May 18, 2011

I woke up today thinking about our visit to Amsterdam. I talked about wonderful Vondelpark here, but I wanted to have a record of other parts of our trip that stuck with me. So please forgive the rambling nature of this post. : )

I have to say, I fell in love with Amsterdam immediately. Our hotel was in a great location and we could wander the streets and find interesting spots in every direction. The Palace. The Nine Streets shopping district. Museums. Charming side streets. And canals everywhere you look!

On one of our walks, we happened upon the floating flower market. It’s Amsterdam’s flower district  — but it floats on barges in one of the canals. Isn’t that fun?

The floating flower market sells all sorts of flowers, but the real prizes were the enormous bulbs. Seriously big! Notice Maude’s hand below for size reference. : )

Speaking of bulbs, I’ll share our images from the tulips fields in another post. I think we saw the very last fields of the 2010 season. : )

The main visual impression Amsterdam left me with is: bikes. I was told ahead of time that Amsterdam is a city of bikes, but I didn’t really understand until we arrived. There are bikes everywhere. Everywhere! The city streets are an organized mishmash of bike lanes, car lanes and pedestrian lanes, but I’m pretty sure bikes rule.

It was neat to stop into grocery stores or convenience stores and see bike accessories, bike baskets, and flat tire kits for sale.

Ben Blair commented that Amsterdam has everything fun about our beloved New York — trendy stuff like frozen yogurt (we stopped at Frozz twice!), and lots of international food choices. But it’s also very European with cobble stone streets, bridges and canals, charming architecture and the very real possibility of hearing 5 different languages as you walk down the street.

Of course we wanted to taste the local faire. So we ate poffertjes (little puffed pastries) and pancakes at Sarah’s Pancake House. The pancakes were huge! They covered the whole plate. Everything was delicious, but I especially loved the cherry poffertjes. Tart cherry is one of my favorite flavors.

The canals are certainly the most distinctive thing about Amsterdam. One afternoon we took a canal trip and the tour guide said that an average of one car each week ends up in the canals! Can you imagine?

The canals in Amsterdam felt different to me than the canals in Brugges (our report coming soon!) or Venice. In Amsterdam, it’s like they took a big, modern, metropolitan city and then filled the streets with water.

Do you see the hook? Every house in Amsterdam has one. They use it to move furniture in and out of windows.

One night, Ben Blair and I met Esther of Babyccino and her husband for dinner. We ate at an Indonesian restaurant which I can’t remember the name of, but which we really enjoyed. (Did you know that Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony? Me neither.) It was wonderful to meet locals for dinner. Esther and her husband were endlessly fascinating — they’ve lived everywhere and were super fun to talk to. At dinner and throughout our visit, we were impressed by how seamlessly the population moves between Dutch and English.

Growing up in St. George, my family would make frequent trips to Los Angeles and the drive was 6 hours long. So in my head, any drive in the 6-hour-or-less range is super doable. (Do you use mental references like that?) Amsterdam is 6 hours from our home here. So close! I think that’s one of the really fun parts about living in Europe. Instead of passing through different states, a six hour drive can take us to several different countries.

How about you? Have you ever spent time in Amsterdam? What was your favorite part about the city?

P.S. — Ben Blair snapped the photo below when we walked to dinner. I know it’s blurry, but I love it anyway. It looks to me exactly how Amsterdam felt to me. : )

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{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda B. May 18, 2011 at 5:37 am

We went to Amsterdam this past fall. It was a lovely city! I really like vondelpark too! In general it was a great city to sit with some stroopwafels and people watch.


2 senja May 18, 2011 at 5:47 am

YES! Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities – I really love it. I can’t remember, have you been to Keukenhof? Magical with soo many flowers. The photos you took reflect Amsterdam so well. I even studied Dutch because I love The Netherlands so much :)

Have you been to Rotterdam as well? They have really great bridges..


3 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

We drove to Keukenhof first thing! I need to write about it. : )


4 stacia May 18, 2011 at 6:09 am

Amsterdam is my very favorite city. I lived there for two summers in college over ten years ago! I miss it so much and wish I could just jet over for a weekend or two. thanks for the pictures. What do you call feeling homesick for somewhere that is not your home? Being an art museum junkie, this is my second favorite art museum I’ve ever been to. You must check it out and the surrounding park. your family would love it.


5 Lotte May 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm

It’s called “fernwee” (german). I have it for Texas :)


6 amy May 18, 2011 at 6:11 am

My father is from Amsterdam and most of his family still lives there. We are going for a visit in three weeks. It will be my 8 year olds first time. We can’t wait! She has been learning about Anne Frank in Hebrew School and is so interested in seeing the hideout.



7 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

How exciting, Amy! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time.


8 David May 18, 2011 at 7:09 am

Rent a bicycle at the train station in Amsterdam and then just ride around. Get lost. Find your way back. Eat lunch and then get lost again.


9 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

We rented bikes and rode them in the park, but I confess, I was scared to take my kids riding around the city. I’m not sure we’re good enough around such expert cyclists!


10 Michelle May 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I agree – I was too chicken to ride the bikes in the city for the same reason… people ride their bikes so fast there! It’s amazing.


11 Ana May 18, 2011 at 7:12 am

Amsterdam looks and sounds quiet lovely. My best friend is from Amsterdam, we often have tea and stroopwafels. I could live for that stuff.


12 Julie May 18, 2011 at 7:14 am

We all spent a few days in Amsterdam on our last trip abroad. My favorite part was walking all around the city and of course the fabulous crepes! My older daughter sketched many buildings and once home created some fabulous large watercolors from them. And the Van Gough exhibit was also not to be missed. My youngest was most moved by our visit to Anne Frank’s house, as she had just finished reading her diary and studying her life. It was a trip we will always remember.


13 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

We really enjoyed the Van Gogh museum. One of the exhibits was about Picasso’s years in Paris. It felt like double prizes!


14 Starr May 18, 2011 at 7:15 am

The only bit of Amsterdam I’ve been to is Schiphol Airport — it’s our “local” connection for flights from our city in England back to the States. But it’s the best airport to get stuck at if you miss a flight. I love flying into it & seeing all the windmills that surround Amsterdam at work. There’s a nursery with about 10 ROUND cribs set up with shimmery, gossamer curtains that screen each baby and accompanying family from the next — and low lighting so the tired mommy can sleep, too. The kid playland is very stylized, woodland- industrial. And there’s a beautiful mini art museum with actual Dutch Masters’ works and that charming (300+ year old ) Delft tiling on display. Really, something for everyone in my family.


15 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:59 am

That sounds like the coolest airport ever!


16 amy May 18, 2011 at 7:17 am

For some reason, Amsterdam has a really negative connotation in my head. These photos totally **. So pretty.

And I *love* the 5 flies Restaurant sign! Cool typography is my weakness!

amy @ glass confetti


17 Linda Kerr May 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

This is one of the places that I NEED to get to. Soon! I just love European springtime. Thanks for posting these. And wow, what great outerwear your kids have on. :-) Love those stripes.


18 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:58 am

We are like a Polarn O. Pyret ad in those photos! Ralph’s track jacket, Oscar’s hoodie, Betty’s fleece — they’re all P.O.P.


19 sangeetha May 18, 2011 at 7:34 am

Hi Gabrielle –

I am so jealous. we were in amsterdam last year in Fall and it was quite the change from Ohio. I came back immediately and started looking for jobs to move there lol. Amazing and very cultural. Europe in general is very culturally diverse, but amsterdam seemed to have an extra dose!

Like you loved Vondelpark, with 2 kids it was an instant success – loved walking the streets and just hanging out. People are amazing as well


20 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

I agree! Amsterdam struck me as particularly diverse. I loved it.


21 Deborah May 18, 2011 at 7:35 am

Those bulbs are huge! Do you know what they were? I also love the 5 Flies sign, the font is soooo pretty and the fact that it was established in 1627 is mind boggling.


22 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

No idea what those bulbs were. I should have stopped taking pictures and found out. : )


23 Angela May 19, 2011 at 5:39 am

Those big bulbs are Amaryllis. We have a white one, got it from St Nicholas :) Early December we plant it in a vase and around Christmas there’s a huge stalk with 3 or 4 big flowers. My kids love to see how fast it grows, centimeters a day! Right now the vase is in the attic (beauty is gone) but after the summer holidays I stop watering, take it out of the soil and leave it ’til next St Nick’s to plant it again.


24 natasha May 18, 2011 at 7:37 am

oh, how i love Amsterdam. We spent 10 days there on our honeymoon and it was so romantic. We always talk about taking a trip there again with our children.


25 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:55 am

I agree! Great for couples and great for families too.


26 Susan May 18, 2011 at 7:47 am

I would love to see Amsterdam someday. I was searching your site the other day for posts on Belgium…I may finally be traveling there this year, so excited. We will see Brussels & Bruges for sure, any other recommendations? Merci!


27 Jill Browning May 18, 2011 at 7:55 am

I never had any desire to visit Amsterdam until now. So thanks!!


28 C May 18, 2011 at 7:57 am

That’s exactly what I love about living in Europe, I can experience so many cultures and languages (and food, ha!) in a few hours.
I was looking up my year abroad in Montreal, and looking at the map (with my English mind set), New York looked like it was only a couple of hours drive away. How mistaken I was, I forget how tiny our little country is!


29 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

Too funny! Maps are so tricky like that. : )


30 Meg May 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Bruges. It is my favorite city! Have you seen the movie “In Bruges”? The beautiful scenerey was the reason we took a detour and discovered Bruges for ourselves.


31 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

I still haven’t seen that movie! But it comes highly recommended. I wonder if I can download it from iTunes…


32 shelia butler May 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

I totally agree with Meg; Bruges is an amazing city. We did a 6 day trip around Belgium a few years ago and it was wonderful. The people are friendly, the architecture is amazing and the food is to die for.


33 kelleyn May 18, 2011 at 8:29 am

One would think you are not eating. You are getting so skinny. One would never know that you had a baby a year ago. It must be from all the walking.


34 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:51 am

Hah! I just finished my 4th serving of rhubarb crumble (made this morning by Sharon, of course).


35 Sila May 18, 2011 at 8:31 am

Aren’t poffertjes great!? :)
Oh, glad you liked Indonesian food! :) What did you have? I think Indo food in Holland would taste pretty authentic since there are many Indonesians living in Holland.
I’m from Indonesia, btw :-D And yes, Indonesia was colonized by The Dutch for 350years.


36 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:50 am

Hi Sila! I swear, we had everything on the menu. : ) If I remember right, it was some sort of tasting menu that we ordered, and then all 4 of us passed bowls and shared everything. So delicious!


37 Catalina May 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

Gabrielle, this is wonderful!
I will be in Amsterdam in a little less than 2 months with my family and your post has made me even happier about it.
I know you were recently in Stockholm as well, is there any chance you could do a post about it? I’ll also be going there on my vacation.


38 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

Hi Catalina! I’m working on a Stockholm post for sure. Hopefully it will go up next week. I loved it there!


39 juliagblair May 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

I feel that I’ve finally visited Amsterdam! via Design Mom!
Thanks millions. Loved it!


40 Krystle May 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

Ooh! Amsterdam looks like such a pretty place. It’s definitely a place I would like to visit!


41 Amy May 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

We went to Europe on our honeymoon in April 13 years ago, Holland was our favorite country that we visited. We ate at a few Indonesian restaurants and we are so sad that there isn’t one here in Utah. We hope we can make it back there someday with our 5 kids.


42 Alie May 18, 2011 at 9:15 am

Back in 2008 before I was married, I went on a Europe backpacking trip and Amsterdam was by far one of my favorite places. It has so much history that gets overlooked by the Red Light District! I loved every minute I spent in that city and wish I could go back!! I’m glad you had fun. :)


43 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

At dinner, Esther said the Red Light District is actually a really pretty and historic part of town. But I was too shy to check it out. I think I would have been blushing the whole time!


44 Wendy May 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

Amsterdam is my favourite city – we seem to fly in and out of it every year. I really recommend the Dutch Resistance Museum. You can take Tram 9 or 14 to it – it is just across the street from the zoo. It is very interesting for school age children.


45 Rachel May 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

I grew up in Utah as well, and now live in “The South” (N. Carolina). When we first moved here all our friends thought it was really weird that we’d take off on road trips and only be gone the weekend. “It’s not worth the time in the car!” they’d say. It’s all relative, isn’t it? A four hour road trip could find us in DC, the Smoky Mountains, or the Outer Banks. A four hour drive from Utah County would get me to Southern Idaho or St. George. Potentially fun places, but nothing to really write home about!

When I read these amazing posts I try really hard to just be happy for your family and the amazing experiences you’re giving your children. It’s a tiny bit difficult to stop at being happy for you, and not feel thoroughly envious too! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us! And thanks for the 411 on the French and their ironing. I now know I could NEVER live there! :O


46 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I agree — it’s all relative. 6 hours seems like nothing! But I’ve hardly met anyone from around here who’s been to Amsterdam. : )


47 Janneke van Dam May 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

So glad you had a good time in my home country! I love that you tried poffertjes!!!


48 Cortnie May 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

Amsterdam is by far one of our favorite cities! We rode bikes everywhere and lived in a beautiful house right by a canal in the city. We loved watching all the stylish parents ride by on bikes with two or three kids hanging on. Can’t wait to go back with our children.


49 HepzabaV May 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

Love your posting and your site. While I’m from Boston, my husband is from The Netherlands, so I’m very familiar with Amsterdam and the entire country.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend time abroad and lived in France for 4 months – (Provence).

Enjoy every moment you can abroad, the memories and experiences will be cherished forever for you and all your children!!


50 CMN May 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

Dear G,
Um, I’m sort of dying here… you found CHERRY poffertjes?! I’m practically drooling on the keyboard! I’m putting Sarah’s Pancake House on my list for next time, for sure.

I especially loved seeing all of the photos you shared. Its fun to recognize streets and buildings… and realize I have so many of those same shots. How funny is that? And the discussion of bicycles… I’m sure that having just come from Amsterdam made a certain 5-year old’s birthday bicycle horn even THAT much cooler. Completely awesome. :)

Thanks for sharing your trip. Loved it! (and now I have to stop daydreaming about cherry poffertjes… {sigh})
- C


51 Hiskia May 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

Look like you did everything, including eating ‘pannekoeken’ :-)


52 Lotte May 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I’m thinking you should get commission from the Amsterdam Bureau of Tourism! Look at all this response :)


53 Charlotte May 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hi there!

I am Dutch and I live in Maarssen, a town near Amsterdam. If you come to Holland, that is worth visiting too. It’s along the river the ‘vecht’, which has lovely old estates on it’s riverbanks and pretty little towns. And if you travel further you will get to the city of Utrecht. Very nice to visit too, it also canals and nice old houses but is smaller than Amsterdam.
I went to NY last year and really loved it!

Have fun visiting Holland!

Best regards,


54 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for the recommendations, Charlotte! I hope I get to spend more time in your beautiful country.


55 Brittany May 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Wow! Beautiful pictures and a stunning environment. It never ceases to amaze me how your big fabulous family finds so many amazing adventures abroad! I love how the siblings help out with baby June, too; so cute! :)


56 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Speaking of kids helping with June, I have a funny little story. We actually forgot to pack the stroller for both of our recent trips! There are so many good baby holders in the family that we usually just pass June around. Hah!


57 Michelle May 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm

totally agree with your assessment about the canals, it does feel like they filled the streets with water. Lovely, lovely city. Amazing shopping too – did you get to hit up any of the rad stores there?


58 Design Mom May 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Yes! Lotte took us to some great places! One of my favorites was Sissy Boy Homeland. And of course, I adored Hema!


59 Hollowsquirrel May 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

We love Amsterdam. My husband was born there, and almost all of his extended family still lives there. We’re heading there with the boys this October — my sixth time or so, second time with children. Cannot wait. What amazing people and city!


60 Ilse May 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Dear Gabrielle,
I somehow came across your blog a few months ago. Ever since, I love reading your posts. Especially since you have moved to France and are exploring Europe. It´s fascinating and so much fun to read and observe how you are fascinated by Europe. Good for me to not take things I am used to, as a European, for granted. And as a Dutchie, I absolutely love your posts about Amsterdam. I live in Lelystad, half hours drive by car north of Amsterdam. Originally, I am from Rotterdam. A place that defenitely should be on your travel lists as well. As well as Kinderdijk, Middelburg, Bergen aan Zee, Utrecht, National Park Hoge Veluwe, National Park Oostvaardersplassen, Den Bosch, Maastricht, and so on ;-)Well, in case you do need local and inside tourist information, pleae feel free to contact me! And may I point out another lovely blog on Dutch design: Three kisses from Holland, Ilse!


61 Ilse May 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

PS: you can order from HEMA in their webshop ;-)


62 bdaiss May 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Love your shoes! : )

I took a nap in the airport on my way to Italy…but I have never really set foot in Amsterdam. Would love to though. And if only more of our cities here in the states were so bike-centric!


63 Michelle May 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm

one other comment Gabby, I’m very curious about how your family is received overseas when you’re out and about… I get weird looks carting three kids around San Francisco, how do people respond when they see the Blairs?


64 Design Mom May 19, 2011 at 1:40 am

Good question, Michelle! So far, we’ve been received very well. Some places particularly well. In fact, Sarah of Sarah’s Pancakes was amazing. She’s from a big family and loves kids. She too the time to talk to each one of my kids and made us feel incredibly welcome.


65 elizabeth May 18, 2011 at 6:46 pm

We spent 5 hours in Amsterdam last summer between an overnight ferry from the north of England, on our way to take a train to Paris. It was a rushed-squeezed-in visit, but so worth it. It went right to the top of our fantasy vacation list!
Travelling with our four children (16, 14, 11 & 9 at the time) is such a pleasure, because we love showing them the world, but logistically it requires managing. Two questions about managing your tribe: 1. I checked out your hotel, and it didn’t seem to have suites. How many rooms do you get, and how do you “divide and conquer” the children between you? For us, we rented an apartment in any city we were in for longer than three days …, and 2. Grown-ups’ night out on a family vacation? Sounds lovely … do you have help, or do your local contacts connect you with babysitters?
By the way, my “benchmark” is 34 weeks pregnant … one of my first girlfriends to have a baby gave birth at 34 weeks, and ever since then, 34 weeks has been my “any time now” benchmark, even though I always went over 40!


66 Design Mom May 19, 2011 at 1:32 am

Good questions, Elizabeth. I should write up a whole post on how we handle hotel rooms while traveling. For us, it all depends on where we’re going and what’s available. In Brugges, there was a hotel that offered apartments, so that was perfect. In the case of NH City Centre, we called the NH reservation line, explained our family size and situation and they looked at all their hotels in Amsterdam and found a good fit for us. We used two rooms that were side by side. One room had a king size bed (for me and Ben Blair) and a little nook with a queen size bed that Oscar and Betty shared. They also brought in a crib for Baby June. In the room next door, there were 2 twin beds, and they brought in an extra twin size cot. So Ralph, Maude and Olive slept in those beds. The rooms didn’t have an adjoining door (which is ideal), but they were right next to each other and we had plenty of keys to go back and forth freely.


67 heather May 18, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Such beautiful photos….they make me feel hopeful for an adventure of my own!


68 Design Mom May 19, 2011 at 1:26 am

Oh goody, Heather! I love reading that these photos made you hopeful.


69 Tan May 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thank you so much for this post! Zuster (Sister) Welch, my sister and LDS missionary, hasn’t sent any pictures of her mission yet. We are relying heavily on Google Earth to get any idea of what it looks like over there. Your photography is just beautiful. It means a lot, thanks.


70 Dee May 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I’ve never been to Amsterdam, but some day! Are those saddle shoes you’re wearing? Too cute.


71 Bri May 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Love the shoes! Love the shoes! I’m dying to know more about them.

This Amsterdam post is amazing. I feel like I was just there. Thanks for sharing.


72 Design Mom May 19, 2011 at 1:24 am

Thanks, Bri! I love the shoes too. I found them at Zappos. They’re by Bass. They come in pink too!


73 Caryn May 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

Oh those shoes! Are they comfortable? The last saddles shoes I tried hurt my feet so much but these look awesome!


74 Kholisa May 19, 2011 at 1:51 am

This post was amazing, thank for sharing it! Everytime I read your posts about a city in Europe my heart soars dreaming of going there one day :)


75 Rachel May 19, 2011 at 2:25 am

If you liked Amsterdam so much, you should come down to our neck of the woods- Den Haag (the Hague). You’ll be amazed at the difference between the two cities. I always feel that Den Haag is like a big city with a small town feel.

Oh and the bike’s like that everywhere here! I don’t know of any person here that doesn’t have a bike it’s not just in Amsterdam…

Love your postings, makes me realize sometimes I don’t live in such a bad place afterall. :)


76 Ashlea Walter May 19, 2011 at 8:27 am

Oh how I love Amsterdam. We lived outside of it when I was a tot so it must be in my blood. Hoping you make many return trips as 6 hours is so do-able in a day. How fantastic!


77 r8chel May 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

Hooks for moving furniture through windows? Brilliant.


78 Frumptastic May 19, 2011 at 11:11 am

Before our little guy was born, we took a trip through Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. I would love to go to Amsterdam! It seems similar to some of the major cities we visited. sCopenhagen and Stockholm especially had a ton of bikes and bike lanes. As a tourist, it was tricky figuring out when to cross and where to walk but I love the idea of biking everywhere. I wish the US would get on board!


79 Becca May 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Speaking of bikes, did you see the bucket bikes and crazy bike seats? I saw 4 kids on the mom’s bike without a bucket! Just strapped on there, and one of the kids had to be 10. I thought instantly of what I would have told that huge kid if he were mine: “get your own bike, kid!” I am still dreaming about getting a bucket bike to take the kids to school where we live in Connecticut…..


80 Anne May 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I knew Amsterdam was serious about their bicycles when I saw an American-sized parking garage exclusively for bikes! What amazed me is how creative they are at carrying not only bags/groceries but multiple kids as well on their bicycles. I only wish they all wore helmets!


81 Hayley May 22, 2011 at 6:51 am

I feel in love with Amsterdam too! I’m finishing up my year abroad in Germany and it’s a quick 2 hour train ride away, I’ve been 3 times already, and am going again this Friday. I absolutely love the flowers, shopping, history, and culture :)


82 Jennifer James May 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

I love your photos! I have always longed to visit Amsterdam. I’ll be passing through briefly on my way to Kenya this summer but sadly will only see the airport. Must plan a trip there! Thanks for the photos.


83 Sascha May 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Oh The Five Flies! I went there with my dad and Oma when I was a little girl. They had a fat cat walking around the restaurant. I love that about Holland. Animals welcome everywhere. My mom was born in Amsterdam just after the war. Quite a different place now. Anyway, I love reading your posts about traveling/living in Europe with a large family. I sure wish I had the guts.


84 Missy W May 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm

My favorite part of this post are the pix of your two oldest kiddos holding onto Baby June. Such love in their faces!


85 Hinke May 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

Hi, as an Amsterdam girl I would just like to remark that those hooks you saw on Amsterdam homes were used in buildings up until the 19th century. 20th Century Dutch homes don’t have them.

Looking at the location of your hotel you probably had the Indonesian food at ‘Kantjil en de Tijger’ in the Spuistraat? And it might have been the ‘rijsttafel’ with offers small samples of different dishes :-) I love rijsttafels.


86 Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful February 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm

What I love about traveling to foreign climes is how the exotic nature brings us an immediacy that we wouldn’t have in familiar environs. Somehow our five senses (and perhaps our sixth) are sharpened and alert. We see architecture and humanity in rarefied, sharp relief. We smell new scents that will forever bind us to that specific place and time. When we eat in restaurants with unfamiliar tastes we are bound forever to that flavor in that space. Travel and stepping out of our comfort zones is as important as steeping ourselves in the familiarity of our ancestral climes. Can you tell I’ve been eating unfamiliar chocolates and drinking bombastic wine?? (Yes I know I’ve used “bombastic” out of context, but it’s such a good word!) Thank you for providing me with my reveries.


87 Hadi Tjia February 25, 2012 at 1:03 am

I know yr website just now … Love to read your travel story … We went to Amsterdam sept 2011 … well actually just drop by during our tour to several European country .. We are leaving in Indonesia.. Maybe someday you want to go to and write about it ..for many people Bali maybe is more well known than Indonesia … Well actually Bali is just small part of many beautiful places in Indonesia …. Happy traveling ..


88 Rae March 1, 2012 at 6:26 am

You have a very cute family!


89 Rebeca March 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I went to Amsterdam last fall with my family and we really enjoyed the city…The canals, the streets… everything is very unique. We took the kids to NEMO and we ate the famous pannenkoeken ;) We also took pictures in front of the I AMSTERDAM letters…it was so much fun!
We visited the Anne Frank’s museum (Did you know that there is a permanent exhibit with a replica of the Anne Frank’s house here in Atlanta, GA?) ;-)
During our trip to Holland we also visited Leiden, Delft and Gouda…
I won’t forget about the bikes! I was really impressed by the amount of bikes…


90 Gabriel Lopez May 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

While we’re in Europe this summer, we are going to try to fly up to Amsterdam. Your post inspired me to make it happen. If we don’t go to Holland, I think we might fly down to Morocco.


91 Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) May 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm

What amazing opportunities you are giving your lucky children. (And gorgeous photos!)


92 Marjolein June 20, 2012 at 5:11 am

This was posted a long time ago haha, I know. But I wanted to leave a comment anyway.
I’m glad you had a wonderful time in Amsterdam with your family. I was born in the Netherlands (the east side) and I’ve been living here for 19 years now. I love reading these stories about all the crazy (which seem so normal to me) things tourists see. Bikes for example, are literally the most normal thing in my life. Many dutch people count their bike as their most valuable possession haha! Sometimes I see tourists riding their rental bike through town and it’s so adorable to see. Very cautious, very scared to fall. While we dutchies ride our bikes at high speed, often without hands.
And I think it’s so funny many people don’t know Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. For us, that’s common knowledge. It’s all over the history books we read at high school haha.
Anyway, I loved your story about Amsterdam and I hope you’ll come back someday :)


93 Jet June 22, 2012 at 6:36 am

Hi dear DesignMom!

reading your post on Amsterdam has been fun! As a dutch woman myself I thought it would be nice to tell you that there is a children’s song that says: “..Amsterdam that big city, has been build on poles..” so it’s really the other way around, as you will probably know. The water was there first and the city build in and around it!
In Belgium, if you’re still over here (in Europe I mean) it’s also worth wile visiting Antwerpen as well as Brussels en Brugge! And maybe The Ardennes, we love hiking and vacationing there! All the best where ever you are and go,



94 Molly Hyde-Caroom July 24, 2012 at 1:06 am

I love your inspirational posts! We have visited several of the same spots but we would really like to visit Amsterdam this fall! Usually, we rent a flat so that we can make some of our own meals, etc. Would you mind sharing the area you stayed in? I will be there on my own with 3 children and I like to be sure I pick a safe area. Thank you in advance for all of your blog posts! You have such beautiful pictures and visit some wonderful places. What a find for someone like me lucky enough to live here in Europe for a while!


95 Sarah Paisley July 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

I just found your site after hearing your interview with Classical 89, and I had a question for you. What are you doing for your children’s schooling while you are in France?


96 CarolineZ August 5, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thans for this lovely post about my hometown!


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