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Family Living in Central Amsterdam

Learn more about families in Amsterdam

Published on : 27-08-2012, 13:47 by

Amsterdam's thriving city life has much to offer expat families. Despite a reputation built primarily on nightlife, a busy restaurant scene, and a liberal attitude, Amsterdam's many public playgrounds, parks, facilities and activities geared towards children make it an ideal place to relocate and raise a family. Perfect Housing's Mike Russell describes the city's best places for expats with kids wishing to live comfortably, conveniently, and to make the most of their Amsterdam experience.

Amsterdam is a city extremely well-equipped for kids, offering countless facilities, kid-centric activities, green areas and a liberal scattering of public playgrounds. However, while expat singles and couples tend to focus on finding housing in busy areas such as the historic centre, Jordaan and the Pijp, living spaces are typically small, canal house stairways are steep, and parking is limited.

There are several areas of Amsterdam with more living space and great family accommodation, which are still close to the major parks and a short tram or cycle ride from the downtown area. Old South, Old West and the Rivierenbuurt, in particular, also tend to house a larger expat community, driven in part by their close proximity to the city's international schools.

Old South is roughly demarcated by the Museumplein to the north, the Vondelpark to the west, the Beethovenstraat to the east, and the Amstelveenseweg and Stadionweg to the south. This is one of Amsterdam's most stylish districts and is priced accordingly. The Vondelpark, the city's large central oasis, is a haven for children and contains several playgrounds, a very child-friendly cafe, a small water play area for hot summer days, as well as a number of fields and paths for exploring. Old South offers big living spaces - a large percentage of which are single family homes with gardens and ground floor access - and no waiting time for parking permits in certain areas. The nearby Museum Quarter and an abundance of chic cafes, restaurants and boutiques make the area especially attractive, and the expat community here is extensive.

Old West is situated directly west of the Vondelpark and extends to the Naussaukade in the north, the De Clercqstraat in the west and the Kostverlorenvaart canal to the south. Until recently, Old West was not so firmly established on the expat radar. However, recent regeneration efforts and an influx of money to the area have meant it is now a buzzing and sought after district. While not as traditionally grand as the Old South neighbourhood, the Vondelpark is also a quick trip away and further towards the De Clercqstraat there are several (enclosed) children's outdoor play areas and petting zoos. Families looking in this area can expect relatively smaller, multi-family houses when compared with Old South. Many still have typical Amsterdam (steep) stairways, but this is gradually changing as buildings are being redeveloped and upgraded. In Old West there is generally a wait to get a parking permit - at the moment the waiting list for on-street parking is approximately two years.

The Rivierenbuurt is a large neighbourhood approximately bounded to the north and east by the Amstel River, and the Amstelkanaal and the A10 ring road, respectively, to the west and south. The Rivierenbuurt is slightly further outside the old city centre than Old South and Old West and is well-equipped for families. Houses are larger here and generally cheaper than those closer to the Vondelpark. The Martin Luther Kingpark, an abundance of smaller parks and quick access to the large Amstelpark just outside the ring road make this one of the greener areas of the city, extremely well-suited for children. Easy access to the highway also makes this a great place for commuting outside the city. Waiting times for parking permits vary: some places in the neighbourhood have a short wait, while in other places permits are granted immediately.

Further afield, there are a number of neighbourhoods with spacious, single family living options. Watergraafsmeer, North Amsterdam and Sloten, for example, all house more typical family-oriented, Dutch "city outskirts" communities. These neighbourhoods are traditionally considered less attractive to temporary expats because they do not provide the same unique old Amsterdam experience that areas closer to the city centre provide, but they do offer a chance to integrate more closely with Dutch society.

Check our overview for more information for expats in Amsterdam

Mike Russell is Managing Partner at Perfect Housing, a leading provider of expat housing and relocation services in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas. Perfect Housing offers numerous apartments and houses for rent throughout the city, and works with you to find the right accommodation on a no cure, no pay basis with no up-front registration costs or contract fees.

Note: This article was published by Access, a non-for-profit organization supporting the Expat Community in The Netherlands

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