Saturday, June 2, 2012

Madurodam, the Netherlands

We were sad to leave Amsterdam, but had a busy day planned; first stop, Madurodam.

Den Haag is officially known as ‘s-Gravenhage and is a provincial capital, home to the Dutch government and Parliament. Only an hour by car, but completely different in character: less densely populated, modern architecture and the atmosphere of a coastal town. We were in town to see the miniature town of Madurodam, a microcosm of the Netherlands.

The miniature town was built in 1952, but new sections are constantly being added. The most famous buildings and monuments in Holland, as well as the bulb fields, windmills and port combined with the moving trains, boats and vehicles make this an educational yet fun destination for children.

At €14.50 a ticket (plus parking), entry is expensive so plan on spending more than a few hours to get your money’s worth. It might be worth planning on early arrival to beat the crowds, as the activities had quite a queue. Most of the interactive exhibits utilize water, such as the hands-on demonstration of the locks and pumping water to create the seawall, so sleeves may get a little wet, but little handheld scanners are handed out for guests to have a dry learning experience as well. A giant pod in the center contains video screens, and after scanning various points in the park customized, informative videos are available for viewing.

We enjoyed the educational aspect of the park, but mostly marveled at the detail. A few buildings we had seen during our stay in Amsterdam had diminutive versions in the park, and it was fun trying to place the scenes we were seeing within our experience so far. The tiny landscaping was partly done with living plants, the bulb fields had mini tulips (although not living), and very small tourist boats cruised the canals. Lauris found the trains (especially the high speed train), ships and cars to be the most interesting, but would have spent the entire day playing with water had it not been so chilly.

The friends who had recommended a stop at Madurodam had correctly predicted Lauris’s enjoyment of the location, however I would suggest combining the trip with a day of sightseeing in the Hague. We planned on heading out after this first stop mostly because we knew the boys wouldn’t have patience with the museums we were most interested in seeing, but also because of our tight schedule. A return trip would most definitely include a stop at Mauritshuis, the museum that houses the royal painting collection which includes quite a few famous works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

We timed our departure to coincide with nap-time, and with both boys asleep in the car we made the hour-long drive to the Kinderdijk windmills.


  1. I must admit - when I saw that first picture, I took a frightened breath and thought, I can't believe she let him that close to the edge. Then I read that it was all in miniature. How amazing. (I'm sorry I questioned your parenting!)

  2. What a fun place for kids of all ages.


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