There are over a thousand museums in the Netherlands across the length and breadth of the country. The themes of the museums vary as much as the size. Many famous museums are located in the country’s capital city of Amsterdam, such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. However, if you venture further afield you will find some real museum gems. Here are five out of the ordinary museums in the Netherlands that children will love.
My family recently visited this special museum in Nijmegen and the experience will stay with us forever. The premise of the museum is this: What is it like to be blind or partially sighted?
As you enter the museum there are interactive tools and exhibitions: games, writing braille, information screens, all with the aim of helping you understand what life is like for a blind person. Upstairs is where the main event takes place. Before you head up, there is short audio explanation to emphasize the importance of hearing when you have little or no sight. Then, you are led upstairs and given a brief explanation on how to use the cane your guide has given you. All guides are blind or partially sighted.
Your guide then leads you into a room. A dark room. As in pitch black see-absolutely-nothing-dark room. And your tour begins. Your guide’s voice is the only directional guide you have, as well as the cane you have that keeps you from banging into objects. Over the course of 60 minutes, the guide takes you through day-to-day life as a blind person, from getting around an apartment to crossing a busy road.
This is, ironically, an incredibly eye-opening educative museum visit, which will have you looking at the world around you in a whole new way. Tours are available in English, but there is a minimum age of 8 for entry.
World War II had an incredible impact on the Dutch, and there are many museums in the Netherlands that depict this. One such museum is in Aalten, which is in the eastern part of the country in Achterhoek. Aalten is close to the German border, so it was a dangerous place to be during the war.
Visitors to the museum get to experience what day-to-day life and life in hiding were like during the war years (1940-45). As you wander around the house at Markt 12, you will see an original hiding place in the attic, an illegal press run by the Dutch resistance, and the air raid shelter. You will hear the stories of daily life in wartime and the stories of those who were forced into hiding to escape German capture.
There are lots of exhibitions for children to interact with and learn from. There is also the ‘Escape Room for Freedom,’ a room that puts visitors to the test, exploring what dilemmas you would face and what choices you might make if you were forced to flee.
Syrup waffles. Who doesn’t love them? In the heart of Gouda, you can visit a syrup waffle factory and learn about the origin of these treacly cookies. You will learn how they are made and the history of the Kamphuisen brand, which has been around since 1810.
Your visit takes you on a tour of the bakery factory. Be sure to leave the jumpers at home; the ovens where the waffles are baked make the factory toasty warm!
Will you discover the secret recipe? Unlikely, but you do get to try a stroopwafel before you leave. Can you resist the shop on the way out?
At the Nederlands Openlucht Museum you will visit around 100 buildings situated on 44 hectares of land. These buildings take you by the hand and lead you straight back into the past. From farmhouses and mills to an old caravan, a bakery, a dairy factory, and gardens, the list goes on and on.
Most of the buildings are authentic and were once located around the country before being moved to the museum. You can explore inside the buildings, and each place has its own unique story to tell. In addition, you can take a ride on one of the historical trams, traveling along reconstructed tram lines, around the museum grounds.
There are lots of thought provoking, educative and interactive exhibitions and demonstrations, providing an experience for all the senses. Watch the baker baking the old-fashioned way at the bakery, or the blacksmith in action in the Forge, or the miller in the oil mill. You’ll learn about the poverty hidden behind the Amsterdam facades and see what a village school looked like in 1850. You can easily spend the best part of a day here, learning about the history and culture of the Netherlands.
Ever wanted to jump on a tongue or stroll through an ear? Then put a visit to Corpus on your list. If you are curious about the human body, then this is the place to visit. From the outside, it is already clear what this museum is all about since a giant person adorns the front of the building.
This is surely one of the most interactive museums in the Netherlands. Visitors travel through the body, literally entering at the knee and heading up to the brain. On this journey, visitors learn what our organs do and how different parts of the body work. There’s a 5D Heart Theatre and giant replicas to discover. The ‘journey’ lasts 55 minutes. You are then free to explore the other exhibits and games, all detailing how the human body works. There’s also a treasure hunt for children.
The museum is currently celebrating 14 years of existence with a special exhibition featuring a global hot topic — Science Experience: Planet Virus. You can watch a video about the new exhibition here.
This museum is suitable for children aged 6 and up. Due to the popularity of the museum, you should book tickets in advance.
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