Netherlands 18: The route to Madurodam

We spent the second week of our Netherlands 18 trip at the place that’s starting to feel like our second home, Duinrell. We’ve been going to Duinrell for quite a few years now. There’s many reasons why we go, one of which is the proximity of places like Madurodam.

Madurodam is a miniature park/model village based in Scheveningen, just on the outskirts of The Hague. It originally opened in 1952 and is named after George Maduro, a Jewish law student who fought the Nazi occupation forces as a member of the Dutch resistance.

It was originally set up as a means of providing financial support to a sanatorium for students with tuberculosis, with George Maduro’s parents donating funds to get the project off the ground as a memorial to their son.

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Looking out over Madurodam

There’s two ways to Madurodam from Duinrell, either across the dunes on the North Sea Route (Noordzeeroute) or along the road. I covered most of the route back in 2015, when we stayed in The Hague, but coming from the opposite direction. We decided to do both routes again, starting with the dune route on the way there.

The dune route is the longer of the two, taking you through the dunes (of course!), parallel to the coastline. It’s also a much nicer route. You get to ride in a lovely setting, in among nature and away from traffic.

We set off from Duinrell, turning left and following the route to Wassenaarse Slag along a protected cycleway and onto Katwijkseweg. The first section of cycleway had a paved surface, so it’s probably quite old now. Asphalt is usually the preferred surface nowadays. It was a little bumpy, but perfectly fine.

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Riding along the paved cycleway on Storm van ‘s-Gravesandeweg

At the roundabout where Katwijkseweg continues to the right, we headed straight towards Wassenaarse Slag and onto the route through the dunes. At this point, the cycleway and footway diverges from the road, so the route is completely traffic free.

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Almost the whole gang (18 of us) on the route to Wassenaarse Slag

We carried on along until we reached the Fletcher Boutique Hotel, where we turned left onto the North Sea Route (Noordzeeroute). From here, we carried on riding through the dunes, but now on a rather good paved cycleway.

Indeed, it isn’t just a cycleway, there’s also a footway and a bridleway, all of which are separated from each other. Now, imagine if our off-road countryside routes looked like this? There’d be much less conflict. Also, there’s none of the stupid barriers that plague many traffic-free cycle routes in the UK.

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On the North Sea Route, separate footpath, cycleway and bridleway

We went on for a while, riding along the undulating path as it makes its way through the dunes. We saw quite a few other people riding along the route too, everyone from families and seniors on e-bikes to sports cyclists in all their lycra and helmets. Something of an odd sight in The Netherlands seeing people riding in lycra gear.

Soon we reached the tower at Pompstation Scheveningen. This pumps water from under the dunes and is still in use today. Soon after and we were out of the dunes and back on the roads.

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Riding past Pompstation Scheveningen

We continued along another protected cycleway and passed Scheveningen Prison. We then reached Madurodam, where we locked up our bikes and headed inside to spend the day there.

Now, if you’ve not been to Madurodam, I can highly recommend it. There’s so much to see and do, you can easily entertain the kids for at least a day.

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A very typical Dutch scene, in miniature

It’s very interactive, you can find out how canal locks work by navigating a miniature canal system, put boat fires out and load shipping containers. You can also mix some music loops at a festival, fly a mini plane in a wind tunnel or pretend to plug a dike like the little Dutch boy in Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates.

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Playing with the model canal and lock system

This being The Netherlands, water is a recurring theme. Whether it’s the canals that are typical of many Dutch cities and towns or the recreation of Rotterdam’s ports and Delta Works, there’s definitely a lot of water. There’s also a large playground, featuring a fishing boat kids can explore and zip wires, with a café and restaurant next door.

This was our fourth visit to Madurodam and our kids loved it as much as the first time we went. Each time, we’ve brought different friends and family along, who’ve all loved it too. I can highly recommend a visit.

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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

After a fantastic sunny day at Madurodam, it was time leave and head back to Duinrell. We decided to go along the road on the way back, instead of across the dunes as it would be quicker.

Unfortunately, I didn’t choose the best route, so it meant dealing with some pretty poor roads. As there was a large group (18 of us) and quite a few kids, this made the ride back not as pleasant as the ride there.

It started well as we left Madurodam. We headed along the protected cycleway along Plesmanweg, then turned left and right to get on Van Berwaerdeweg and Oostduinlaan. At this point we were just on painted door-zone cycle lanes, which was quite unpleasant as there was quite high levels of traffic.

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Riding in the door zone

There were some pretty poor unprotected junctions to deal with too, complete with ASLs, which is always a bad sign. We made it through the junctions and turn left onto Wassenaarseweg, where the door-zone cycle lanes continued.

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One of the poor junctions on the way back to Duinrell

At the end of Wassenaarseweg, we turned right onto Thérèse Schwartzestraat. At this point, we were back on a protected cycleway, which we were glad about. We soon reached the N44, the main route from The Hague to Wassenaar and Duinrell.

We rode along the N44, on the protected cycleway. This is quite a busy route, both for motor traffic and cycles. The cycleway reflects this, as it’s quite wide and has a nice smooth surface.

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Nice wide and smooth cycleway next to the N44

There are sections where the cycleway changes to a fietstraat (cycle street), where cars are allowed, but are guests. This is enable vehicle access to some of the properties along the road. This was fine as there were very few cars.

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Cycleway changing to fietstraat (cycle street)

We left the N44 at Rust en Vreugdlaan and we were back onto the paved cycleways around Wassenaar. After a few turns, we were riding along Schouwweg, which turned into Storm van ‘s-Gravesandeweg. Soon, we took a left turn to arrive back at Duinrell.

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The whole gang (18 of us) riding along Schouwweg

We had a fantastic day at Madurodam, and ride there and back were pretty good too. If you’re staying at Duinrell and fancy a visit to Madurodam, you should definitely ride there if you can. Though maybe choose a different route to our return route!

Back to part 6 – A ride on the Houtribdijk

Next to part 8 – The route to Wassenaarse Slag

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