Ten Best for Teenagers in Amsterdam
Teens – those wannabe adults who you can’t quite trust yet to leave to their own devices in Amsterdam’s city centre. Well worry not – hand them this list of the best and most happening things to do for teenagers in Amsterdam and they’ll be far too busy to get into any trouble – and you never know, they might even put their phones down for 5 minutes and let you tag along!
Click on the headline links below for a comprehensive overview of every suggestion
I’ve saved the Anne Frank House for this post rather than suggest it in our kids or tweens collection. Whilst many children of a younger age visit the annex, in truth the real horror of what happened to Amsterdam’s Jewish population is best understood by a slightly older crowd. Teens cannot fail to be moved by the experience of one of their own. Encourage them to read the diary or at the very least something about it beforehand and remind them ahead of time that this isn’t a place for selfies – inside or out. Book ahead, its the only way to get in and a visit to Amsterdam won’t be complete without paying a visit.
The Van Gogh Museum doesn’t have the best discovery trail for younger kids, but for older ones the paintings are more than enough to wow. Seeing Van Gogh’s masterpieces in reality is wholly different from doing so in books or online and even those with little interest in art will come away captivated by one of The Netherlands’ most famous sons. The museum’s collection is the largest of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world. So whether you’re here to see Sunflowers or one of the other 200 masterpieces; 500 plus drawings; or works from his Impressionist and Post impressionist contemporaries, a wander through each of Van Gogh’s five major periods is a powerful reminder of one artist’s impact on the 20th Century and beyond.
Teens will be delighted to discover that the very 21st Century museum partnered with Vans in July to present a collection of Vans Classics inspired by Van Gogh. And as you can see below the collection was suitably magnificent.
When the city gets steamy, local teens head to the urban manmade beaches and there’s none more hip than Blijburg to the East of the city. Hang with the beautiful people to swim, sunbathe and party until late. Other alternatives include Pllek (jump on the free ferry and hop over to the North side of the River Ij) StrandZuid (a rather chic setup in the city centre) or Roest (a beach, bar and music venue to the east). Chill out and get your sunnies on.
I’ve kept the list broadly free of restaurants and cafe’s so far but that’s all about to change as teens will absolutely love the former tramshed and now cultural centre – De Hallen. Packed with interesting and quirky businesses, the centrepiece is the huge Foodhallen Food Hall with foodie delights for every taste. There’s live music and events in the evening and a gorgeous, cosy cinema with English films next door.
Alternatively, teens looking for something a bit more interactive along with their food will be well served at any of the city’s three branches of the TonTon Club. A mecca for gamers, these locations are packed with classic coin-operated arcade games along with Japanese imports to match the US/Japanese fusion food. Forget fancy, this is all about having some serious fun. So whether its Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat or Dance Revolution that floats your boat head down for some arcade-style entertainment.
If you struggle to get your teens to engage with museums, this one might just be the answer. As well as being a stunningly restored Golden Age canal house (the second oldest museum in Amsterdam after the Rijks) ‘Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder’ also offers a magnificent hidden church in the attic. Not convinced? Tell them its pink!
For a wander through an authentic market you can’t beat the Albert Cuyp. Home to freshly made stroopwafels and poffertjes, to say nothing of the freshest and best herring in the city, its a great place to experience the traditional side of Amsterdam. Looking for something more substantial to eat? Just a street away is Instagram-fave The Avocado Show or head to the city’s beloved burger joint The Butcher (just don’t tell the teens about the secret speakeasy at the back)
Some of Amsterdam’s edgiest art can be found in the Foam Photography Museum. With frequently changing exhibitions, there’s always something interesting on, often more than not suited to this slightly older audience. There are four different exhibitions at any given time showcasing different photographic genres and as well as large exhibitions by well-known photographers, Foam also exhibits work from younger aspiring artists.
8. Boat rentals
Responsible teenagers can rent a small boat and navigate their own way through the city’s canals. There are a variety of electric boats on offer giving them a sense of freedom to explore. Quiet and relatively easy to steer it can provide an enormously fun few hours for older Cap-teens. Boaty and Mokum come highly recommended or for those who prefer pedal power there are pedalos on offer in the city as well.
For fearless kids, the swing at the top of Amsterdam’s tallest building will provide a selfie to remember. Hold your breath and dangle your legs over the city below. You wouldn’t catch me dead up there but the queues suggest I might be in the minority.
If we’re talking teens and art, Banksy is surely the name that brings the two worlds together. Amsterdam’s Moco has an unauthorised collection as well as a brilliant Roy Lichtenstein 3D installation room. In their words:
The Modern Contemporary (Moco) Museum is situated in Villa Alsberg, a townhouse overlooking Museumplein in the heart of Amsterdam. The appearance of this mansion is breathtaking, …. The building is charming but because of the compact size it can feel crowdy.
Whooo so there you have it. A round-up of the best on offer for teenagers in the city. The list isn’t completely comprehensive. If your teens are Instagram-fiends for example, make certain you check out our post with the best Instagram spots in Amsterdam.
We haven’t listed out all the great places for kids to eat – you can find that here – or given you an itinerary, which you can find here. And don’t forget to check out some of our other 10 Best series (there’s lots on the Kids and Tweens list that teenagers would enjoy too)
What we have hopefully provided however is enough incentive for you to take the family to this marvelous city and explore it for yourselves.
We hope you and your teenagers make the most of all the fabulous things to do in Amsterdam. The city is waiting for you…