, the Night Watch. However, this is Amsterdam. Even if you skip the Rijksmuseum, you may run into Rembrandt. Like, you could visit his former home/current museum at Rembrandt House Museum in another area of the city. So take a moment to learn about his art. And the Rembrandt, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artist, is a good place to start.
For those heading to the Van Gogh Museum, the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artist has a book for you, too. You can find out more about it here.
Books about Amsterdam for older kids
Melanie Martin Goes Dutch: The Private Diary of My Almost Bummer Summer with Cecily, Matt the Brat, and Vincent Van Go Go Go
by Carol Weston
This is a fun chapter book that states it’s for kids in grades 4 – 6, but I think it works for
My favorite travel book for kids
Of all the books that I’ve seen via working on this site (and that’s well over 3,000) this one is actually my favorite. It’s not specific to Amsterdam, but there are a lot of Amsterdam sites. I love that it’s wordless so it gives kids an option to create their own story. There’s a companion book to go with it that I need to check out some time.
This is what I have right now for children’s books for families visiting Amsterdam. However, you can also check out the Netherlands section of our Global Bookshelf to get an idea of the country as a whole. Including my favorite picture book, probably, ever (Holland) and a book about the Netherlands illustrated by Eric Carle.
And bookmark it because I always add more.
Tips for visiting Amsterdam with Kids
I love to include a few tips for visiting cities when I can. Amsterdam is definitely one of my favorite places to give tips about.
First of all, know that it’s very child-friendly. Between the delicious food (pancakes, poffertjes, and the stroopwafels), the gorgeous attractions, and easy transportation – you can’t go wrong.
Here are some of my favorite things to recommend to families visiting Amsterdam:
- CRUISE THE CANAL: There are so many options for cruises. You can rent a small boat, go on an hour tour (there are several places to pick up an hour tour, near Centraal Station and near the Hard Rock Cafe.) Definitely go on a canal cruise. If you can swing it, make it even more fun by doing a pancake or pizza cruise. Check
ou tViator for many options.
- BOOK A ROOM WITH A VIEW: The DoubleTree may not be my favorite hotel chain, but the DoubleTree next to Centraal Station is one of my favorite hotels. The rooms have floor to ceiling windows looking out over the city. They’re modern with all Apple products. The ground floor has a playroom for the kids, and, of course
,the famous DoubleTree cookie. It’s also located right next to Centraal Station, Amsterdam’s Library, and a short walk to the awesome NEMO Science Museum. You can book a room here.
- BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE FOR SKIP THE LINE ACCESS: If you want to go to some of the places I mentioned in this post, save yourself the hassle of seriously long lines and buy your tickets in advance. The lines WILL be long. The only time I remember seeing short lines for the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum was on January 1. All the other times of the year, no such luck. Amsterdam is way too much fun to spend too much time in lines. (Side note – When we were at the Rijksmuseum we were able to skip the line simply because we had a stroller… I wonder if that’s still the case.) You can order skip the line tickets on Viator for the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, or the Rembrandt House. You can purchase Anne Frank House tickets directly on their website.
- LEARN ABOUT THE CITY: I love walking tours and the information you can learn about the city with one. There are several options available from a Free Walking Tour to a Ph.D. led tour via Context Tours to or a food tour and all things in between. The tour you pick depends on your budget, time constraints, and what your children can handle. My children tend to be walking tour champs. However, if the weather or their demeanor has you wanting to learn about the city another way, the Amsterdam Museum is a great stop.
- GET OUT OF AMSTERDAM: Oh, I love Amsterdam. But, if I’m being honest, I just love the Netherlands. There are so many amazing places to visit as an easy day trip from the capital. Some of my favorites include Zaanse Schans – an old windmill town not too far via train, Den Haag – make sure to add Madurodam and Scheveningen to your itinerary, Rotterdam – awesome modern architecture and the second largest port in Europe, and Arnhem – slightly farther away, but with one of the best Open Air Museums, a National Park, and more, it’s worth the trip.
For more tips for families visiting the Netherlands, check out my post about Family-Friendly NL.