As you may know, we try to spend some quality time with our girls individually every year by taking them on a city break with either mom or dad. This was five-year-old Jade’s first weekend trip abroad where she had me all to herself. We always try to get the kids involved in the travel destination and program, even more so for these one-on-one trips. Jade insisted on taking the train for a change, which made for an easy choice in destination. With no set date, we relied on the weather and to pick the timing for this trip. The forecast for the third weekend of October looked exceptionally good and, with only 2 days to go, we booked our Thalys train and hotel for our unforgettable mother-daughter trip to Amsterdam.
I love purposely getting lost when on a city break and Amsterdam is just the place to do that. With the maze of waterways and bridges, it’s a treat to get off the beaten path and just soak in the convivial atmosphere and admire the well-maintained narrow houses.
Highlights of our mother-daughter trip to Amsterdam (according to Jade)
In the second half of October, the Dam is home to a fair. We’re tend to pass for the rather spectacular attractions and favor a more classic experience. This time was no different: Jade had her heart set on the giant wheel.
An excellent choice, if you ask me. The panorama proved to be spectacular and the ride lasted for about 15 minutes. Plenty of time to enjoy the view and snap some shots.
With so many canal cruises to choose from, I had done my research and found the ideal boat for this sunny weekend: the open boat. We didn’t book in advance but that wasn’t a problem. Upon arrival, we simply requested the cruise of our choice in the booking counter across from the central station and could still choose our preferred departure time. We opted for the sunset cruise.
The boat itself was larger and more modern than on the website but that couldn’t spoil the fun. During the cruise, which lasts 75 minutes, the guide skilfully navigated through countless canals while pointing out some landmarks and sharing all kinds of facts. Jade enjoyed the experience, the breeze and the ducks while enthusiastically waving at other cruisers passing by.
There’s a museum for everyone in Amsterdam so we had to include at least one during this mother-daughter trip to Amsterdam. I was very tempted to try out the kids’ programme in the Rijksmuseum but finally decided to take Jade to the more intimate Rembrandt House. I figured she would remember more from this kind of experience focused on one artist from then a series of works of different artists. There’s a free discovery trail for kids and, once completed, they can trade it in for a souvenir.
The museum was very interesting. Quite obviously, I don’t expect Jade to name all of Rembrandt’s artworks by name. I do hope, however, that she will associate Amsterdam with the painter Rembrandt, the name ‘Night Watch’ (just liked the popular Flemish children’s television series) and the use of oil paint. That last one may seem a bit advanced but the Rembrandt house does host demonstrations in paint preparation. And since Jade was the only child present, she was given the opportunity to prepare the paint herself by mixing linseed oil with pigment. A proud moment for her and the reason why I expect her to remember this interesting fact.
We loved the cute cheese shops! My late grandmother used to have her own cheese shop so you could say that cheese is part of our Clan’s heritage. Therefore, we couldn’t resist tasting the different varieties in about every cheese shop we encountered.
Officially accredited as safety shoes thanks to the steel nose, the typical Dutch clogs are also popular souvenirs for tourists. Not only that, they also make for a great photo prop.
About 1,5 year ago, we visited the Royal Delft factory so Jade was delighted to find a Delftware shop in Amsterdam. And the bench surely looked inviting!
What a great place for a picnic or a stroll! Thanks to the gorgeous weather, the place was buzzing with tourists and locals alike but since it’s so spacious, it never felt overcrowded.
Meanwhile, at home…
At home, both CosmopoliDad Fatih and my parents made sure Alegra had a great time too.
Our least favorite neighbourhoods in Amsterdam
The Leidseplein wasn’t our favorite during this mother-daughter trip to Amsterdam. No surprise, since it is mostly known as the place to be for a night out. I did appreciate the stunning Stadsschouwburg and Jade loved the fountain.
The nearby Vondelpark sounded promising. I read some really good reviews on the play garden of the Groot Melkhuis. So, we walked up there from the Leidseplein, with high hopes. But boy, what a disappointment! The play area consists of nothing but some olds swings, slides and a zip line with lots of wear and tear. It was a complete waste of time and energy, especially for Jade’s little legs.
Our favorite neighbourhood in Amsterdam
We absolutely loved the Negen Straatjes, literally ‘nine little streets’, an area connecting the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel. It is such a picturesque neighbourhood with many locals, nice little cafes as well as quaint little shops and boutiques. What a great place to spend some time.
The terrace of the Occo brasserie in the stylish The Dylan boutique hotel makes a great setting for a delicious lunch.
Finally, also the nearby Begijnhof, with it’s not-so-secret historic garden, is well worth a visit. Even though the last nun died in 1971, the Begijnhof houses are still exclusively reserved for women.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
- Pulitzer Amsterdam*****
- The Dylan Amsterdam*****
- CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam City****
- Hotel Not Hotel***
Time to plan your mother-daughter trip to Amsterdam
Or father-daughter, mother-son, father-son trip… whatever works for you. Amsterdam is just the right size to explore with a kid in tow. The city’s charm and relaxed vibe make it a really easy-going and family friendly destination.
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