Madurodam – A Miniature City and Local Monument
Madurodam is one of the most popular attractions in Scheveningen, in the Netherlands, and was established as a charity foundation as well as to create awareness as a war monument. It was founded out of the love and dedication of two women and has brought joy, fascination and wonder to local and international visitors alike. It is not every day that one has the opportunity to visit a town that has been built on a 1:25 scale, and where the greatest effort has been given to small details, such as vehicles, lights and villagers.
The miniature city of Madurodam was a joint effort by Mrs. Boon-van der Starp and Mrs. J. Maduro, who officially opened the city to the public in 1952. Mrs. Boon-van der Starp was looking for a way to generate an income for the tuberculosis patients who sought refuge at the Society for the Support of the Dutch Student Sanatorium, and Mrs. Maduro wanted to erect a monument in memory of her son, George, who died a hero in the Dachau prisoner camp during the war. Mrs Maduro donated money to start the project and the city was therefore named Madurodam, in honor of her son.
The two ladies wanted the city to be loosely based on the already popular Beaconsfield, and approached S.J. Bouma for his architectural skill and abilities. For extra funding, Bouma approached various companies, who all contributed with great enthusiasm towards the little Dutch village. Modurodam is constructed from various landmark buildings throughout the Netherlands, and also boasts a motorway, railway, petrol station and airport. Detailed photographs and hours of studying scaled down architectural drawings allow the Madurodam staff to create exact small scale replicas of the original buildings. As the city is located outdoors, constant maintenance work and gardening is done to ensure that it remains in pristine condition. For over fifty-five years, the city of Madurodam has been expanding and growing with new buildings and fascinating scenes.
The city has always has the support of the Royal family, with many functions and events at Madurodam being attended by them. As a teenager, Princess Beatrix was given the honor of being the mayor of the city, from its opening, and later relinquished power after being crowned queen. Today, a mayor is elected by a twenty-five member municipal council that consists of pupils from various schools in the country.
Over and above being able to walk through this magnificent city, Madurodam also offers special events such as Madurodam by Light and the Sesame Street in Madurodam Exhibition that takes place during the year. Visitors will have to set aside a few hours to walk through the city, as it has been so wonderfully crafted that visitors keep finding new features and breathtaking detail. It is easy to see why Madurodam is rated amongst the best attractions in the country.