Madurodam (Dutch pronunciation: [maˌdyːroːˈdɑm], opened 1952) 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 since been visited by tens of millions of visitors. The entirety of net proceeds from the park go towards various charities in the Netherlands. In 2012, Madurodam celebrated its 60th anniversary.

History Idea for the park
File:Bouw van miniatuurstad Weeknummer 51-42 - Open Beelden - 21648.ogvPlay media
Constructing Madurodam, Dutch newsreel from 1951

Mrs B. Boon-van der Starp was a member of a foundation for the Dutch Students Sanatorium. In this sanatorium students with tuberculosis could obtain treatment, and could also study. Financial support was needed to pay for their convalescent care. Mrs Boon-van der Starp heard about Bekonscot, a miniature park in Beaconsfield, England. This park generated large profits, a large part of which was donated to a hospital in London each year.

After a meeting with Mrs Boon-van der Starp, George Maduro's parents donated the funds needed for the Madurodam project, as a memorial to their son. S.J. Bouma was appointed architect of Madurodam, and visited Bekonscot because Mrs Boon-van der Starp wanted the new park to be similar. 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").[1]

Mayor and city council
Madurodam in 1964

On 2 July 1952, the then teenage Princess Beatrix was appointed mayor of Madurodam, and was given a tour of her town. When Beatrix became Queen, she relinquished this title. After her resignation a new tradition arose: 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 members of the disbursement committee at Madurodam. The disbursement committee manages charities – Madurodam has its own fund which provides financial support to institutions that organize activities for young people.[2]

Madurodam in August 2012

In 2011, research showing declining public interest prompted the park management to invest in a large-scale renovation, at a cost of €8 million, in time for the park's 60th anniversary in 2012. For this purpose the park was closed to the public between November 2011 and April 2012.

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. Each theme offers different activities - from light shows 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 information. Visitors receive chipped cards upon entry, which can be used to trigger these.[3]

On 7 April 2012, Madurodam opened its doors to the public again.[4] The official opening was on 21 April 2012 with former Queen Beatrix.[5]

^ "Geschiedenis" [History] (in Dutch). ^ "Jeugdgemeenteraad". Retrieved 29 October 2013. ^ "Start met ontdekken". Retrieved 29 October 2013. ^ "Vernieuwd Madurodam beleeft goede eerste dag". Retrieved 30 October 2013. ^ "Koningin opent vernieuwd Madurodam". Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
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