Review: Madurodam, Much More Than A Miniature Netherlands!

We (Jane and family) recently visited Madurodam. Here is our review of our great family day out and why you should drop by for a visit too! We had been told to expect more than a miniature Netherlands from a visit to Madurodam and boy was this true. From the moment we entered there was something to do, see and interact with everywhere we went. The beauty of this place is that it suits all ages from curious toddlers to adults interested in the architecture and historical facts.

Madurodam Overview

The view as you enter the park is quite magnificent, as from your raised position you get a panoramic view of this miniature Netherlands. Arriving early meant we could soak up this view whilst it was still quiet. Just prior to this, is the story of George Maduro. This touching cinematic (true) story shares the reason why Madurodam has been built.

Madurodam Buttons

We visited with our three children aged, 8, 11 and 13 and they were enthralled by everything they could get involved in hands-on. It was perfect, as there was such a variety of activities that there was something which suited each of them. Also, visiting with a child who has special needs, it was wonderful for me to see how the interactive installations were open ended, meaning they were suitable for all. I think the chorus of the day was, ‘Mummy there’s another button!

Madurodam Canal

So what can you actually expect from Madurodam? Imagine being able to see many of the famous, historical and architecturally stunning buildings which can be discovered across the Netherlands under one roof so to speak, but actually in the open air. It’s like walking among the pretty streets of different cities, soaking up Dutch culture and having the chance to explore tiny details that make this country such a beautiful place to visit.

Rijksmuseum Madurodam

Perhaps, Madurodam will give you inspiration for new places you will want to visit, or bring back memories of fond days out you’ve already had. The attention to detail is fabulous. We especially enjoyed watching boats glide along the canals, spotting familiar buildings and one of my personal favourites, peeking through the windows of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam at Rembrandt’s Night Watch, only to see the paintings change to reveal more masterpieces. You can pass by a monument that you have already seen and find new details each time. It’s almost like a game you can have, searching for those hidden treasures.

Madurodam King's Day

We loved the themed dioramas which depict special occasions and events that take place annually in the Netherlands. Because of the time of our visit we were able to spot a festival for national Liberation Day and a King’s Day street party.

Madurodam Restaurant

Madurodam Play Corner

There are two restaurants at Madurodam; the Panorama Cafe and Taste of Holland restaurant. The Panorama Cafe is situated next to a Miffy themed playground with a view across the park, and had snack/lunch type food, such as sausage rolls and sandwiches.

Miffy Playground

Taste of Holland was a more extensive self-service style restaurant with mainly indoor seating. You could get soup, sandwiches, salads, pastries and hot meals. We loved the look of the little cut out Dutch style houses which made seating booths and similarly styled children’s play corners.

Family Toilet

There is a microwave available for warming baby food/bottles and toilets situated next to each restaurant. In fact, when it comes to a family convenience, this one was pretty cool as they had ‘family toilets’. Inside was an adult and child sized toilet with a baby changing area too. There were also disabled facilities.

Madurodam Shipping Containers

There were so many fun things to explore and interact with that I’m torn between sharing them all with you and allowing you to discover them for yourself. There are just so many to mention and each one giving a fun and interesting insight into Dutch heritage, infrastructure, lifestyle and trade. Oh, go on, just a few of my children’s favourites then:

Madurodam Tower

Ring the bells of the Utrecht Dom Tower

This was a clear favourite for all of my children but my youngest repeatedly took turns with another keen musician for ages. It was such a lovely activity where musical scores were written as colours instead of musical notes, and as you play each key the bells chime in the tower and can be heard across the park.

Madurodam Locks

Working dam/locks

All of my children joined enthusiastic children and plenty of adults as they figured out how to make miniature water ways and locks work. They had to work out how to make the mechanics work, raise and lower the water level and let boats pass along the extended water way.

Drive A Train Madurodam

Steering a train around the park

According to my eldest, one of the fun features of Madurodam is that there are model trains travelling around the whole attraction all of the time. Wherever you go you can spot familiar trains such as the Thalys or the yellow double decker Dutch train. My son found a really cool area next to a station where he could steer a train and watch it travel through the park on a screen in front of him. To his amazement, at the end of his turn he could see the train pull up at the station platform next to him.

Madurodam Attraction

Steer your own boat

On a raised level you will find steering wheels which control specific boats in the water below. The reason my children loved this attraction was that they could simultaneously steer their chosen boat whilst findind different routes around the trail. As they passed through different obstacles then it would create a reaction like spraying water, or you could hear the sound of a ship’s horn.

Madurodam Muiderslot Castle

Madurodam was an easy 15 minute drive from Duinrell where we were staying, and parking is right next to the entrance. We loved how accessible this attraction is and how the pathways all cleverly guide you around the park, so you don’t feel congested.

Madurodam Attraction English

It was amazing that the interactive experiences had a choice of both English and Dutch narration. These large attractions were great fun from getting in a real Dakota aeroplane for a visual and musical spectacle, seeing how the Dutch mastered turning land into water, and going back in time to learn how New Amsterdam ‘New York’ was once discovered. We all had such a great time, shooting canons, controlling the giant water pumps and enjoying the sights through our aeroplane window.

Train Buggy

There are cool train shaped wooden buggies which can be borrowed from the main entrance, even my 8 year old was desperate to try one and would have happily been pushed around all day if we’d allowed.

Madurodam Souvenir

If you’re looking for a souvenir there is a lovely little shop with a wide array of gifts suitable for all ages. What we did notice is that there were many very reasonably priced options, which would make super memories of a wonderful day out. If you fancy a more interactive gift then why not take a turn at the flower auction or farm attraction. Here you pay a small amount (€1) and then you can watch little clogs or a tulip brooch being brought to you straight from its mini replica factory. Receiving these souvenirs in such a hands on manner has made them extra special to our children!

Madurodam Sand And Play

We arrived as the doors opened at 9am and took our time to explore and enjoy all the different areas, leaving late afternoon. Madurodam is the perfect option for a half day visit, or you could easily extend your stay with lunch and then return to all your favourite attractions. As there are two large playgrounds it is also possible to take a break, have a picnic, or enjoy an ice cream from the vendor within the park.

Madurodam Clog Pic

Thank you Madurodam for allowing us to visit your super attraction, we shall definitely be back for more fun in the near future!

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