The Netherlands is a beautiful country that, despite its size, holds many wonders and activities for all ages to enjoy. From the traditional tulip fields to Turkish shawarma, The Netherlands is a lovely mixture of classic and modern.If you decide to visit The Netherlands with your family, one place, you must stop by is the Madurodam Park. Located in the Scheveningen district in Den Haag, the Madurodam Park is the famous miniature city of The Netherlands.
Opened in 1952, the park was created thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Boon-van der Starp. Mrs. Boon-van der Starp was a member of the foundation for the Dutch student’s sanatorium. The sanatorium was a place where students who suffered from tuberculosis could receive treatment and study at the same time. The student’s sanatorium aftercare was highly expensive, and the foundation was in desperate need of funds. Mrs. Boon-van der Starp heard about a miniature park in Beaconsfield, England. The park generated a considerable profit that was donated every year to a hospital in London. Mrs. Boon-van der Starp thought that the same concept could be applied to The Netherlands and approached George Maduro’s (a former student) parents.
George Maduro, the namesake of the park, was a Jewish law student from Curacao, who fought the Nazi occupation forces as a member of the Dutch resistance. He later died at Dachau concentration camp in 1945. After speaking with his parents, Mrs. Boon-van der Starp was granted a donation from them to start the project for a miniature park. The Maduros viewed it as a chance to build a permanent memorial to the son they had lost.
The Madurodam Park is a miniature city on a scale of 1:25. Effort and research are painstakingly put into each and every detail of the park from buildings right down to the tiniest tree (an actual living small tree).
Madurodam strives to be as realistic as possible; to accurately represent the lives of Netherlanders. An example of this is the city’s multi-cultural nature, as a result of the immigration of people from around the world for the past decades. The park tries actually to mimic a real city in that it even has a mayor and city council.
The tradition started in 1952 when the then teenage princess Beatrix was appointed mayor of Madurodam. Since then the city council, all of which are the Hague students, would vote and elect a mayor annually.
Exploring the Park with kids
The Madurodam Park is comprised of three themed areas for visitors to enjoy.
The first is the Center City; this shows how the Netherlands has grown from old cities to the country of today: characteristic, free and eccentric.
Next, there is a Water World, which highlights the Netherlands relationship with water.
Water for the Netherlands can act as a friend or an enemy, which is explained in Water World. While there you can also experience the hustle and bustle of the port of Rotterdam, view the workings of a watermill and operate the locks of the Oosterschelde barrier.
The last place is Innovation Island, which demonstrated the international success of the Netherlands entrepreneurial spirit and innovative strength such as architecture, logistics, entertainment sports and design. You can learn and see modern expressions with which the Netherlands inspires the world.
Our kids loved exploring the park and recognizing the landmarks they had seen in Amsterdam and the Netherlands over the several visits we made. Their favorite was the replica of Dam’s Square and the Schipol airport with its miniature runways and planes.
The Madurodam Park is a must see if you decide to visit the Netherlands. It is a highlight to the Netherlands culture and contributions that it has made towards the world. You can purchase your tickets online ahead of time if you desire and there is also a combo deal where you can buy a ticket to not only see the park but to also another top attraction such as the Omniversum giant screen or Sea Life Scheveningen.
Autism Travel Tips
Since this is a self-guided tour, you should allocate 2-3 hours to walk around.
There is a playground called the Waddenzee for children between six and twelve to run around and let off some steam.
The venue is wheelchair accessible and leveled but can become slippery due to rain(it frequently rains in the Netherlands.)