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12 days in the Netherlands with a 10 and 13 year old

12 days in the Netherlands with a 10 and 13 year old

Feb 26th, 2018, 09:16 AM
  #1  
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12 days in the Netherlands with a 10 and 13 year old

Hi all. We are bringing our children to Europe for the first time in mid-June. Our first week will be in Paris with my parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Our last week will be in London. In the middle we have 12 days to spend in the Netherlands. It will be the first time to the Netherlands for all of us.

Our initial thought is to have a week in Amsterdam and then 5 days in a smaller town - perhaps Delft? We are really short on smaller towns so far this trip! Our family loves exploring new cultures, history, nature, and we would like to take a few cycling journeys. It seems cycling would be very accessible in Delft. In Amsterdam, we may do best taking the ferry north and getting out of town to cycle so we don't get into too much trouble.

We welcome any advice on other towns that may be better than Delft or perhaps if we should add in a third. As you can probably guess, we don't love moving around a lot. We prefer to spend at least 3 nights at a destination to not feel rushed. So an alternative could be 3 nights in two places and then 6 in Amsterdam.

Also, I have read about the Air BnB restrictions and so will not reserve one for visiting Amsterdam. Since we will be there for some time, though, I would want an apartment-type accommodation with the kids. I saw some options on Booking.com but if anyone has specific recommendations from experience, I would appreciate it. Our back-up plan would be to stay in Harlaam. It also looks lovely. It may be a bit inconvenient to train for into Amsterdam on many days though.

Finally, we need to decide the order of visits. We could train from Paris to Delft first (it looks like a change in Rotterdam) and then depart out of Amsterdam on the new service to London. Do you see any concerns with this approach?

Thanks for taking the time to read through my note. We have been swimming in guide books and are drawn to so many cities in the Netherlands that it's difficult for us to decide!
jennykay is offline  
Feb 26th, 2018, 09:38 AM
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The new service to London still involves a change of train in Brussels going to London, sadly. You could consider the train and boat service via Hook of Holland instead - something your children may enjoy.
How are you planning on getting around? Have you considered visiting the north of the Netherlands, away from the tourist trail somewhat? Maybe visit one of the islands or the province where I now live- Friesland. There is a new mueum opening next month at the Friesland end of the Afsluitdijk which might appeal. The website isn't up and running yet but you could look at it in a coule of weeks maybe- Afsluitdijk Wadden Center | Opening voorjaar 2018
Also the wooden planetarium in Franeker is worth a visit, and Leeuwarden is European capital of culture this year. Lots of lovely small towns (as opposed to small cities lie Delft) to stay, and really safe cycling.
If that is a stretch to far then may Utrecht would appeal, as a good central base to see more of the centre and south of the country.
hetismij2 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2018, 09:55 AM
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Trains are best to get around Netherlands too - going everywhere all the time -Delft is nice but so are any number of Dutch regional towns. For lots on trains check www.ns.nl - Dutch railways site (no need to book ahead - reservations not possible on domestic trains except Thalys - great info on trains - www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 26th, 2018, 10:09 AM
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https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sea-cha...of-the-oceans/

Six days seems a lot for Amsterdam. I would cut that to two or three max, just staying long enough to see specifically what you want to see there.
Leiden and Haarlem are both lovely.
It might seem rushed and go against your slower plan, but with 12 days, consider stopping in Belgium for three nights. Bruges is touristy, yes, but it is a picture postcard beautiful world heritage site, and you can cycle from there to along a canal and past windmills. You could spend a day at the beach in Ostend (about ten minutes by train and a very pretty town with a big plaza and restaurants and shops across from the sea) or one of several other nice beaches.
Sassafrass is online now  
Feb 26th, 2018, 10:48 AM
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Trains are not always the best way to get around If you want to see the real country you need a car - not everywhere is on a railway line, and there is so much more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Delft. You could easily spend 12 days here and barely scratch the surface.
hetismij2 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2018, 01:13 PM
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For the vast majority of American tourists who visit Netherlands most go to Amsterdam and perhaps one or two day trips. But as hetismij says a whole different NL is out there where trains don't go. I led bike trips thru NL for a decade and our young Americans were always ready to leave Amsterdam after three days and hit the bike paths again - do try to get on a bike and ride thru the lovely counrtryside!
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 26th, 2018, 09:58 PM
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Try to fit in a visit to the Efteling - your kids will thank you. School holidays haven't started mid June, so it will not be busy.
Zeeland, in the south-west of the Netherlands, is also a good place to visit, with small old towns like Zierikzee and Middelburg, and also beach.
Great place for cycling, or sailing. You'd need a car, and can then combine a visit to the Efteling with Zeeland.
Drop the car at the border (Roosendaal) and take the train to Antwerp - and from there to London (with a change of trains in Brussel).
Tulips is offline  
Feb 26th, 2018, 11:53 PM
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By the way the Airbnb restrictions are for Amsterdam, and you can still legally book airbnb's now.
In other parts of the Netherlands there are plenty of holiday accommodations for families. At the Efteling there are vacation houses for families.
If you want to get away from cities, there's Centerparcs. There's one in Zeeland, with lots of activities for children.

From Paris to Amsterdam it's best to take the Thalys; it's direct, no changes. Book as far in advance as possible for cheapest tickets.
Tulips is offline  
Feb 27th, 2018, 03:00 AM
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I second Efteling. And book a cottage or themed hotel room.

OTOH, hetismij's suggestion of traveling to the Dutch islands is spot on. But consider that from the west of NL travel to Terschelling or Ameland takes 4 - 5 hours. Consult 9292.nl (also iPhone app) for a schedule. Texel, also one of the islands, is easier to reach from Amsterdam via Den Helder, with a ferry every 20 minutes or so. You'll be able to visit Vlieland on ferry De Vriendschap from De Cocksdorp. Loads to do for children, beaches, easy cycling etc.

Or, travel to Enkhuizen, visit Zuiderzeemuseum, stay for a night, take ferry across to Stavoren, take train to Leeuwarden from there, explore further. From there, there are trains to Franeker, Harlingen (departure port for the Terschelling ferry and a beautiful city in its own right) or a bus service to Holwerd (Ameland ferry) or you could take a train to Groningen, metropolis of the North, and most Danish city outside Denmark.

With Utrecht as a base you've got loads of transport options by train, because Utrecht is the country's main train junction. For instance you could easily visit Arnhem with its open air museum and trolley busses, It's a wonderfully green city, and it has a train service to the Hanseatic cities of Zutphen, Deventer and Zwolle. Zwolle is another railway hub, with easy connections to the west, and the north of the country.
menachem is offline  
Feb 27th, 2018, 03:26 AM
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I was about 11 when we went to the Netherlands the first time and I remember that I thoroughly enjoyed the windmills of Kinderdijk, despite unpleasant weather and having to walk.
quokka is offline  
Feb 27th, 2018, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by quokka View Post
I was about 11 when we went to the Netherlands the first time and I remember that I thoroughly enjoyed the windmills of Kinderdijk, despite unpleasant weather and having to walk.
And nowadays you can get there by fast ferry from Rotterdam, which includes hurtling upstream, full throttle.
menachem is offline  
Feb 27th, 2018, 03:57 AM
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Efteling


First went there with my son when he was 6, we still go every year. He's now 21, and we still do Dream Flight every time.
menachem is offline  
Feb 27th, 2018, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for so many lovely suggestions. We will consider shorter stays in 3 or 4 cities to see more of the country! I have more research to do...I just started by taking a peek at Arnhem and would love to see it.
jennykay is offline  
Feb 28th, 2018, 11:49 AM
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3 Things Kids and Adults Will Love in The Hague!

Delft is a short drive from the Hague and its seaside suburb Wassenaar where there is a good family attraction Duinrell:

https://www.duinrell.com/

It could be a nice place to stay in cabins for a few days - kids would I hope love the water parl and sea and Den Hague has so much to offer - not only prestigious museums and a royal palace area but also Scheveningen, another Hague suburb on the sea and kind of like a modern-day Coney Island:

https://www.google.com/search?q=sche...w=1920&bih=949

And The Hague also has Madurodam, where, as the site brags, "you can see all of Holland in miniature!" - new is also an Amsterdam in miniature!

https://www.madurodam.nl/en/the-park/all-attractions

https://www.google.com/search?q=madu...iw=1920&bih=94
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 28th, 2018, 10:34 PM
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And if you decide on The Hague, do visit Panorama Mesdag and take your children. I went when my son was 11 and told him nothing, simply to see his look of surprise and delight as we climbed the stair to the panorama itself. I'm not spoiling, but do consider it.
menachem is offline  
Mar 1st, 2018, 02:48 AM
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Menachem - thanks for this - I had heard of it and passed by its edifice many times but never went in - those who do not want to know about it and see it do not open the following links - given for others like me who were rather clueless by what it actually looked like inside. Wonder if National Museum Pass covers it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panorama_Mesdag

https://www.google.com/search?q=pano...w=1536&bih=759
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 1st, 2018, 03:53 AM
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Yes it is covered by museumkaart.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 1st, 2018, 08:03 AM
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The cool thing is that you can then take the tram to Scheveningen and stand on that exact spot and marvel at how much has changed.
menachem is offline  
Mar 1st, 2018, 08:29 AM
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Another great area for cycling (or boating) is Nationaal Park De Biesbosch near Dordrecht. The national park is also pretty close to the Kinderdijk windmills.
MyriamC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2018, 08:47 AM
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We recently returned to Leiden for a week, easy access to Delft,The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam. It is a very pretty canal laced small university city where the Pilgrims lived for ten years after fleeing England and before sailing to North America on the Mayflower.
HappyTrvlr is offline  

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