When the city swelters, you needn’t. Here are eight 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+.

2. Open Air Pools

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.

3. Nemo Roof Garden

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.

4. Pedalos

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. 

5. Beach

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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Rijk’s Museum Fountain and Ornamental Gardens

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.

photo credit: Top image: Yay Images. Nemo, Rijk’s Museum: Deborah Nicholls-Lee. Pllek: Flickr.

Deborah Nicholls-Lee

Deborah Nicholls-Lee is a freelance journalist who moved to the Netherlands from the UK in 2009. She is the founder of Clean Page Copy, a proofreading and copywriting service for non-native speakers of English. See her website to find out more about her work.