Madurodam is a miniature park and tourist attraction in the Scheveningen district of The Hague, Netherlands, home to a range of perfect 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch castles, public buildings, and large industrial projects as found at various locations in the country. The park was opened in 1952 and has been visited by tens of millions of visitors since that date. In 2012 Madurodam celebrated its 60th anniversary.
- The official opening of Madurodam was July 2, 1952.
- Madurodam has a railway network of approximately 4 km.
- There are 50,000 lights in this city.
- The miniature cars drive an average of 14,000 miles per year (which is almost the same as an average Dutchman).
Madurodam was named after George Maduro, a Jewish law student from Curaçao who fought the Nazi occupation forces as a member of the Dutch resistance and died at Dachau concentration camp in 1945. In 1946 Maduro was posthumously awarded the Medal of Knight 4th-class of the Military Order of William, the highest and oldest military decoration in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for the valor he had demonstrated in the Battle of the Netherlands against German troops.
Missis B. Boon-van der Starp was a member of a foundation for the Dutch Students Sanatorium. In this sanatorium students with tuberculosis could get their cures but they could also study. The aftercare cost a lot of money, but there wasn’t that much money. Financial support was necessary. Missis Boon-van der Starp heard about a miniature park in Beaconsfield, England. This park made a lot of money and a lot profit and a big part of that was every year donated to a hospital in London. After a meeting between the parents of George Maduro and Missis Boon-van der Starp the parents of George Maduro donated the funds necessary for the Madurodam project. By donating the money that was necessary for the project the parents of George Maduro had a memorial for their son. The architect of Madurodam became S.J. Bouma. Because Miss Boon-van der Starp had heard about Beaconsfield and wanted something like that, S.J. Bouma visited. After his visit he created a plan for Madurodam and came up with a theme: The city with the smile.
On 2 July 1952, the then teenaged princess Beatrix was appointed mayor of Madurodam, after which she was given a tour of her town. When Beatrix became queen of the Netherlands, she relinquished this function. After the resignation of Queen Beatrix a new tradition arose. From now on the youth council would select every year a mayor from their midst. In September 2013 Sabine Bot was chosen as this year’s mayor. All the members of the youth council come from schools in The Hague. Every year schools from The Hague can nominate students to take part in the youth council. The youth council members are also a member of the spending committee in Madurodam. The spending committee talks about the charities. Madurodam has his own support fund. With this fund institutions who organize activities for young people can get some financial support.
Madurodam is called a city, but is more than that. It shows the most important/characteristics parts of The Netherland. Some things that visitors can see in Madurodam are:
- National museum.
- Binnenhof (where the government is located).
- The airport.
- The harbor
- Canal houses
- Fields of tulips
Because Madurodam was coming closer to its 60 anniversary they (the direction) wanted to do something special. Research showed that visitors thought there was not much to do in the park. These findings and declining number of visitors was the reason to close the park between November 2011 and March 2012 so it was possible to renovate Madurodam. With the renovations of 8 million euro the park has now three themes: water as a friend and an enemy, the old city and The Netherlands as an inspiration for the world. In every theme visitors can do activities. For example it’s possible to make your own lightshow or your own music mix. Also there are activities like opening and closing dams and bridges and buying flowers for the lowest price. For the visitors are a lot of things to do, but there is also invested in new aspects of bringing information over. There are interactive screens where little movies are shown. Visitors can activate these screens by scanning the card they got while entering Madurodam. With this card it’s possible to activate a screen and see for example on the screen that stands next to the Delta works a surfer telling about it.
Everything that is standing in Madurodam has a scale of 1:25. Before making a building the direction has to decide if they want to have that building in Madurodam. After their decision the first thing that is going to happen is searching for information. This information contains the shape of the building but also the color etc. Therefor the designers/makers search for a lot of pictures. After this information search it’s possible to start making the models. A computer measures everything and after that it sends his information to a machine that makes the real model. Then the model is done but it is not finished yet. The model has to be painted. Therefor the model goes to the painting room where it gets the real look. In this painting room restorations also take place. Because everything is standing outside it can happen that the paint fall off.
Madurodam wants to show their visitors a realistic view of The Netherlands but then in a small version. Even the trees around the buildings are on the scale 1:25. These trees need to be kept small, so there is a lot of work in that. Also there are a lot of little people around the buildings. This shows the real life of the Dutch people. These ‘residents’ also change with the weather. In the winter they wear jackets and warm clothes and in the summer they wear t-shirts. Also the residents of Madurodam become more and more multicultural. Now it’s also possible to see some ‘residents’ who come from other countries (immigrants), because this is also the reality in real life in The Netherlands.
The park was the inspiration for Storybook Land, an attraction opened at Disneyland in 1956 and at Disneyland Paris in 1994. Additionally, it was a visit to Madurodam that inspired Fernando de Ercilla Ayestarán to promote construction of the Catalunya en Miniatura project, one of the largest miniature parks in the world, opened in Catalonia, Spain, in 1983.
- Miniature park
- Portugal dos Pequenitos, a park consists of diminutive versions of Portuguese houses and monuments founded in 1940
- Catalunya en Miniatura, miniature park opened in 1983, with 35.000 m² model area and 60.000 m² total area, located 17 km away from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
- Miniatürk, miniature park with 15.000 m² model area, and 60.000 m² total area in Istanbul, Turkey.
- Huis ten Bosch — Japanese theme park modelled on the cities and landscape of the Low Countries
- Mini-Europe in Brussels, Belgium.
- Mini Israel near Latroun, in Israel.
- Minimundus in Klagenfurt, Austria.
- "Madurodam Spoorwegen". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "Woensdag, 18 Oktober 2006". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "Geschiedenis". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Jeugdgemeenteraad". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Start met ontdekken". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Vernieuwd Madurodam beleeft goede eerste dag". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "Koningin opent vernieuwd Madurodam". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "Hoe wordt Madurodam gebouwd". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Engelengeduld in Madurodam". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "This Day in Disney History: JUN 18". Retrieved 2007-09-05.
- eldiariomontanes.es, 06.10.2007, Catalunya en Miniatura. DE RUTA POR... CATALUÑA. Turismo diminuto (Spanish)