Emmy McCarthy, Managing Director of Amsterdam Mamas, shares her must-have apps for parents in Amsterdam.

I am welded to my iPhone. It runs my life. Especially since I became a parent, started running Amsterdam Mamas and developed a serious case of baby brain.

All of these app recommendations are for iPhone because that is what I use, and according to our web data over 70% of you are also using iPhones to run your lives. Sorry Android Mamas, though many of these listed are also available for Android.


Most of the major banks have a banking app you can use. We bank with ABN Amro and their app is pretty good although it is a huge drawback to have to use the e-identifier if you want to set up a payment to someone new. I think ING’s TAN Code format where a unique code is SMS’d to you each time is better for a smartphone user.


Ah, the weather. We’re obsessed with it here; nobody likes getting caught in the rain. I use a combination of the following apps to plan our movements around town.

WeatherPro (paid) – Probably the most accurate for forecasting the day. Even my 4-year-old asks to check it each morning so that he can dress appropriately for the bike ride to school.

BuienRadar – The best known and most used app (also a website) for planning when to leave the house (or not!). Buienradar shows you maps of rain clouds so you know when they are coming.

BuienAlarm – A surprisingly accurate app which will send you a notification 10-15 minutes before it expects rain. It also gives you a 2 hour overview of the weather including how much rain might fall.


Resiplanner from NS – The national train service app. Use it to plan journeys and check for disruptions or delays on your route.

9292 – Your travel bible in the city (also works across the Netherlands). Put in your starting point and your destination then let the app do the work of calculating the various journey options for you. It also has a handy function which will show you the transport options at your nearest bus/tram stop and an overview of delays and disruptions .

Schiphol – The official app from Schiphol Airport is a travel essential. Load in your flight details or the details of people visiting you and receive regular updates on the status of the flights. In-laws landed 20 minutes early? This app will warn you in advance.

Uber – Uber is blowing up the taxi service market in Amsterdam. Slick and easy to use the app links to your PayPal account so you don’t even need cash on hand to pay. Every trip I have taken with Uber has been excellent. There are of course drawbacks – they don’t have as many drivers on the road so you may have to wait longer for a taxi. Also, during busy periods a higher charge applies, which you are notified of before you book. There seem to be a lot of busy times. A good alternative is the TCA app.


We live in the most beautiful city in the world (in my opinion!) and as parents, we take a lot of photos. The iPhone camera is good, but these apps make it better.

Camera+ (paid) – Takes your photo skills up a notch and gives you much more control over your camera settings.

Little Moments (paid) – Great filters, ability to add text quickly. If you like playing around with your photos, this is a good one.  

Try Afterlight, A Beautiful Mess and Studio Design as alternatives. (all paid)


iTranslate – provides a good quick service for short sentences or individual words

Babelshot (paid) – If you are faced with a letter from school, the bank, or the gemeente that you need a quick translation of the Babelshot is your go-to app. Snap a photo of the letter and the app will translate it for you. Witchcraft! It’s not perfect but it’s good enough for the everyday.


This really depends on what you prefer and what your friends are using. I use a combination of Facetime, Skype, Whats App, and Facebook Messenger. Friends are also big fans of Viber for international calls.

What have I missed? What are the apps you can’t live without for family life in the city?

photo credit: Jan Persiel via photopin cc

Emmy Coffey McCarthy

Emmy McCarthy was the Director of Stichting Amsterdam Mamas. She is a Mama, Entrepreneur and Connector on a never-ending quest for balance in her life.