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by Wildcat Dianne
July 23, 2011
We got an early start from Vianen that morning because we were going to catch a tram outside of Den Haag to Madurodam in order to avoid parking in the crowded and small parking lot in front of Madurodam. After a short tram ride through the beautiful administrative capital of The Netherlands, we arrived at Madurodam and got to the admissions desk before a big tour bus full of tourists from India disembarked. After getting our tickets, Piet, Monique, Manouk, Jiska (in wheelchair) and I were on our way to seeing The Netherlands' greatest hits.
Madurodam was built in 1952 after Rebecca and Joshua Maduro, the parents of Resistance hero and martyr George (see my journal Madurodam II), donated the money to build Madurodam. They wanted a place to showcase the Netherlands sights in miniature and the money to go towards several children's causes. For almost 60 years, Dutch and other tourists from around the world have enjoyed touring this unique little town that is run by a council of children. At first then-Princess Beatrix was mayor of Madurodam but after she became queen in 1980, she turned over the keys to Madurodam to the council of children.
There was a photographer at the entrance waiting for the tourists to take their pictures that we could buy later. We all posed for a shot and Piet later made a copy for me on their computer at home to take home. After the group photo, we were on our way to tour Madurodam. In order not to bore you folks to tears describing everything in Madurodam, I will just give you my favorites.
I loved the miniature replicas of Amsterdam and several of the other cities in the Netherlands. The Westerkerk was awesome along with the Anne Frankhuis in miniature that brought back fond memories of my visit there 10 years ago. The miniature of a town in the Netherlands being liberated by the Allies on May 5, 1945 was awesome since I love reading a lot about the history of WWII and the countries occupied by Nazi Germany at that time. Several of the exhibits are interactive and you can pose for pictures by the buildings to see if you are taller than they are or what I liked is when you could drop a coin into a machine in front of a display and get a pair of porcelain dutch wooden clogs in the Delft pattern or at the Mars Candy Factory display, a piece of candy. I got lucky at the Mars display and got two pieces of candy for the price of one. Lucky me! After seeing the farm displays at Madurodam, Manouk told me that she was chased by a cow when she was a little girl, and I told her we had something in common since I had been chased by my neighbor's pigs a couple of years ago in what became a source of major laughs for my family and friends at my expense.
Madurodam's displays date from the very old to modern times including a miniature of Schipol Airport and the new Utrecht train station. It is a great way to see Dutch culture and history all at once. If you are into Dutch music, you can hear a concert at the Concert Hall display by the Dutch band Golden Earring, who is a favorite of mine. I get nostalgic when I put the car radio on and one of Golden Earring's hits like 1974's Radar Love or 1983's Twilight Zone comes on. It is too bad that most of Golden Earring's music is heard only in The Netherlands because of some of their controversial themes are too much for the prudish Americans and I will have to order one of their CD's on line in the future.
It will take a couple of hours or more to tour the miniatures of Madurodam and you will be wanting to revisit your favorites and backtrack to catch displays you missed the first time around. It will have you living your second childhood. After touring Madurodam itself, Monique, Piet, Manouk, Jiska and I went into the auditorium to see an awesome (and subtitled) documentary about the 1953 floods that decimated parts of the coast of the Netherlands. It reminded me of the footage of the Hurricane of 1938 that destroyed a lot of coastal Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York and how they also built barriers to prevent another disaster from decimating their tiny nation.
Madurodam is open seven days a week and admission varies for adults and children. It is closed on the major holidays and it is well-worth a tour for those who do not have a lot of time to tour the entire country of the Netherlands. I wouldn't mind coming back here again!
From journal Doing It The Dutch Way
July 20, 2011
George Maduro was the only son of Joshua and Rebecca Maduro. He was born at his family's home on Willemstad, Curacao on 15 July 1916 and was of Sephardic Jewish descent. Maduro was a student at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands when the Germans invaded the country on 10 May 1940. As an already commissioned officer in the Dutch Calvary, Maduro went to battle against the German invasion and had captured German soldiers at Rijkwijk during this time. But The Netherlands surrendered to Germany five days after the invasion, and George Maduro was captured by the Germans and imprisoned at the Hotel Oranje in nearby Scheveningen.
George was released from Hotel Oranje six months after his capture on the condition that he wear the yellow star of David required by the Nazis for all Dutch-Jewish people over the age of 5 to wear. George refused and joined the Dutch resistance where he he became involved in smuggling Allied airmen shot down over the Netherlands and France into Spain so that they could return to Great Britain. He was captured by the Germans again and was imprisoned but George escaped and rejoined the Dutch Resistance and participated in many acts of sabotage against the Nazi tyranny in his country until a Belgian collaborator betrayed him to the Gestapo, and George was captured again.
This time, George Maduro was sent to Saarbrucken, Germany by the Gestapo and then onto Dachau Concentration Camp where he died of typhus on 9 February 1945 at the age of 28. In 1946, George Maduro was posthumously awarded the highest Dutch military award the 4th class Order of William. In 1952, George Maduro's parents donated the money for the construction of the little village of Madurodam near Scheveningen and it opened the same year.
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
December 16, 2010
Adhamiya, Baghdad, Iraq
September 8, 2010
December 28, 2005
From journal Amsterdam 2001
London , United Kingdom
April 8, 2005
On to The Hague, the seat of the Dutch govenment, and a city tour taking in all the major sites like the various ministeries and embassies, the Peace Palace, The Binnenhof and Dutch Parliament buildings, the Royal Palace, and the prison where Mr Milosevic is being held, as well as the building the War Crimes Tribunal is using for the trial.
After this, it was onto Madurodam (entrance included in your ticket), which is billed as "Holland in Miniature". It was actually built by the parents of a Dutch soldier killed in the war (George Maduro) in memory of their son and has since become a Dutch institution. The buildings are all to 1/25 scale and are very detailed - some of them have "working" features, so the trains run, the bridges lift, the crowd at the football match is singing, and there is a lot to catch the eye and the imagination. Good for kids and adults alike.
From journal Amsterdam Getaway
April 4, 2005
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
November 5, 2004
Follow the path marked on the scaled-down streets, and you will not miss any part of Madurodam.
The attention to detail is phenomenal and everything works. The miniature automobiles run on the highways, trains glide on rails, ships sail, speedboats zoom, and airplanes taxi on the runways! Even the landscaping uses a lot of bonsai and dwarf species to enhance the look and feel. Madurodam is open late into the night, and after dark, is decked with thousands of tiny lights.
From journal Netherlands in Miniature
September 27, 2004
Objects are made right in Madurodam to a 1:25 scale. We took the train from Amsterdam Central to Den Haag (The Hague) Central, then the no. 22 bus (the no. 9 tram goes there, too) to Madurodam. It was only about a half-hour train ride to Den Haag, then 15 minutes by bus to Madurodam.
This miniature city opened in 1952.
High-school students from the region serve as the mayor and inaugurate new scale models.
From journal Amazing Amsterdam and its Surroundings
by Emily Marie
Bronx, New York
March 17, 2004
Once you've gone through the gates, you are in The Netherlands, but its 1:25 the size of The Netherlands you've just "left." Many of the famous sites of the country are represented here, from the canals and buildings of Amsterdam to the cube houses and ports of Rotterdam to train station and neo-modern museum of Eindhoven. The place isn't set out geographically as the country is, but sites from specific cities seem to be fairly close to one another.
The park is always a buzz, and not from the visitors. Many of the roads and almost all the rail tracks are busy. The model of Schipol has planes getting ready for takeoff, while a fireboat extinguishes a fire on a tanker heading towards port. Some things, such as a fair rollercoaster or the cars running through a test track, are activated by spectators pressing a button. Some of the attractions are coin-operated, but visitors are rewarded for their money: For instance if you put a coin into the candy factory, the truck at the loading dock will take a tootsie roll from the museum to the visitor.
Madurodam takes great pride in their models. The detail is pretty amazing, especially considering the size of the models. The models have a life-expectancy of 30 years, and when they are retired, the models are destroyed, rather than to give away the artists' works.
Along the outer walls of the park are a few areas of interest. To the left of the entrance is a gallery, with rotating exhibits. During one winter trip, I saw an ice sculpture display, while a spring trip brought me to an exhibition of award-winning news photos. To the right upon entry to the park is the gift shop and restaurant. The food is pretty good, and you can take a seat at the large windows looking out at the park.
Madurodam will be enjoyed more by children - after all, some adults may prefer to see the real Den Haag sites than models of them. It is still charming though for people of all ages.
From journal The real capital of Holland