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Discover Amsterdam
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Live, Work and Study
Gaming hall Blast galaxy in NDSM with kids playing arcade games
Image from Koen Smilde

Family and kids in NDSM

NDSM is a creative playground for all ages, with a wealth of activities on offer for the whole family to enjoy. Amongst the old dockyard buildings, you’ll find a variety of popular cafes and restaurants that cater to children, some of which have their own urban farms and playgrounds. At various points throughout the year, watch the wharf transform into lively festival grounds packed with family events, performances and workshops. And just a stone’s throw away, industrial chic blends into spectacular greenery with some great options for an active family day out in the countryside.

Het Twiske

Het Twiske playground
Image from Koen Smilde

NDSM is the gateway to some spectacular Dutch countryside: green meadows of grazing cattle, picturesque little villages and all the windmills you could hope for. Het Twiske is a green recreational area that hosts endless activities for outdoorsy types, young and old. Rent canoes or sailboats, windsurf, stand-up paddleboard and even go diving. If that doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty of designated areas to have a scenic picnic or take a brisk dip. You can hire various styles of bikes at locations across the city for all ages (including those kitted out with child seats). These cycleseeing routes are a great starting point for deciding where you want to set off together.

The Pancake Boat

Pannenkoekenboot exterior
Image from Pannenkoekenboot

All aboard the Pancake Boat to sail around Amsterdam as you eat as many pancakes as your rumbling tum has room for. This unique cruise is great fun for all ages, choosing from 1 or 2.5-hour experiences. For a fixed price, everyone can eat unlimited pancakes loaded with an eye-popping spread of tasty toppings. Every Wednesday afternoon, the boat can be reserved for children’s parties by anyone prepared to spend time in an enclosed space with children consuming so much sugar.

Blast Galaxy

Outside Blast galaxy Noord
Image from Koen Smilde

Blast Galaxy is a retro arcade hall packed with gaming classics like Donkey Kong, Mario and Pacman. A trip here will be a novelty experience for Millennials and a nostalgia whirlwind tour for grown-ups, starting each conversation with 'back in my day...' You don't need coins to play; simply pay a fixed entrance fee of €15. Then you're set to enjoy as many games as you want or until your wrists get tired from all that competitive joystick grappling. 

NoordOogst Nature Playground

Pof restaurant kids playing in the garden
Image from Pof

The NoordOogst Urban Agricultural Project boasts its very own nature playground - a challenging obstacle course surrounded by trees, wild gardens and water. Get to grips with the climbing area, sandpit, and splash pool, which are complete with waterfalls, stepping stones, and tree trunks to clamber over. There’s also a lookout tower for views across the farm, including the pig enclosure. Nearby, you’ll also find the POF garden restaurant and the STROOP pancake house, a unique family restaurant where you can savour traditional pancakes and other (organic) dishes with fresh vegetables from the adjacent farm.

Family-friendly cafes

The interior of restaurant Pllek at NDSM.
Image from Jan de Ridder

The large windows at IJ-Kantine overlooking the IJ are great for little (and big) ones who like to watch ships sailing by. On sunny days, kids can play on the spacious terrace and sandpit, and in cooler weather, head inside for the collection of toys, games and colouring activities. There’s a kids’ entertainment programme on weekends too. Every Sunday, Pllek organises a free kids programme for busy bees, curious meerkats and creative centipedes. Keep an eye on the agenda for various craft workshops, theatre, children’s yoga and circus activities.

Theatre and food festivals

Over het IJ Festival 2019 woman waving the French flag
Image from Moon Saris

Watch the vast spaces of the NDSM wharf transform into a hub of activity during the many family-friendly festivals that take place throughout the year. Over Het IJ happens over ten days in July, bringing a summery blend of inspirational theatre and fabulous food to the NDSM grounds. The festival specialises in location-specific performance, allowing you to catch one-off shows on the most unexpected stages. Or, in August, take in the sizzling aromas as the city’s food trucks descend upon the area for the NDSM Food Festival - a delicious long weekend of snacks, musical acts and children’s entertainment.