Unusual Place of the Month: Mini Holland

By Nomadic Matt | Published January 27th, 2012

Madurodam in Rotterdam. It's like a mini hollandAs if Holland wasn’t small enough to travel around, if you are really pressed for time, you can visit the whole country all in one day by visiting Madurodam. Madurodam is a miniature “city” located just outside The Hague, Netherlands.

Madurodam is a scale model of the country and all the attractions and geographical features that make Holland famous. You can see the canals of Amsterdam, the Red Light district, Rotterdam harbor, Maastricht, Utrecht, the dikes that made Holland famous, castles, government buildings, and windmills. Madurodam even has an airport, beaches, little cars, tin people, and trains running through it. In fact, there’s pretty much a scale version (built to a scale of 1:25) of anything of importance or shows the daily life of the country.

There is even a mayor. In 1952, the teenaged Princess Beatrix was appointed mayor of Madurodam. Today, the mayor is elected by a youth council consisting of 25 students from schools in the region.

This major Dutch tourist attraction (it sees millions of visitors per year) was first built in 1952. It was named after George Maduro, a Jewish law student who fought as a member of the Dutch resistance and died at Dachau concentration camp in 1945. His parents donated the money to start the Madurodam project and since then it has just grown.

schipol airport model at Madurodam

Thirty five people build and maintain the city. Every year one or two new buildings are added, while older ones get taken away.

The historic streets of Amsterdam at Madurodam

I visited Madurodam with Guido from Happy Hotelier. I had heard about the city on a previous trip to The Netherlands and Guido, who lives in The Hague, agreed to indulge my inner child and take me. (Knowing someone with a car is wonderful.) Arriving there, I expected this amazing Legoland version of the country and, though I didn’t find that, I thought the “town” was still pretty interesting to wander around. The detail on the buildings is exquisite and they really put a lot of work into the smallest details. At night, 50,000 miniature light bulbs light up the city.

If you take photos at the right angles, the buildings can fill the frame enough to look like the real thing and you can pretend you actually visited the place. Mostly, I liked watching the airplanes “take off” from the Schiphol Airport, though the décor inside is a bit dated from the 70s. I just wanted to run on the tarmac and play with the planes like an eight year old boy.

The Royal Palace at Den Hague, Netherlands

Madurodam is open all year round. It is open from 9am to 9pm and tickets cost €12,50 for adults; children are €9, and adults aged 65 cost €11,50. You can get here by car or take the tram from The Hague Central Station. It is tram 9 or bus 22 in the direction of Scheveningen.

Miniature Dutch castle

I wouldn’t make the half day journey from Amsterdam to see this site. It was interesting but to eat up a whole day for this? I’m not sure it was that interesting. But if you are looking for something a bit more off beat in a country where you end up seeing lots of canals, historic buildings, and art museums, make your way out here when you get to The Hague.

comments 10 Comments

Interesting…it reminds me of a more realistic version of Lego Land.Nice Godzilla-perspective photos!

I was there!!!! It was really so nicely done :)
I also loved the Efteling…SO pretty. Took SOOOOOO many pictures!

Jay Kane

This looks like such a fun thing to see! it reminds me of the LegoLand attraction near L.A. I saw it when I rented a vacation home in the area on HereStay. I also got free air miles just for booking with them, so it was a REALLY good trip! Thanks for the pics!

Cool, but I think I still prefer the full experience! Weird to see the people towering over the airplanes!!!

Are there mini hookers in the mini red light district?

NomadicMatt

Yes, and mini-drunk tourists!

Must be one of the coolest things to visit, something different!

My recollection is I had decided you had to see it and pulled you nilly willy into the car;-)

Eileen Ludwig

Loved this place and went out of my way to travel from Paris on train to see it with an over night- This was very special because I could see so many places all over Europe. Some I had been to and many I had not – Would definitely not miss this for the normal travel tourist. Very worth the trip.

I just took a day trip to the Hague yesterday…but didn’t hear about this until a few minutes ago. Bummer. I guess I’ll have to take another trip to the Netherlands :)

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