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My granddaughter approved these 14 activities as teenage-friendly ...

Hang out with famous people...

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is located on Dam square close to the hotel we were staying at. Each time we past that corner there were huge lineups and we were intrigued. I'm glad we decided to go inside because my teenager loved checking out all the world-famous lookalikes. We met politicians, actors, rock stars and models. It was truly red carpet time. I clicked away as she posed with Justin Beiber, David Beckham, Lady Gaga and President Obama, etc, etc, etc. This is definitely a Gold Star teenage attraction. Budget Tip: I'm pleased we had an Iamsterdam City Pass because it allowed a 20% discount on my pricey adult €22 entry fee and her €18 ticket. P.S. If you buy an online saver ticket and choose your visit time there are often reductions from there as well. Take advantage of them.

Hop the Number Two Tram...

Local tram # 2

Sightseeing is always hectic and tiring. One way we choose to rest our aching feet was to board the local number 2 tram (free with our Iamsterdam pass). National Geographic has named this route one of the top ten streetcar routes in the world. The #2 tram has been operating for over 110 years transporting Amsterdamers to work, play, and home. It travels past many of Amsterdam's premier tourist attractions, such as the Royal Palace, De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Begijnhof, Bloemenmarkt (flower market), Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Vondelpark. We stayed on right until the end of the line which is really the suburbs, got off and then took the #2 back to where we started from. We people watched, looked out the window at the changing scene, and we happily relaxed.

Shop for your dinner...

Albert Heijn, grocery store

No matter how old or young you are shopping in foreign supermarkets is always fun. Twice during our stay we had picnic dinners in our hotel room and loved it. Going up and down the store aisles of Albert Heijn we compared the brands and prices on Dutch shelves with those in Canada. We bought local cheeses, cold meats, crispy baguettes, summer berries and of course, chocolate goodies. I know that these shopping sprees will act as model examples for when my granddaughter is ready for backpacking on her own in Europe.

Learn about Anne Frank, the teenager...

Anne Frank's house

Anne Frank is a world famous Amsterdam teenager who wrote a diary while being hidden from the Nazis. Anne was eventually discovered and she died in a concentration camp. The building where she was concealed now stands as a museum to her memory. We joined visitors from all over the world as we toured the three stories of this narrow canal house, looking at photos, reading diary excerpts and seeing mock-ups of the 'way it was.' It was a sobering visit but a very necessary history lesson. Sightseeing Tip: Tickets to the museum can only be purchased online. It's suggested that you make your purchase well in advance of your visit. Dates sell out quickly. Interesting fact: Anne's diary has been translated into 70 languages, and published in over 60 countries. More than 30 million copies of the diary have been sold. Try to read it before you come to Amsterdam.

Heighten a teenager's social awareness...

Red Light District

Prostitution and sex trafficking worldwide seems to be here to stay and every teenager, female or male should know about it. 'From research we learned that 'prostitution is allowed in Holland, but it must take place in a legal and transparent manner. Amsterdam wants to end criminal activities, such as the abuse of women, money laundering and human trafficking.' Before dinner one evening, in the company of two male friends we ventured into Amsterdam's Red Light District for a short while. Needless to say what we saw made an important impression and much meaningful and important discussion followed.

Enjoy a free ferry ride

Sunset over Amsterdam

Take a free ferry ride across the River Ij. The ferry dock is located close to the back of the Central Train Station and it takes just a few minutes to transport you across to the Buiksloterweg. On an early summer evening there were loads of young people sitting along the shore, watching river traffic and enjoying themselves. I was so sorry we were a bit too late to get into the Dutch EYE Film Museum but, on the other hand we were amply rewarded with a gorgeous sunset over Amsterdam and the river.

Shopping for gifts...

Dutch souvenirs

Most female teenagers love to shop and my granddaughter is no exception. She was on a fixed budget but she did very well picking up Dutch souvenirs for her friends and family. All her purchases were under $US15 and very appropriate. For her mother she chose the perfect rubber duck to add to her mom's already extensive collection (the Amsterdam Duck Store is stocked with countless amusing rubber duckies), for her girlfriend she brought back a very pretty snow globe of Amsterdam (5 Euro Souvenir Shops), for her whole family she picked up stroopwafel, famous Dutch cookies (in the supermarket), for her sister, Dutch chocolate sprinkles, and for her dad, antique dutch books picked out in a Haarlem street market.

With special thanks...

Amsterdam friends

I am always very grateful for all my sweet pals around the world. My granddaughter and I want to thank the following people who helped to make our trip to The Netherlands so memorable. These folks advised us, helped us plan our itinerary, some were able to join us while we were in Holland and each one made us feel extra special. A big shout out to Henny Groenendijk, Mark van der Heijden, Keith Jenkins, Liz Jennings Clark, Elaine and Abe Sturm, Ciron Maria, Felicity Fanjoy, Esmeralda and Marie-Janne Harris-Mostert. We appreciate your help and hope to pay it forward!

P.S. For more Holland destinations, online booking, juicy tips and inspiration for your holiday in Holland, visit

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