Tag Archive: amsterdam

3 Cool Fireplaces in Amsterdam

My latest video for Amsterdam Calling is perfect for anyone in Amsterdam this winter. I explore three very interesting hangouts with pretty cool looking fireplaces.

Mr. Porter
Located in the W Amsterdam Hotel, Mr. Porter is very beautifully decorated in gold. The view over Dam Square is breathtaking. You can even relax in a rooftop pool! Food and drinks your thing? They have some amazing cocktails and are also known for having top notch steaks.

Pressroom
You’ll find Pressroom in the INK hotel. Relax in a cosy living type space in what was once a place where newspapers were made. Offers great drinks in a chill atmosphere.

5 & 33
Very hip decor with sculptures you won’t find anywhere else. 5 & 33 offers a spacious bar with a variety of cocktails and delicious popcorn to go with them.

Babysitter Amsterdam Services Reviewed

There are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Amsterdam. However, sometimes it’s best to leave the kids behind and have some adult time. I’ve run into that myself. As an expat living in a country with no family, this means that whenever I need time without my child, I have to hire a babysitter. For anyone else in the same situation, I figured that I would offer up my experiences with a couple of the babysitting agencies in Amsterdam. These are services that I as a mom have personally used.

If you’re looking for full-time childcare, then your best bet in Amsterdam is to go with a local “kinderdagverblijf”. These daycares are government regulated and there are many around Amsterdam. However if you’re looking for part time care, or someone to watch the kids during the occasional date night, then you’ll need to find a babysitter. Here are three babysitting services that I have used and my experience with each of them.

Care.com

Initially when I needed a babysitter I went with Care.com. It’s a well known website in the US for finding caregivers for your loved ones. There are certainly pros and cons for going the non-agency route and doing it yourself. I used Care.com in the beginning to find a babysitter because I was familiar with the website, knew they had a good reputation, and didn’t mind vetting the potential babysitters myself.

I did find a few good caregivers through Care.com. However, most babysitters in Amsterdam seem to be students. This means that when their school schedule changes, or they want to go on holiday, or any number of things that can occur does occur, you’re back at square one having to find and interview new babysitters. Vetting a caregiver is time consuming. In the end, I chose to go the agency route so that I did not have to interview new sitters regularly.

Pros

  • Website is easy to use
  • Many caregivers to choose from

Cons

  • Labor intensive to interview and find a qualified sitter
  • Not good for last minute babysitting needs
  • Once your subscription is ended, you lose the ability to log in and see old emails

The Babysitter’s Club

The first agency that I signed up with was The Babysitters Club. I was recommended to them by a friend. I like that they have a selection of babysitters that are already pre-screened. That was a time saver. What I came over time to find inadequate was the lack of sitters available, especially if you needed someone next day. This was actually the reason that I had to seek out a new agency. Well, that and I also found their customer service to be lacking.

Pros

  • Pre screened babysitters

Cons

  • Website is not user friendly
  • Small selection of babysitters
  • Must pay babysitter cash
  • Yearly membership fee (rather than monthly or per request)

Charly Cares

Last, at least for now, in my list of babysitting agencies in Amsterdam is Charly Cares. When I needed a sitter next day and couldn’t find anyone through my other agency, I frantically messaged other Amsterdam moms that I knew to see if anyone had a solution. I was recommended by a friend to try out Charly Cares. Somehow when searching for a babysitter in Amsterdam they had never shown up in my searches.

So far I have had mostly positive experiences with this agency. They have a very easy to use website along with an app. There is an abundance of caregivers available and it is clearly labeled who is available short notice, in addition to who is first aid qualified (EHBO) and who has experience with babies. Plus, payments are through your card and deducted electronically. The one time that none of the sitters I chose were available, I received a call within minutes from someone at the agency personally contacting other caregivers to try to find someone for me.

Pros

  • Large selection of prescreened caregivers
  • User friendly website and app
  • Electronic Payments instead of Cash
  • Babysitters available on short notice (last minute bookings)
  • Multiple subscription options

Cons

  • Fee for each electronic payment made on top of subscription fee (€ 2,99 transaction fees)

While there are many other babysitting agencies in Amsterdam, these are the ones that I have personal experience with. Have you used one of these agencies or a different one? Care to share your experience? I’d love to hear what other Amsterdam moms have experienced.

Things to do with Kids in Amsterdam: TunFun

Amsterdam’s weather can be a bit unpredictable at times. Somehow, there always seems to be a bit of rain in the forecast just when I’ve planned a day at the sandbox. I guess Amsterdam’s proximity to the North Sea has something to do with this. But no matter the reason, it stands that with my little one now mobile when I want to get out of the house with her and the weather won’t cooperate, that means that we need to find something indoors to do.

While I would be happy to sit at a nice cafe on a rainy day just people watching, my daughter does not share this desire. (High chairs are only good for so long.) She would rather move around and explore the world. Understandably so when you’re a one year old. However, this conundrum led me to search for indoor things to do with kids in Amsterdam. I’m glad that I Googled it because I came across TunFun.

Tucked under Mr. Visserplein in a former traffic pass near the Portuguese Synagogue lies TunFun, one of my favorite things to do with kids in Amsterdam. From the outside it looks deceptively closed. However, once you spot the green arches just go down the stairs (or the ramp as this whole place is stroller accessible) and you’ll be greeted by the ticket counter. Then you just wind your way around and down to the enormous kids play area.

Prices for the day are pretty reasonable for Amsterdam and for what you get.

Children from 1 – 12 years old : € 8,50* Children <1 and adults (18 and over): free entrance

Amenities include: changing tables, diaper sacs, a lounge corner, high chairs and free wifi for the adults. If you need a bite to eat or caffeine to keep up with the energy of the kids, there is also a cafe on site.

Things to do with Kids in Amsterdam: Baby and Toddlers

There are two play areas at TunFun labeled “mini” which are meant for children ages 0-4. (And if you’re baby isn’t very mobile yet, there is also a separate area just for babies as well.) If you have a velcro baby like mine currently is, no worries. Just take off your shoes and hop on in. You can bounce and roll around with your toddler in this fun indoor play area.

How to get to TunFun

TunFun lies beneath Mr Visserplein and right next to Waterlooplein. It’s easily accessible by public transportation or by car. TunFun offers a 10% discount for customers when parking at garage ParkKing Waterlooplein.

TunFun Review: Mom Thoughts

The baby and I spent about 2 hours at TunFun. She was thoroughly worn out from playing and I was happy that she enjoyed herself. While we were there, I met other parents and there was also a school group of children. I will certainly be back. Having the indoor play area gives me a place to go in Amsterdam when it’s raining with baby.

It’s nice that the whole area is meant for kids. This means that I don’t have to worry every 5 minutes about the baby hurting herself while playing. I can browse articles on my phone and she can play in the ball pit or on the slide. Since discovering this place, I’ve already recommended it to the other moms in my group and as a great place for us to get the babies together in Amsterdam.

Learn more about TunFun at their website (English) http://tunfun.nl/index.php/