When the city swelters, you needn’t. Here are nine ways to keep your cool with the kids on a hot day in Amsterdam.
1. Fun Forest
Let the kids make like apes on the climbing trails at FunForest, sheltered under the shady bowers of the Amsterdamse Bos. Courses vary in difficulty, from a small, free-of-charge circuit suitable for 4+, to the challenging treetop 'black gorilla' for 14+.
Splash around in one of Amsterdam's open air pools, scattered throughout the city. There are paddling pools for small children and larger pools with lane swimming and slides for the older ones.
Visit the roof garden 'Energetica' on the 5th floor of Nemo, Amsterdam's impressive science museum. Enjoy the sweeping panorama of Amsterdam and sip something refreshing in the chic café at the top while the kids play in the solar-powered fountains below. It's free if you take the steps from the Oosterdok, and your kids might even learn something.
Rent a pedalo (canal bike) and explore Amsterdam's 17th century waterways. When you’re too warm to pedal, linger under a canal bridge and enjoy the sudden drop in temperature.
A surprisingly good option during a heatwave, this underground soft-play centre provides a welcome couple of hours respite from the scorching sun and is always quiet on a hot day.
Take a paddle at the beach. There are city beaches in all four corners of Amsterdam. With their trendy cafés and sandy play areas, there is something for everyone.
7. Jeugdland and Woeste Westen
These outdoor adventure centres offer rugged, action-filled play in a natural setting; think rope swings, rafts, and stepping stones. If the water doesn't cool the kids down, the mud will.
8. Ice Cream
Cheer up your frazzled family with an ice-cold cornet of something sweet and creamy. There are branches of the Dutch Ijscuype all around Amsterdam. If you really want to fill some time, take the kids to Montepelmo in the Jordaan. It will take them half an hour to pick their favourite from the myriad options, which include some surprising flavours, such as lime & basil or spicy strawberry.
Admire the sculptures in these elegant gardens set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rijk's museum. The Children will love daring themselves to run into the middle of the timed fountain. The prettyTuinhuis kiosk has it sorted, selling prosecco and mini champagne bottles for the grown-ups and ice lollies for the children. When the kids have had enough, pop over to Museumplein and let them wade in the pond while you grab some shade and a cool drink at the Cobra café.
Deborah Nicholls-Lee is a British national who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. A former French and English teacher, she now works as a freelance writer and editor while raising her two children. See her website to find out more about her work.