West of Vondelpark lie the family-friendly neighbourhoods of Hoofddorppleinbuurt and Schinkelbuurt. With direct access to the Vondelpark and Rembrandtpark, great restaurants and shops, convenient transport links and a good mix of Dutch and International schools, these neighbourhoods are ideal for anyone looking for a family-friendly vibe without having to trade-off a city buzz!
Both neighbourhoods are part of Amsterdam-Zuid, but divided by the Schinkel River. A rather novel feature of living here is that you will often have to wait to cross the canal, while several bridges are lifted. This is due to the relatively high level of leisure yacht traffic that passes between the Ring canal at Haarlemmermeer and the IJ. I haven’t lived here long enough to find the wait time frustrating and still enjoy the charm of watching the boats pass by.
Having moved here only 6 months ago I am still discovering new parts of the neighbourhoods and the recommendations are based on my personal preferences. I am sure there are gems I have missed being a relatively new resident and I look forward to adding to the guide based on your insights and on on-going discoveries!
The architecture in these two neighbourhoods varies slightly, in Schinkelbuurt houses are slightly older and from the beginning of the 20th century and in Hoofddorppleinbuurt they date back to the 1920-30s. Prices are steep like the rest of central Amsterdam, but you get a bit more space for your money in Hoofddorppleinbuurt than in other neighbouring areas of Zuid.
The location is the best part of the area for me. Its central, but still feels quaint. The ease of getting to all parts of Amsterdam makes it a very convenient place to live. My commute to work through Vondelpark is pretty cool, even on a rainy day and I am only a 10 min drive to the airport.
– From the Mamas
Schools and Nurseries
The neighbourhoods are home to excellent Dutch basisschools: De Notenkraker and De Nautilus (both schools are located in the Bockesprong building on Theophile de Bockstraat which conveniently is also where the ouder and kind team is located). De Nautilus is a relatively small school with incredibly personable teachers. I continue to be amazed by the diversity in the school. The school has families from all corners of the world. Many of the children speak several languages, but their common language is of course Dutch. You can also find a popular international school, the British School of Amsterdam, close by.
If you take a stroll around the area, you will likely be amazed by the sheer number of nursery options. There is one on every street-corner, if not more! All the large chain providers such as Partou, CompaNanny and Klein & Co have several branches in the area, but you will also find smaller independent nurseries like Nanny Poppins, KDV InieMini, Greenkidzz and De Uil. While waiting lists for nursery spots in most of Amsterdam are long, I was pleasantly surprised to get several spots for my youngest within a relatively short time, on enquiring.
If you are new to the Netherlands, you will soon come to learn that hockey is a very popular and competitive sport. Panasj Amsterdam runs weekend sessions at the Bockesprong for children aged 3-10 years old. For children aged 5 and above you can sign up for swimming classes (diploma) at Zwemschool Pardoes on Overtoom, which is only a short bike ride away.
Popular playgrounds (speeltuinen) with huge slides include De Vondeltuin at the entrance to Vondelpark and the Speelterrein outside the Bockesprong. For younger children, the enclosed playground of Legmeerplein has all the bikes and sand-toys you could possibly wish for! Another playground for children of most ages is the Spijtellaantje playground close to De Leertuin, Kindcentrum Amsterdam. In the summer, children and adults can enjoy open water swimming at Park Schinkeleilanden, which is also a great place to pick blackberries in the early autumn!
A great activity for the whole family in the neighbourhood is the historic museum tram line from Haarlemmermeerstation to Amstelveen and back (line 30). It runs every Sunday from the old Haarlemmermeerstation adjacent to the British School of Amsterdam.
If you are bringing the entire family for brunch, both Drovers Dog on Heemstedestraat and Dignita on Koninginneweg have little play corners giving you an actual chance to enjoy your poached eggs! Children are also more than welcome to roam around in the craft brewery, Butcher’s Tears. They have a large outdoor area behind the old Haarlemmermeerstation making it a great place to spend a time on a sunny afternoon. I often drink my morning coffee while doing some work at the newly renovated Caffènation on Warmondstraat. Besides the great coffee, the baristas are super friendly and always up for a morning chat. They actually also have a small play corner in the downstairs seating area. Did I mention how family-friendly this area is?
Amsterdam has surprisingly great pizza (!), but if you don’t want to wait 3 months for a reservation at Nnea, then Sotto Pizza or Pizza Mangia on Amstelveenseweg are great alternatives. Crayons provided for the little ones! My favourite neighbourhood restaurant (sans children) is Foodbar 63 Graden on Woestduinstraat. A local gem in my opinion! Delicious food and wine/cocktails and with stand-out service!
Although not technically in the immediate neighbourhood, I cannot write this guide without mentioning THE best chocolate shop in Amsterdam. They don’t have a loyalty programme, but if they did, I would have free chocolate for life! Chocolaterie ArtiChoc on Koninginneweg is a must. They have free samples, but it is impossible to leave without buying something. You are welcome!
I love our neighbourhood! Its very family-friendly, green and with good school-options, but I am also never far from a good coffee or restaurant!
– From the Mamas
Fitness and well-being
After all that eating, it’s good that the neighbourhood also has a number of great fitness options! The YogaDen on Zeilstraat is a must for yogis. Classes are in English and the café is a cute little spot to enjoy a tea after your session. The Bodystudio on Heemstedestraat offers personal training, but also smaller group sessions. Following your work-out you can enjoy a protein shake at the adjoining Juice Brothers. On Karperweg (just behind the old Haarlemmermeer station) you will find Crossfit Amsterdam for a real high intensity work-out.
I can’t recommend this neighbourhood enough! When we first moved to Amsterdam, we lived very central and while there are great benefits to that, I much prefer the true neighbourhood feel of our current home. There is a real community feel, both in terms of conversations you strike on the playground, at school and with your neighbours, but there are also local, neighbourhood drinks, Easter egg hunts (just at Easter obviously!) and other organised activities such as concerts, street clean-ups and markets. It has got a great mix of Dutch and international residents and feels a lot less transient than our old neighbourhood closer to the centre of Amsterdam. If any new or old residents want to meet up, I’d be happy to organise a coffee, and equally, if anyone is considering moving here, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am a proud ambassador of this part of Zuid!
Stephanie is a native Dane, but relocated to Amsterdam in the summer of 2022 after spending 12 years in London. Her partner is from the US and together they have two little tri-lingual children. Like many other expat families, she is navigating a new culture, language, career etc. Amsterdam Mamas was a tremendous help when moving to Amsterdam and still is! In the spirit of giving back, Stephanie wants to share the helpful tips provided to her and hope they can benefit new families to Amsterdam.