Madurodam entrance in 2007
|Location||George Maduroplein 1
The Hague, Netherlands
|Opened||2 July 1952|
|Operating season||All year round|
|Visitors per annum||740,000 (2012)|
Madurodam (Dutch pronunciation: [maːdyroːdɑm]) is a miniature park and tourist attraction in the Scheveningen district of The Hague in the Netherlands. It is home to a range of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large developments. The park was opened in 1952 and has been visited by tens of millions of visitors since. In 2012, Madurodam celebrated its 60th anniversary.
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.
Idea for the park
Mrs 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 the money was not available. Financial support was necessary. Mrs Boon-van der Starp heard about a miniature park in Beaconsfield, England – Bekonscot. 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 Mrs 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 Mrs Boon-van der Starp had heard about Bekonscot and wanted something like that, S.J. Bouma visited it. After his visit he created a plan for Madurodam and came up with a theme: Het stadje met de glimlach (The little city with the smile).
Mayor and city council
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 her resignation a new tradition arose. From that point on the city council would annually select a mayor from their midst. All members of the youth council are The Hague students. Every year schools from The Hague can nominate students to take part in the youth council.
The youth council members are also member of the spending committee in Madurodam. The spending committee manages charities – Madurodam has its own support fund. With this fund institutions that organize activities for young people get financial support in doing so.
In 2011, research showing declining public interest prompted park management to invest in a large-scale renovation, in time for the park's 60th anniversary in 2012. Due to this the park was closed to the public between November 2011 and March 2012.
After renovating for €8 million the park is now divided into three themes: water, as a friend and an enemy, historical cities and The Netherlands as an inspiration for the world. Every theme offers different activities - from lightshows to mixing music. Small coin slots trigger bridges, factories or an oil tanker on fire. While aesthetic improvements have been made, the informative aspect has also been improved. Small television stands show brief video footage or in-depth knowledge. Visitors receive chipped cards upon entry, which can be used to trigger these.
Every object in Madurodam has been built at a scale of 1:25. When the managing directors decide a specific miniature has to be fabricated for Madurodam, the builders will first research all aspects of the actual building. They will research the shape, color and all other properties of that object, by analysing many pictures. After this information search it's possible to start making the models. A computer measures everything and sends all information to a machine that makes the physical model. The model goes to the painting room where it gets the final look. In this painting room restorations also take place. Because most of the miniatures are outdoors, they need regular paint retouches.
Madurodam strives a realistic view of The Netherlands in a scaled down environment. Everything, including flora and street decoration is modeled to scale. 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.
Buildings and structures
Although Madurodam is mainly a miniature city a collection of Dutch landmarks is also found amidst the landscapes. They include:
- Binnenhof (where the government is located)
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, The Netherlands' main international airport
- Port of Rotterdam, world's third-largest port
- Traditional Dutch canal houses
- Tulip fields
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.
- (Dutch) Madurodam, Den Haag Marketing. Retrieved on 7 February 2015.
- (Dutch) Germieke Smits, "Kinderen willen Antillen terugzien in Madurodam", Trouw, 2014. Retrieved on 7 February 2015.
- (Dutch) "Madurodam vestigt bezoekersrecord in 2012", Algemeen Dagblad, 2013. Retrieved on 7 February 2015.
- "Geschiedenis" [History] (in Dutch).
- "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, 6 October 2007, Catalunya en Miniatura. DE RUTA POR... CATALUÑA. Turismo diminuto (Spanish)
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