Unroll Your Picnic Blanket! Pure Markt Returns to Amsterdam, Den Haag and Hilversum

The mornings are getting lighter, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, passerby on the street are exchanging smiles, outdoor cafes are filling up, yes, Spring is upon us in Amsterdam. And if you are like us, you are ready to enjoy some ‘gezelligheid’ with friends and family in the form of delicious food and beautiful surroundings. If your blanket is ready but your basket is empty, Pure Marktone of the best traveling markets in the Netherlandsis the place to go.

Since 2008, Pure Markt has provided locals and visitors with an opportunity to explore the different foods of Holland as well as the rest of the world, all set against a backdrop of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam, Den Haag and Hilversum. Each market is open from 11:00 to 18:00 so you can relax, take your time and stroll leisurely through the dozens of stands of food vendors, vintage items, designer goods and gifts. When you need a rest, there is live music to enjoy and a solar-powered merry-go-round that is popular with younger visitors.

What to EatOur Favorites

You will never go hungry at a Pure Markt but could suffer the fate of indecision from too much choice. To help you maximize your experience and fill your stomach to its content, we recommend our favorite foods. A must for us, are the vegetarian gyros that you would never guess are vegetarian. The Chilean empanadas are also a go-to and chatting with the owners makes the wait time seem like a blink. If you are craving something from the sea, the freshly shucked oysters are a treat, especially when paired with an organic beer or reasonably priced bottle of wine. The potato spirals are a consistent favorite of kids. When you’ve sorted the mains, dessert from the American Baking Company and a cup of coffee are the perfect end point. If your stay has spanned lunch to dinner, there is also a variety of Dutch cheeses, Surinam roti, Indian curry, paella, dried sausage and more from which to choose.

Where to Go

Pure Markt Locations:

  • Amstelpark, Amsterdam, every 2nd Sunday of the month from April through October and December
  • Park Frankendael, Amsterdam, every last Sunday of the month from March through December
  • Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam
  • Piet Heinstraat, The Hague
  • ‘t Kampje, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
  • Gijsbrecht van Amstelstraat, Hilversum


When to Go

For a full list of dates and times of the Pure Markt 2018 season, please check the Agenda. For any questions or comments, email info@puremarkt.nl.

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Encouraging Music Appreciation in Children

In addition to the pure joy (hello, impromptu dance parties!) listening to and playing music provides, there are a lot of related benefits it offers regarding brain development and overall health and well-being, including: improved math, language, listening and fine motor skills, higher self-esteem, natural stress relief, and increased creativity. But fear not, you don’t have to stick a violin into your baby’s pudgy hands to tap into these benefits; there are a lot of easy and natural ways to foster a love of and interest in music from a young age.  

Listen App

The easiest thing to do is to simply play music in the house. With services like Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music, it is fun for children to discover new genres by browsing. It puts them in control and they can discover on their own what they respond to. A lot of kids love reggae and it’s not difficult to understand why. With siblings or multiple children, it is fun to let them take turns picking songs. This can turn into a stop dancing session or another game like hot potato. Over time, you can make it a habit to have music playing during such activities as arts and crafts, dinner, bath time and bedtime. This is particularly helpful because the song selection sets the mood appropriate to what is going on and time of day. You can take favorite soundtracks on the road by having the kids make playlists of their favorite songs.  

In addition to creating a mood, music also gives children an outlet to express themselves and their feelings. It is really cool as your child grows older and starts to discover music to see what they love and react to. 

Ready to Play

If you are keen to have your child learn how to play an instrument at some point, make a variety of different ones available to them. This doesn’t require a significant investment, you can make drums and bongos from pots and pans, or plastic tubs. Children’s xylophones, flutes, kazoos, harmonicas and keyboards are also inexpensive and provide a great foray into learning the mechanics of each instrument. It is about the action and response and discovering that by playing certain notes in a certain way they form a melody. If your child likes music but isn’t sure what instrument she would enjoy learning, there are music schools in Amsterdam that offer ‘proeflesjes’ where children can experiment with a variety of instruments over the course of the lesson period. For those who like using their voice as an instrument, there are schools like Babette Labeij Music Academy that offer singing lessons.

Perhaps your child has expressed an interest in learning a particular instrument. Of course, having natural talent is a wonderful thing to have when learning how to play an instrument but passion and dedication are just as important if not more. Because all the talent in the world can’t overcome a lack of desire to practice or learn. Whereas passion and dedication can go a long way in compensating for little natural ability. One of our regular charges is a little boy called William and he has started to show a real interest in learning how to play piano, first at a friend’s house and then on a small keyboard at home. While his parents searched to find an available instructor (tip: if you are a qualified piano teacher, there is a high need for this service in Amsterdam!), he found several good tutorials on YouTube to learn from in the meantime. He learned several songs this way and was motivated to improve and continue to build his repertoire.  

Dutch Music Scene

The Netherlands is a great place to encourage a love of and interest in music as it is an important and valued part of the culture, especially as it relates to classical music. A great thing to do in Amsterdam is to visit the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, a wonderful venue to listen to contemporary classical music. One of my favorite things to do with kids are the free Wednesday concerts at the Concertgebouw. At 12:30 each week, you can watch the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra practice for a half hour, the perfect amount of time for younger people with shorter attention spans. And on May 4 and May 5, the Liberation Day festivities end with the Amstel Concert. Attended by the King and Queen, the concert takes place atop a floating stage set against the backdrop of the Royal Carré Theater. There are also regular classical music concerts at churches around the city. While the jury is out on the ‘Mozart effect’ on test scores, it can never hurt to introduce classical—or any style—music at a young age.

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Monitor the Quality of Screen Time

Let’s face it, for those of us living on the grid, managing screen time is an unassailable part of modern parenting. Limiting screen time is a challenge but in addition to setting caps on how much time your kids are allowed to watch TV, play video games or fall down a YouTube rabbit hole, you can also maximize the quality of time spent on devices. This way kids can satisfy their itch for screen time but doing it in a positive, educational way and you can feel better about how their time is being spent. Improving the quality of screen time also ideal for when traveling, an event when a lot of children expect an increase in screen time.

Board Games without a Board

JackBox TV, best known for the game You Don’t Know Jack, has re-imagined the board game experience, and has a suite of word, drawing and problem solving games that are played through smartphones, tablets and computers, using a TV as the main screen. Groups of up to eight can play so it’s perfect for families and children who can read and write, helping to further develop language, creative and critical thinking skills. Our favorite game from the suite of offerings is Quiplash, a quick game that challenges players to write jokes and then vote for the answers they think are the best. Competition is not the main pursuit so typically the experience is very social and collegial; rounds of the game are all about being clever, making the other players laugh and sparking fun conversations.

Of course, there are also mainstays that can now be played either by passing one phone back and forth or head to head on multiple devices. Stratego, Battleship, chess and Reversi are just a few classic games that are well suited to digitization. Great for travel or waiting and  convenient in the sense that it doesn’t require any time to set up or put dozens of pieces away.

Online Education

It might not be too much of a stretch to write that it is possible to learn nearly anything via the internet. Okay, okay, not everything but for curious kids who are interested in acquiring or furthering particular skills and want to practice and learn on their own, there are an abundance of tutorials and other instructional sites that stretch across a wide breadth of topics. For those young programmers who want to learn coding, they can build up their skills starting at a very basic level at scratch.mit.edu. Lego Boost is also a fantastic bridge between online and traditional play. With Boost, children can build a robot, cat or guitar and then program it the creation to do various things via an app on a tablet. For those who want to learn how to play an instrument, YouTube has a host of music teachers who offer step-by-step instruction. For would-be filmmakers and photographers, there are host of apps to make and edit videos and pictures. Cinekids is a terrific festival that comes to Amsterdam in October of each year where children can learn all about film, technology and experiment with things like virtual reality. From crafts to science experiments to recipes, kids can watch, learn and do, and make the most of their screen time. 

And for those active children who need to burn off energy, Just Dance can now be played through the phone and television, resulting in a fun workout that does not involve vegging out in front of a screen.


For anyone who loves to read, Kindle and other eBook readers are excellent for accessing and reading books. They are especially handy for multi-lingual children, as you can find books in your native or second language. For those books that can be shared, it is handy to create small groups of book lovers.  This typically involves purchasing an agreed upon list of different books and then giving access to the titles to other members of the group (can share a book up to five times). With a eBooks, children are also empowered to browse through and select titles they find of interest.

By shifting your thinking to how long your child is spending on whatever device to looking at the quality of their interaction, screen time doesn’t have to be junk food for the mind but rather positive brain food.

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Feel at Home No Matter Where You Are

The first service to offer multilingual, certified babysitters to families on holiday, Holiday Sitters is changing what it means to travel as a family by empowering parents to take some time for themselves and fully relax during their vacation, whilst knowing their children are in good hands. While Holiday Sitters was created to fill a need for quality, trustworthy childcare whilst on vacation, trust and responsibility are at the cornerstone of everything we do. Our mission is seemingly simple but complicated by the fact that parents understandably don’t want to leave their children with just anyone, certainly not while in a foreign country. Understanding these issues as two mothers ourselves, we focus on setting impeccable standards for choosing highly qualified, experienced babysitters and best leveraging technology to connect parents to the sitters. Not only our all of our sitters certified in first-aid training and highly vetted by us, they are musicians, artists and athletes. We strive to help families find the best possible fit in terms of a babysitter who shares not only the same language but the same cultural values. Similar to having a family member look after your child (but a family member you like and trust, not your weird uncle).

Over time, our mission has expanded to include personalized, engaging babysitting (you won’t find our sitters looking after their phones instead of your children) for locals and visitors to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag. This includes expats who’ve moved house to another country with their families. In today’s world of increasing globalisation and more families living abroad, we match parents and children to babysitters from their native countries so they can stay connected to their roots, native language and traditions. As parents settle their families into their new homes, adjust to a different cultural norms, build up a network and manage the organisational burdens that relocations bring, we happily provide them with trustworthy babysitters to help make the move as comfortable as possible.

As we live in a digital, on-demand world, we also want to change the way the function of how finding and booking babysitters works through a seamless, easy-to-use online platform. With our simple yet robust website, parents can book one of 100+ babysitters by searching across availability, skills, and most importantly, languageHoliday Sitters speak a total of 21 languages and counting. Parents can then get to know our sitters through their profiles, video interviews and our secure chatroom. By combining the best people and smart technological solutions, we’ve made finding a good babysitter easy, no matter where you are. Our business model is simple and transparent: a fixed price, no registration or subscription fees and the most talented and caring babysitters who feel like family.  

By matching parents and sitters according to cultural and language preferences, we aim to create the feeling of home, no how matter how far away from it you may be. And we are growing because parents need Holiday Sitters. We know because we need them ourselves.


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