Whenever I visit places like Legoland Dubai, the miniature landscapes are one of my favorites. Thus, it is maybe not too surprising that I had to visit Madurodam in late summer 2020, when I was visiting The Hague (Den Haag) in the Netherlands. In this place, which is one of the most prominent and successful tourist attractions in the country, the country of cheese, wooden shoes and many more lovely cultural and natural places is displayed in a scale of roughly 1:25. I visited our neighbor country as a scale model in summer 2020, right when there were quite strict mask mandates in The Hague and nearby Rotterdam.
Madurodam – Location & Admission
Madurodam is more or less located right on your route when you head from Den Haag to its beach borough Scheveningen. There is a major parking close to the park (for a massive daily parking fee of ten Euro) – the most convenient way of travelling is tram line #9, which is stopping right in front of the park (stop name is Madurodam, so that you cannot miss). There is also a bus connection, line 22, which allows you to reach the attraction.
The opening times of the park change a bit with the expected number of visitors. Typically, during summer, Saturdays and Sundays are 9:00 to 18:00 and weekdays are 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. Adult admission during 2021 is 21.50 EUR. If you pre-order tickets for a fixed time slot, you may pay up to five Euro less than that.
Madurodam – Outdoor Exhibits
Explore the Netherlands in an hour is the slogan the park is giving visitors (at least in the German translation) – you will have to rush through the park to do it in that limited time. Madurodam is covering a space of 18,000 square metres and about 300 key models. The park is by the way named after their founders, who wanted to honor their son George Maduro. He died in Auschwitz in 1945.
As a Covid-19 measure, there was some sort of round course through the park, which was that chaotic that practically nobody followed the one-way directions of the paths between the exhibits. Many models are animated so that with a press of a button, something is moving. Overall, the quality of the models is good, especially if you are regarding that this is an outdoor exhibit. Thus, comparing them to modern scale modeling attractions like Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg is a bit of unfair. The models look a bit of outdated compared to what you are used to in other places. All exhibits are documented, so that you also get around, even if you are not an expert of the Netherlands.
There is also not necessarily a geographic order or similar in which the different cities and attractions are presented. In contrast to other similar (indoor attractions), there is definitely a lower amount of figures. Madurodam is very brave and does not tell too many funny side stories in their exhibition. The focus is on the buildings. Only for rare occasions, like the royal carriage you see below, there is a major amount of modeled people used.
There are moving vehicles, but they are rather sparsely used. You have some ships and a few cars. Also the trains are not travelling too frequently. There is for example a car racing track in some parts of the exhibition – the movement of the cars almost feels ridiculous compared to what the Madurodam’s peers can create in their faciltiies. On the other hand, due to the large scale, the building are impressive. Interestingly, the website rather focuses on iconic industrial buildings like the airport (see below) – I loved the huge churches, for example.
Model of Schiphol Airport
The model of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was of course one of my key areas of interest – but finally, they just don’t have enough space to properly model the facilities. Thus, it may be cool if you are a kid or just want to enjoy the models – but the more you are in aviation, the more you see that this one just cannot work out. Don’t want to compare it to Knuffingen Airport in Hamburg or the significantly worse) Gulliver’s Gate Airport – it is just so much better with modern technology and not being exposed to weather. A cool thing, indeed, is that Madurodam is now hosting a DC-3, in which you can see a show. As the queues were massive, we decided not to give it a try.
Madurodam – Indoor Attractions
There are also some indoor shows, which rarely connect to scale modeling. The first one we watched honored the Dutch soccer team winning the 1988 European Soccer Championships. The show was really pathetic and we did not like it too much. Even though we just understand little Dutch, the interactive show about New Amsterdam / New York was really cool and well done.
Madurodam – Covid-19 Measures
As said, we visited Madurodam not too long before borders between Germany and the Netherlands were practically closed. At the time of our visit, nearby Rotterdam already had mandatory mask wearing in the city. Madurodam had a distancing and one-way walking system, which was absolutely impractical. People did not follow it – and, even worse, the staff did not follow the park rules as well. Overall, the park felt rather packed in some parts.
Madurodam – Services
There are of course a couple of sites which allow you to spent some extra Euro for a souvenir. We were suprised that they did not have that much stuff featuring Madurodam as such. Most of the items featured the Netehrlands adn their key attractions.
Close to the entrance as well as right on the opposite site of it, Madurodam also gives you the opportunity to have a snack. We did not try out the facilities, but the restaurant and the cafe looked really nice. There were also some snack booths in the park.
Madurodam – My View
On the one hand, Madurodam is cool. They put a lot of effort into the model to conserve them. If you just look at the number of languages the website is featuring, this still reflects the popularity of the place. On the other hand, the models are no longer state of the art. They are impressing due to their scale (and thus: their size) and as they have this lovely traditional touch – but overall, Madurodam is no longer competitive in model quality. The Covid-19 adoption were miserable. To me, Madurodam is not a fail, but definitely not a must visit (any more).
Rotterdam & The Hague
Here are all my postings about the Rotterdam & The Hague region:
Scale Modeling at Flyctory.com
Cars, Trains, Planes and more – here are postings about the world in model size: