Bonjour from Amsterdam!
My name is Marta. Born in Poland, I’m French and married to a Swiss/Brit. We live in Amsterdam with Tom, age two-and-a-half and Zoe who is ten months old. We love our European melting pot and the mix of languages at home.
This is our second time living in this beautiful city. We took a break and went to see what London had to offer for five years. Having loved living in Amsterdam without kids, we decided to come back when Tom joined us. It’s such a family-friendly city that we can’t imagine bringing our kids up anywhere else (for now…).
We travelled extensively before kids and we haven’t stopped. Zoe took her first flight to Thailand when she was six weeks old. We believe she caught the travel bug! We always look for interesting adventures as a family. Our next big one will be a road trip in South Africa and community work in Lesotho at the end of the year. We can’t wait.
But before that, I’d love to share with you an ideal day as a French mum in Amsterdam.
6:30 AM—“Mama, Ik Ben Wakker!”* (*”Mama, I’m awake!”)
This is the lovely sound we wake up to every morning. Tom wakes up with the sun. While we love summer, mornings are brutal! He is non-stop from that moment on. As Zoe is a big sleeper, we leave her alone. We go downstairs for some crêpes or toast with butter and chocolate sprinkles. Isn’t the best breakfast ever?
09:30AM–We usually head out to our local market, The Zuidermarkt, and stock up on our yummy supplies for the weekend. Cheese from Erik’s Delicatessen, bread, dried fruit, and nuts and vegetables. We taste everything. It’s an absolute feast for the eyes and palate.
10:30 AM–We’re so lucky to have a local private playground at the end of our street. It’s a member-only safe haven for kids nestled in a back garden between a church and private houses. This playground offers just about everything for entertaining little ones without the crowds and the wait for the swings. Forget about London’s private members’ clubs, here we have a private members’ playground!
If the weather is on our side, our ideal lunch will be a picnic in Amsterdamse Bos, the forest situated south of the city. It takes us only 20 very scenic minutes cycling on our bikes to enjoy being out in nature. There are kiddy pools, ice cream shacks, a goat farm, and lovely picnic spots. You just can’t go wrong!
After lunch, we’ll usually bike around the forest and not before long we find our kids fast asleep in their bike seats. All that fresh air does get to you and so it’s time to go back home for a rest!
Afternoon–The Rain Won’t Stop Us from Having Fun!
2:30 PM–If it rains too much (which happens a lot in Amsterdam), we’ll head to one of the numerous kindercafés in the city. Blender (https://www.blenderamsterdam.nl/) has got it right. It’s a big café is big with a large kids’ play area. We enjoy a nice cup of tea and cake there while the kids go wild in the big playroom.
If the sun is out, we love checking out the petting farm located in De Pijp (https://kinderboerderijdepijp.nl/). It’s free, right in the middle of the city, and lots of fun for kids both little and big. You can hang out with rabbits, goats, pigs, turtles, guinea pigs, geese, and ducks.
5.00 PM–Towards the end of the day, we go on a short bike ride to the Vondeltuin to expend our last ounce of energy. It’s an outdoor café in the Vondelpark with a large sandpit. Parents sit around, vaguely monitoring happy kids while sipping beer or a glass of chilled rosé. This is borrel (happy hour)!
6.00PM–Time to Head Home for Dinner
We don’t have dinner with our kids. They are fully settled in the early evening Dutch routine. However, I’m French and just can’t face dinner at 6pm! We usually cook them something simple and guaranteed to be eaten (e.g., spag bol or spaghetti bolognese any day). Then it’s bath fun, stories, and bedtime.
7.30PM–We often book our babysitter so that we can enjoy a nice dinner out. We don’t need to venture far away as Oud Zuid, our neighborhood, is filled with great options. We’ll first have a glass of wine or two at our local bar Carter (http://barcarter.nl/) where we often bump into people we know. It’s a true locals’ place!
8.30 PM–We then have dinner at Visque (https://visque.nl), a delicious fish restaurant or a quick bowl of ramen at Umaimon (https://www.umaimonramennoodle.nl/) before a movie at the Cinecenter (https://cinecenter.nl/).
Heading to Amsterdam? When you book your flights on Expedia, not only do you get great deals, but you’re also helping out Bébé Voyage, at no extra cost to you. They see that we’re sending them traffic when you start here and as a thank you they send us a small commission.