In an old tunnel and pedestrian passageway, under a busy square in the center of Amsterdam, a kids paradise is created: TunFun. This indoor playground is the ideal place to bring your overactive kids on a cold or rainy day. There are playzones for different age groups, with trampolines, jump cushion, ball pools, slides, and much much more: plenty of opportunity for your kids to climb/kreep/crawl…
The venue looks odd but at the same time very cool – you actually do have the feeling you’re in a tunnel (a very spacious one, don’t worry); the tram can be seen passing by over your head! There’s a lot of scaffolding, graffiti and traffic lights going on, adding to the feeling of cool urbanity. Toddlers and pre-schoolers will love the challenges this place offers, but older kids (up to 12) will still love this place, because it’s so cool.
Plenty of benches and couches are provided for the parents to sit down have a cup of coffee and read one of the magazines or newspapers around.
Well, idealy. (more…)
My husband got fined yesterday for cycling on the pavement.
After my absence of nearly seven years, I was afraid I would come back to a city of… ahem, I don’t want to insult anyone, but you girls know how I’ve been bitching about Amsterdam for, well, ever: no style, no customer service, no etiquette, no good food, no sun, no mountains, no…
But I must say, after being back for about six weeks now, I feel that the city has changed. People have been surprisingly friendly. Cool shops. Nice restaurants. Clean. Well organized. Luxurious even (at times)!
Fact is, it’s probably not so much the city that has changed – I have changed. (more…)
Here in the low-lands, we have a funny holiday called Sinterklaas. I know I’ve been trying to explain the concept to you before, but I thought I’d give it one more try.
St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra (Turkey) in the third century. He was known for his goodness and generosity: he was quite rich but used his entire fortune to assist the poor. Furthermore he was known for his love for children and as such he became their patron saint. Apparently he was also very concerned about the welfare of sailors and ships but that has nothing to do with this. He died December 6 AD 343, and the anniversary of his death has (weirdly enough) been celebrated ever since. In Holland, we like to be different and celebrate St. Nicholas day (‘Sinterklaas’) on December 5th. But for weeks leading up to that, Sinterklaas keeps everybody busy!
What exactly are pancakes? In America they are thick and small and eaten for breakfast in stacks – the higher the stack the cooler the cowboy! In France they are called crêpes and are very large, thin and delicate and eaten for lunch or a snack from one of the little street stands. (This makes me wonder… Michela, is there such a thing as an Italian pancake)??
In Holland, ‘pannekoeken’ are the size of an average frying pan, and are a bit thicker than a crêpe but thinner than American pancakes. Traditionally they are eaten for dinner, usually after the traditional Dutch pea soup called ‘snert’, with a variety of savoury (bacon&syrup, cheese&paprika) or sweet (apple, banana, icing sugar, sugar syrup, confiture) toppings. It’s a children’s favourite.
We just discovered a restaurant called Pancakes!, which serves, well, pancakes (in all different varieties) and is conveniently located in the center of the ‘nine streets’ in Amsterdam (a little shopping delight for the ones who don’t know it yet)! They have highchairs (I counted at least three) and a children’s menu that comes with a little surprise. Might your little one get bored after all, a toy-box filled with books, toys and games is present, or the staff can provide crayons and paper. There’s a microwave for warming up milk. And they also cater children’s (birthday) parties – age 4 years and up!
Who doesn’t love Miffy? My daughter surely adores her! Dick Bruna created this little rabbit in 1955 and by now her stories have been translated to more than 40 languages! Did you know Miffy has her own website? It’s great to explore with children: there is an audio book, animation, music, games, and more! There are also links to a variety of webshops: the books are great and I can also recommend the DVDs!
In the Netherlands, old year’s eve is usually celebrated at home with friends. Board games are played, a comic show is watched and loads of oliebollen are consumed. (Free translation of oliebollen = oil balls; sounds good, don’t you think? They’re basically like donuts and taste darn good)! Of course a decent amount of alcohol is consumed as well – to make the board games more entertaining and the comic show really amusing. (more…)