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Is Amsterdam a family friendly destination?

Is Amsterdam a family friendly destination?

Old Dec 18th, 2003, 09:11 AM
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Is Amsterdam a family friendly destination?

Hello,

I am going with my parents and husband to Europe, April 2004 (Our age range is 24-55). We would like to spend 2 days in Amsterdam before going on to Paris, France.

I know that Amsterdam has a reputation based on the red light district and drugs, however, we are interested in the rich artistic and architectual history.

Is the sex/drug scene very pervasive? If it is everywhere, I am concerned that it would be awkward for my family. Can it be EASILY avoided? If so, how?

I am looking in to the following hotels:

Canal House
Agora
Esthera

Any imput on these choices?

Thank you,

everret
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 09:18 AM
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jenifer
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You've gotten some replies on your previous post.

If you don't know how to find old posts that you've made, look in the very upper left corner where it says fodors.com. Just below that, click on your name and you will get a list of posts you've started or replied to. That way you can see the replies you've already gotten.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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I think Amsterdam can be a family destination. You can avoid the red light district easily enough. You can walk right by coffeeshops without going inside. There is so much to see and enjoy. The quaint little canals, world class museums, parks, shopping, and fleamarkets. It is a beautiful city that would have something for everyone. I loved it on my 2 trips there.
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 10:14 AM
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Amsterdam is a fine family destination, and the rest of the Netherlands is great for families. I took my ten-year-old there recently, and we both had a good time. Hotel Estherea was quite nice, although expensive. The Dam strat is a depressing street; walk along the canals whenever you can.

Avoiding the seedier areas is not a problem. Anyway, what makes you think your parents won't want to see them? On my first trip to Europe, I remember my dad drove the car through the red light district 3 times in a row.
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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I agree that the downtown red-light district is quite easy to avoid once you know where it is - of course, I walked right into it the first day I was there, not knowing just how small Amsterdam is. Do be aware that there are other, "mini" red-light areas in various Amsterdam neighborhoods. These are usually just one "kamer", or window unit, with a professional lady sitting in it. It didn't strike me as being offensive. The coffeeshops are all over Amsterdam. The ones downtown, like everything downtown, can be quite seedy, but the ones out in the canal area and other neighborhoods are just like any other cafe or pub except for the separate "menu". Some of them are quite attractive places (there's no pressure to sample the wares) and make a good place to have a hot drink or a snack, all the while observing just how matter-of-fact this aspect of life in Amsterdam can be. Have a good time.
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Amsterdam is wonderful and should not be missed. Many families live there. Yes, the smell of weed seems everywhere but, if you're lucky, you'll get a contact high and have that much more fun.
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 12:17 PM
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Wesley,

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Old Dec 19th, 2003, 08:07 AM
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We spent 3 days in Amsterdam b4 heading to Paris in March 2002. We loved it and we are not into redlight drug stuff. That is in a very small area. I loved the Rembrandt house, the Rikjs (sp?) museum, lots of culture, the canals were beautiful, I think you guys would enjoy it!
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Old Dec 19th, 2003, 08:42 AM
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Red Light District??? I thought those gals were just friendly free-lance fashion models.

Seriously, Amsterdam is wonderful and the red light area can be easily avoided.
 
Old Dec 19th, 2003, 05:09 PM
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Everett: I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but at 55 I think it is quite reasonable to assume that your parents know about sex. Heck, I would go so far to wager that they have probably engaged in it a couple of times, yourself being exhibit number 1. Also, at 55 I think there is an outside possibilty that your parents have even fired up a doobie in their lifetime. At the very least they know someone who has. All kidding aside, Amsterdam is a wonderful city. The Anne Frank House and Museum should be mandatory for anyone visiting. The Van Gogh Museum is incredible. There are more canals than Venice. The only thing you need to watch out for are the bicyclists. There are literally thousands of them.
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Old Dec 19th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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Amsterdam is a great city..I have visited it several times, and honestly, you have to walk around the Red Light, as it is rather interesting to see..As for the coffeeshops, they are literally everywhere..And they will not get in your way unless you let them...My suggestion is to travel with an open mind and you will be surprised of what you might see.
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Old Dec 20th, 2003, 05:49 AM
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I have to agree with cajunboy -
and besides your parents aren't "old" - a good portion of people who travel and post to these boards, then would be old!

Amsterdam is an absolutely charming compact city with lots to keep you busy and never give a thought to the Red Light District, though doubt one would miss the whiff of weed periodically.

We spent 2-days before heading off to Kenya and filled our time at the Ann Frank House, the Rikesmuseum, the Van Gogh, a concert one evening, a canal cruise, the flower markets, shopping, eating - and if not walking, the trams are a great way to get around. Even returning late the evening at the Concert, we had no fear walking the streets. And the architecture is so interesting and in some areas very eclectic.

I doubt anything your parents "might" see or smell, won't be more than a great story to tell when they return home. But do watch those bicycles, as there is a separate lane for them in some places, so watch for them as well as autos when crossing the street. Go and enjoy!
 
Old Dec 21st, 2003, 04:19 AM
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This month's Conde Nast Traveler magazine (U.S. version) has a great article about Amsterdam. It seems perfectly suitable for a family. Have a great trip!
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Old Dec 21st, 2003, 05:13 AM
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I think it borders on funny that the title of this post would seem to ask about kids in Amsterdam -- "family friendly", so I was surprised to find that everret was asking how it is for all adults? The ages range from 24 to 55. Isn't that a group of adults? Or does the fact that some are parents and some are offspring change what they might enjoy? Is there a suggestion that the parents and offspring are so "distant" that either would be embarrassed about what they might see while being with the other? I can understand (sort-of) a parent being embarrassed having to explain the redlight district or a "coffee house" to a ten year old, but is a 55 year old parent supposed to be embarrassed passing those things with a 24 year old daughter? Or is it the other way around? Sorry, I just don't get it.
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Old Dec 21st, 2003, 05:49 AM
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patrick, why would you ask an odd question like that?

Maybe thay are just nice people who don't want to be around that kind of trashy activity. Why try to read something negative into it?

Is it your way of "putting them down" for feeling as they do?
 
Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 10:35 AM
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I've been to Amsterdam and never saw much of that, although I think it's a little scuzzy around that old church (the oldest one in the city), and the train station. I have no interest in red light districts as a tourist activity or gawking activity like some do, so didn't go to those areas.

I used to work in HOllywood (in fact did when I went) and sex/drugs were my daily routine to get away from, ha ha. I don't mean me personally but I was around it.

I understand these sentiments and maybe Patrick comes from a diff. kind of family. My parents would have been uncomfortable around that activity if I was with them or not, and part of that would be embarrassment but also just discomfort. They just wouldn't like it, they came from a small town and were very un-worldly and very religious, shall we say. It wouldn't be because they needed to "explain" things to me but because they don't like viewing prostitution and drug addicts. Why is that so hard to get?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 10:49 AM
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ChatNoir? Putting them down? I think you're the one trying to "read something in". I'm just curious why someone would ask about "family friendly destination" which I would think would be interpreted by most people as being about a family with teens or children, when in fact the quesion was written about a group of adults. Why is that such a strange question? Would someone say is "Disney World OK for a family" and then proceed to ask about a group of adults going? While I'll admit that the group everret describes is a family, it was a very odd way of asking or at least titling the question when he's asking about a group that doesn't include anyone under the age of 21. Don't you agree? Would you expect a question about family friendly destinations not to have anything to do with children? I wouldn't.

I totally understand someone being uncomfortable around drug usage or very visable prostitution. And I totally understand someone not wanting to go somewhere if they can't avoid being around it. That wasn't really my point. I was instead referring to the way the question was titled and the way it was asked.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 12:00 PM
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For what it's worth, like Patrick I thought the question was odd. Not condemning anyone. But, hey, sometimes traveling with parents IS like traveling with children!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 12:10 PM
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I am actually VERY surprised to see Noir
cares about someone's feelings !
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 12:21 PM
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Come on, patrick, don't try to play innocent. You were looking for a little dust up!

Just read what you wrote again. Look real close at this part: "Is there a suggestion that the parents and offspring are so "distant" that either would be embarrassed about what they might see while being with the other?" And you say you didn't "read" anything into the orginal post? Please!

Family to me could mean 50 year old parents and 30 year old kids or 30 year old parents and 10 year old kids.

I might stroll through the red light district for a quick look-see, but darn sure would not drag my Mom there. We are very close but would find it strange and a bit tense in that situation. Why? Well, we come from different generations and have slightly different values and acceptance levels of other people's poor behavior.

I think your a good guy, and that's why your question seemed out of character. Not a big deal. We all have a bit of devil in us. Anyway, I live in a glass house so I'm at risk by spotlighting you in the first place.
 

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