Holland is a great introduction to European travel - It's foreign yet friendly, easy to get around, and communication is simple since English is widely spoken.
Last summer our family learned to do like the Dutch: Get out of the car and onto bicycles. Since Holland is flat, this was a big hit for all members of our family. We pedaled on water bikes through Amsterdam's canals and cruised on big black ''granny'' bikes through the countryside past windmills dotting a Van Gogh landscape of dazzling sunflowers and blue irises. Even in busy Amsterdam, the locals patiently offered help when they saw us reading maps and extended a warm welcome to our children.
Here is a sampling of activities for a family's first trip to Amsterdam and its surrounding area.
Cycle through the Canals
Let the kids work off excess energy as they pedal you through tree-lined canals, past narrow 17th-century homes with flowering window boxes and under shadowy, arched bridges. Families of floating ducks and nesting pigeons catch the children's attention as you peek in the windows of wooden houseboats. Yes, you'll keep your feet dry; no, pedal boats don't sink!
Hands on Nemo Science Museum
The motto of this museum is: Please do touch. Kids can blow a soap bubble so large that they can stand inside it or dress in white scientists' gowns and make licorice in a laboratory. Our kids directed their own music video! Scores of young tourists, all ages, fill the museum's dance floor, swinging to the beat of Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. Telephone: 900-919-1100