Weekends Guide in Amsterdam
The “smallest city in the Netherlands”. This is a re-creation of every famous Dutch landmark in miniature. Includes a full working scale model railway, oil refinery and the entire Schipol airport including aircraft. The gabled houses and mini-terrace cafes are a real treat.
Regular trains run from Amsterdam Centraal to Den Haag Centraal. From there you can catch tram number 9 towards Scheveningen, it stops right outside Madurodam.
Opening hours: 10AM to 6PM
Admission: Adults: € 14.50, Children 3 to 11 years: € 10.50, 65+: € 13.50
Also known as “The Hague” this is the capital city of the Netherlands, home of many international institutions, and the residence of the Dutch Royal family. It is approximately one hour from Amsterdam by train or car.
Though shopaholics will hardly be left wanting in Amsterdam, Den Haag also presents a wide range of options particularly for clothing, household goods, and furniture.
Fans of surrealism will not want to miss the Escher Museum in the Palace (http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/index.php?set_cms_session_language=en). Den Haag historical museum is also a great way to access the history of the city (http://www.haagshistorischmuseum.nl/page/english).
A walk through the Haagsche Bos (The Hague Forest) is lovely on a sunny day and you may find some odd animals crossing your path!
For the curious minded, the International Criminal Court welcomes visitors, though planning far ahead is definitely required as security is understandably tight. See their website for more details on arranging a visit http://www.icc-cpi.int/EN_Menus/icc/Pages/default.aspx
The Hague has a vibrant cultural life and anyone interested in dance has come to the right place. Top attractions include Danslab (a collective involved in researching new performance techniques – http://www.danslab.nl/ in Dutch), and the Lucent Danstheater (http://www.ldt.nl/informatie/Englishprogram/) which also has regular classical performances.
The architecture around the city centre – and around Spui in particular – could be unfavorably described as schizophrenic. Some of the more experimental efforts of the latter half of the twentieth century went up without much thought for their context. Nevertheless, Den Haag’s skyline is quite fascinating and a walk through the centre taking it all in is well worth the time.
This is the most famous beachside resort in the Netherlands. It is located not far from Den Haag.
Rumor has it that German spies were exposed during World War II by asking them to pronounce the name of this popular hang out – it is one of the most notoriously difficult Dutch place names for non-native speakers. Beach enthusiasts travel from all over the Netherlands to visit Scheveningen when the weather is good (Note: The Dutch concept of ‘good’ weather may not match your own!)
De Hoge Veluwe National Park
Located close to Arnhem and Apeldoorn, De Hoge Veluwe is one of the biggest and most popular national parks in the Netherlands. Not only does the park offer the chance to see at least four distinct landscapes but it is also home to the Kröller-Müller Museum which houses a world class collection of Van Goghs. Close to the museum is an equally impressive statue garden surrounded by beautiful nature. The collection includes pieces by Auguste Rodin and Richard Serra.
The best way to get to the park is by bike. You can take a bike on the train from Amsterdam to Arnhem and cycle from there. Alternatively you can hire a bike once inside the park.
Children under 12: €3.50 Adults: €7
Apenheul Primate Park
Also close to Apeldoorn is the rare and unusually located Apenheul Primate Park (Yes, Apes in the Netherlands). Just as the name suggests this is a park full of primates of all sorts. This is no ordinary zoo mind you. The park’s staff work very hard to ensure that the creatures live in much the same way as they would in the wild. Many of the thirty species come up for close interactions with the visitors. If you have kids you must bring them here! There is a wide range of activities for adults and youngsters. As the park’s website says: “Monkeys, you never get tired of looking at them.”
The park is located in Berg and Bos Nature Park in Apeldoorn.
Children under 9: €14, Adults: €17