#1 Zuiderzee Museum
Enkhuizen, Nederland (Google Maps)
Zuiderzee Museum is an interactive, reconstructed town set up to help people experience what it was like around the Zuiderzee before the 1930’s when the Afsluitdijk changed the entire area and the sea became IJsselmeer (now a man-made lake).
Amongst the attractions at the Zuiderzee Museum are: spaces memorializing historical floods, authentic buildings (sweet shops, an apothecary, a cheese shop, and more), a couple of eateries, a genuine fish smoking hut (where you can get genuine smoked herring – done the traditional way).
What we love about it: Love the interactive, “real town,” outdoor museum feel; the educational component; and even the old style River Choir that sings every afternoon
Prices range from € 10.00 (children 4-12 years) to € 16.00 (adults). Children below 4 get in for free.
You can visit their website to learn more about opening hours and schedules for the festive season here.
Den Haag, Nederland
The Madurodam is a small “theme park” made up of miniature models of all of key attractions across the Netherlands. Everything (besides the tulips pictured above, that is) is adorably tiny and expertly curated with each exhibit/build including either an interactive element or a short write up/audio description to listen to.
What we love about it: It’s very child-friendly (with lots of other tots running everywhere, and several interactive exhibits for play [such as one where children can learn how a lock (for canals) works; and another where kids can learn how heavy cheese wheels are]. There is also one actual playground on the premises (which is Nijntje branded), and Scheveningen (beach)* is only a 10 minute tram ride away. It’s great for a day out with the family – especially in the summer.
Children under 3 get in free, and prices thereafter are €16.50. Visit their website for more details.
*A quick note on Scheveningen: It’s a fun beach with a large boardwalk and plenty of good places to eat.
Every year, our family holds a special Familie Dag (reunion) in a different location. My husband’s aunts do most of the coordination, and every year they pick somewhere new and interesting. This past year, it was in Giethoorn – an idyllic (mostly) car-free village in Northeastern Holland. Gorgeous cottages line the banks of quaint canals, and most people get around by boat. It’s situated within a national park, and the land and properties are well-cared for. Homes are properly preserved, and the town itself offers a lot by way of activities (both “modern” and “historical”). There’s an old geological museum, an indoor museum on the history of farming and farm homes, and even a genuine knijpertjes “stand” where a few adorable senior citizens sit dressed in historical garb and make these wafer-thin waffle-like “biscuits” the old fashioned way (with ladles and cast iron presses).
What we love about it: It’s quaint, child-friendly, with many restaurants and activities for both kids and adults. It’s also good for a day out, or more – we noticed you can rent boats and homes for days at a time. While we were there, we also saw they were setting up for a blues concert and had a floating stage built in the middle of the water, which was really special!
Learn more about it on their tourism site.
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