Located in The Hauge, Netherlands’ Scheveningen district, Madurodam is a miniature park showcasing a variety of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous regional landmarks, cities, and cultural sites. Madurodam is named in honor of Jewish law student George Maduro, who was a member of the Dutch resistance against Nazi forces during World War II.

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History

Following his death at the Dachau concentration camp in 1945, he was posthumously honored with the Medal of Knight Fourth class of the Military Order of William, the country’s highest military honor. Maduro’s parents were the major donors for the creation of Madurodam, which was the vision of Mrs B. Boon-van der Starp, a member of the Dutch Students Sanatorium who was inspired by a visit to a similar miniature park in Beaconsfield, England. The park was modeled after the Bekonscot park and designed by architect S.J. Bouma, who themed the park around the slogan “the little city with the smile.” In 1952, Princess Beatrix was appointed as the honorary “mayor” of Madurodam at its opening, beginning the park’s tradition of selecting a young mayor every year from Hague youth council students. The park was renovated at a cost of €8 million in 2011 in honor of its 60th anniversary.

Attractions

Today, Madurodam is operated as a miniature park featuring 1:25 scale replicas of local Netherlands landmarks and cultural sites. The park has been visited by several million visitors since its 1952 opening and donates all of its visitor admission fees to local Netherlands charities. It has served as the inspiration for several other miniature parks throughout the world, including Disneyland’s Storybook Land and Catalonia, Spain’s Catalunya en Miniatura facility, one of the largest miniature parks in the world.

As the park strives to showcase a realistic replica of the Netherlands in a miniature environment accessible for children and families, all buildings showcased throughout the park are heavily researched by park buildings and modeled using computer scaling techniques. All landscaping touches, including flora and street design, are also modeled to scale according to the original building’s landscape design. Citizen models are showcased within the miniature buildings, with an emphasis on multiculturality of models to reflect the country’s immigration demographics.

A variety of miniature city attractions are displayed throughout the park, including a recreated Amsterdam section that showcases landmarks such as the Royal Palace, the Rijksmuseum, and the Wallen district. The Hauge’s Binnenhof district is also recreated, along with an exhibit highlighting the Court of the Netherlands that recreates the First Assembly of the Free States in the Hall of States in 1572. Architectural highlights of the park include recreations of St. John’s Cathedral, the De Voldharding building, the Woudagemaal steam pumping station, and the 15th-century Gouda town hall, one of the oldest Gothic-style buildings in the Netherlands. Several Dutch palaces are also recreated, including the Peace Palace, Huis ten Bosch Palace, Drakensteyn Castle, and Het Loo Palace. In addition to Dutch landmarks, an exhibit also recreates the Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam, which eventually became the American city of New York.

Exhibits within the park also highlight a wide variety of Dutch civic amenities and technologies, including replicas of the Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Groningen Central train stations and the Randstad Railway. Historic windmills are featured within a replica of the village of Kinderdjik, and a number of sites related to canal dikes and port harbors are highlighted, including the Oosterschelde barrier and the Second Maasvlakte. A flight exhibit recreates Dutch airlines and airports, while other areas focus on Dutch cultural traditions such as cheese markets and flower auctions. Other interactive exhibits include a miniature fair with rides, a recreated sports stadium, a DJ station, and the Fantastitron 3D scanner exhibit. Two children’s playgrounds are offered throughout the park for young visitors, along with two restaurants serving standard lunch and dinner fare with children’s meal options.

Ongoing Programs and Education

In addition to standard visitor admission, combination admission tickets are offered for admission to the park along with several other major attractions in The Hague, including Sea Life Scheveningen, Escher in het Palais, Omniversum, Panorama Mesdag, and Kids Eiland. Group tours are available for groups of 30 or more, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for elementary and secondary school students. Young visitors ages four and older wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the park may also rent birthday party packages, which offer meal options and exploration time throughout the park.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-7-04-16-24-00

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