Daf Museum Eindoven

Yesterday the kids and I headed to Eindhoven to first visit some museums as our Museumkaarts arrived in the mail this week. First up, the Daf Museum and then if time and S’s toe (which is infected) was okay then we’d stop in the Philips Museum for a quick visit, though we did that museum before so not such a big deal.

For some reason Peggy Sue, our navigation lady on my phone, was not too clear and somehow I took a few wrong turns (probably just me reading the map wrong but easy to blame her) but we were diverted and ended up at the Van Abbemuseum which M and I visited last year. We ended up figuring it out and finally reached our destination.

In the future, you can easily park on the streets nearby and pay the meters but for us part of the adventure is taking the Dutch train into the city.

When you first arrive the kids are given a pencil and type of scavenger hunt which keeps them entertained through the museum. Then when finished, you bring it back to the gift shop to get a small gift – which was wooden yoyo’s.   As it was 100% in Dutch, they managed to get most of the answers – great for practice but at the same time they got a bit bored with it, I started filling in answers.  Didn’t matter – they still got the wooden yoyo’s which was great as that saved me from having to buy them something else.

The museum was nicely done and if you are a car aficionado, this place is for you!  Loads of history and cool stuff.  Here the kids found a truck which they really liked!

veenstra truck




This next section is especially for my father – thought he’d like to see all these items in the workshop.



Soren likes cars, but truthfully after about 20 minutes they saw enough.  They prefer more interactive museums where they can touch and do things.  Next time we’re heading to a children’s museum or science museum where they can interact with things.  There are so many museums which you get free entry with the museumkaarts.

I think they’ll enjoy the Nationaal Militair Museum in Soest – a former US Air Force Base.

The NEMO in Amsterdam is a big on one our list – but I want to spend all day there.  I think during the half term break, I’ll take the kids up to Amsterdam and spend the night in hotel.

Maritiem Museum in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Today Nils has to be in Rotterdam for two meetings, so the kids and I are taking the ride with a him (no train costs!) And going off to explore the city for those four hours.

After looking around a bit online, I think the best thing to do is the Maritiem Museum and go from there.

The museum is was so awesome for both kids and adults!   As we entered the museum, we immediately found the lockers for our coats (we learned from our previous museum trips!)

Then we headed up to the permanent exhibition, “The Offshore Experience

When we first arrived a worker told me we had to ‘enter at our own risk‘ and the kids area was on the 2nd floor and this is for ages 8+. But with a 7 & 9 year old, I said we’d give it a try and went inside.

First you have a quick video introducing you to the process and safety of being on an oil rigging platform, activate your enterance card and you then actually get to stand on a simulated platform.   I had to really not look at the water as I got dizzy and seasick.  There are 9 ‘games’or better yet challenges you have to complete. Clearly geared towards adults but very cool stuff.  Soren loved it and think he’s got a future career mapped out. Maebh while didn’t hate it,  was more cautious and we walked down the stairsand Soren took the pitch black elevator which puts you on the ocean floor (again simulated).  Overall it was AWESOME section of the museum.
After about 1/2 day Maebh comes up and says, “I think this whole place is like about a boat!” Lol she had no idea what maritime meant!!

This section of the museum was about cruising history and on-board ships.

The second floor was Professor Splash area (in & outside) which the kids LOVED!  They worked together and with other kids as they pretended they were working on the shipping docks moving containers with cranes, etc

I have to go in and add some more photos and more details later but great place and we need to return here!

Would be free with the Museum Kaart (Dutch residents only) but we paid €26 for the three of us so not bad at all.  A quick magnet at the gift shop and then headed home.

Philips Museum – Eindhoven, The Netherlands

On the second to last day in The Netherlands, the kids & I took a trip to Eindhoven.   We took the “sprinter” train from Boxtel which added to the adventure!   Coolest part of the train was that it was a brand new train – each set of chairs has electrical outlet & USB port.


The main reason we visited Eindhoven was to visit the Philips Museum where we spent well over three hours!


It is good value for money – €9 for adults and €4.50 for kids 6-18.  Kids under 6 are free but I personally would NOT take small kids here.  I think 6+ is the best age for both child & parent (and other guests).

Tip: Just after the bathrooms with the coat rack on the left, take a right and there are a wall of lockers.  Put in a coin and shove in your stuff – didn’t see them until we were on our way after looking for our coats for a few minutes as they were covered by literally a hundred others.

I paid an additional €5.00 for the Mission Eureka game.  Knowing full-well, we’d never win the game, but I thought the kids love to do challenging game/trail.  They provided us with an ipad (which thankfully was in a case, so the thoughts of it dropping were quickly settled). We had to come up with a name so Soren chose “Night Howlers” from Zootropolis. If Nils was with us, I’m 100% sure we’d score much higher but going up against teams of 4 adults vs. me, an 8 year old  & a 6 year old was purely for entertainment vs. a competition.   Equipped with our iPad, we took photos of ourselves, and set out to read the exhibits.  In each area, you put your iPad into the lit up table and answer some questions and take some challenges together and sometimes against each other.


Mission Eureka Game 

Overall there is an excellent history of the Philips family and their association with Eindhoven and around the world with text in both Dutch and English.  There are a huge number of exhibits and interactive portals allowing you to see where Philips impacts the world beyond the light bulb, televisions, shavers and boom boxes, but in medical devices like the x-ray & MRI, etc.  The kids thought it was cool to see this yellow tv with the push buttons – hard for them to imagine we had to get up and press a button to turn the channel each time.


The kids loved each one more than the next and they did a great job making each one fun and understandable.  Among them was the heat sensor camera – so they could see by lifting up sleeves and exposing skin would be shown on the screen, etc. and then of course as it was video – it’s only natural for a DAB!  If you click here you’ll see a video too!



As we were entering I saw a sign which said “Museum Kids Factory 1 pm” but didn’t think much about it thinking we’d never be there at 1 pm as we were one of the first people to enter the building.  So when we were done with Mission Eureka game, we returned it an inquired about the Museum Kids Factory.  She explained its a hands-on workshop where children can make things – 1.50 per child for supplies – WELL WORTH IT!   Kids can have fun being creative and finding out more about technology. There are all kinds of activities on offer, including soldering, drawing with 3D pens, building with bits of wood, using an electronic circuit and playing with a wonderful collection of Philiform, the range of building blocks and experimental construction kits developed by Philips in the 1970s.  It was there where volunteer, Jan de Lau, was so kind and helped both kids step-by-step build their gadgets.  It wasn’t until later which I understood the items to make were geared towards kids 8+ but thankfully it was Jan who helped a lot as Maebh at 6.5 was a bit young.  Soren who will be 9 in a matter of works was a perfect age.

unnamed5Overall we really enjoyed the museum and especially liked the Museum Kids Factory.   The museum is well worth a visit if you are in Eindhoven and can go for a few hours.  This is one of the museums which you can get free if you live in The Netherlands and have the Museum Kaart.

Afterwards we walked around a bit – ate our final Vietnamese lompeia.


Then popped into XXL – the shop which has aisles and aisles of junk and loads of laughs. It was there where the kids bought their squishy guys. At 1.00 each I didn’t mind, but sure enough it was a matter of HOURS before Soren’s broke – flour inside all over the bathroom in the Heuvel’s parking garage – Maebh’s still with us back in Dublin.


When Nils met up with us, we walked around a bit looking for a place to stop in for a beer and some food. We spotted one place just behind the Cathedral but from outside it looked bad and the name “Drinkers Pub” nearly made me avoid it but a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover.   Nils popped in and said we should go in – it was great choice – 800+ beers to choose from!  I had a small glass of classic wit and a half pint of Schneider Weisse – both on draught.  We were hungry so we also got nachos – which were yummy!  Would definitely go back here too.


Oh and Soren and Nils had some laughs in the men’s room as the urinals were made from beer kegs – the ladies room was just plain toilets.




Oertijdmuseum – Dinosaur Museum, Boxtel, The Netherlands

Today the kids and I explored the nearby Oertijdmuseum while Papa had a meeting in Eindhoven.

When I was looking around at kid-friendly things to do in the region of The Netherlands, I came across the Oertijdmuseum so knew it would be something for us during this trip.  As their website is 100% in Dutch, I couldn’t get info info to see if there was enough to keep our two entertained.  It’s so easy to have a translation widget put on your website for all the non-Dutch speaking visitors who come to The Netherlands (there are plenty!)

The museum is essentially broken up into three parts -the gift shop/cafe & movie, the museum part and the outdoor trail & play spaces.  Upstairs you will find find fossils, statues and some interactive exhibitions – all in Dutch and a two were not working.

After we saw all the good stuff inside, we headed out to the forest where you follow the path and came upon all the different dinosaurs with a few playground areas. For those interested in plants there were tons!

As you see, it was cold and frost on the trees.  The temperature was set to be max 3 degrees but sunny so was bearable.   Certainly would be much more enjoyable and in the warmer weather.

As you walk down the path some were more scary then the one before…

We enjoyed being outside, even though cold. We think this is the area which could be improved.  Add something interactive here like a stamp or punch at each stop, (think Santa’s Village) or holiday-themed treasure trail like at Sheringham Park and if the trail was completed you get a certificate or tiny plastic dinosaur.

The playground areas were fun for them too. They especially enjoyed being in the mouth of the Dino’s as if they were going to be eaten.

And some more friendly thoughts.

We visited the cafe for a tea, a worstebrotje for Soren and a ham/kaas toasti or Maebh – though .30 for a package of mustard grrr!   Why not have a tub of mustard and ketchup at the counter.  Probably not able to do with the mayonnaise – the Dutch drink it 😉 He he
The food was very affordable at €2.00 each – most places charge €4.50 or more!

I am not one to give them loads of toys, especially plastic ones) from the gift shop for no reason but visiting but allowed to each picked out two small items from the gift shop.  Two shells for Maebh’s new shelf shell collection and for Soren an interesting gem called Gypsom (as his favorite, the Amethyst is way too expensive)  and real haaientanden (sharks tooth). Again affordable at a total cost of €5.

The museum was a fun time for us and good for a family half day out. Super friendly staff too. I would say eight would be the oldest and ages two to five is the ideal age to visit.

The guests well typical  – they have no problem stopping in the middle of the walkway to do something or chat and not thing of others around them. The kids cut the line while the parents watch and never correct.. not a single apology and rarely a smile.  Same experience at the Naturalis in Leiden with kids cutting in between the four kids (who does that?) and after along discussion with a Dutch father & Czech mom, it’s normal.   In fact, The Netherlands has been ranked among the most unfriendliest place for expats!   I still really like it here & know it’s not all the people, but I have met Dutch who live in Ireland and UK who say they’d prefer to never return to NL.

Entrance fees: €9 adult and €6 for kids and they do not accept the Museum Card. Personaly I would not return too often as it’s a bit steep for what you get. If they added a dino-themed indoor soft play area, it would make it even that much better. I am not sure if there is an option to skip the museum part and just visit the playground, cafe and gift shop.  If so, we’d do that on a future visit at Easter with all 9 grandchildren.


Museums in Eindhoven

I am compiling a list of things to do while we are in The Netherlands over the Christmas break. While I’d prefer for the things to be FREE, I realize that unlike Ireland and Washington DC, most museums need to charge entrance fees – but some are free.

First up is the city of Eindhoven – being he closest “big” city to Boxtel, where we’ll stay, I figured we’d check it out.

It’s The Netherlands 5th largest city. There is a lot you can say about it, but charming & pretty it is not . This is due to the fact that it has been heavily bombarded during WWII leaving holes in the city and streets.  So this is why you will see a pretty house built next to an ugly 1960’s building. 

They have quite a few museums like Philips, PSV Eindhoven Football club, and an Art Museum.  But immediately I see that they have a museum for DAF trucks – Soren would enjoy that the most. 

DAF Museum

A museum dedicated to the DAF products sounds like a great place for Soren!  Eindhoven has been home to DAF, one of Europe’s largest truck manufacturers (and, at one time, cars), since the company’s founding in 1928. Started by brothers Hub and Wim Van Doorne in a small blacksmith’s shop, the company – short for Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek – started off making simple engineering products, gradually progressing from trailers to cars and trucks. The DAF Museum is a testament to the company’s success and includes a replica of the original workshops and offices, along with samples of its vehicles throughout the decades, including a number of prototypes.There is a village square, shops from the 1930’s, a pub, period garage and replica of the Van Doornes’ office as well as 120 DAF products including trucks, a special section to engines and cars some which were not even put into production.  There is a free kids treasure hunt included and in the end, if all correct they get a little present. 

Price is 9.00 per adult & 4.00 per children ages 5-15 (kids under 5 are FREE!)

Van Abbemuseum

The first public museum for modern & contemporary art in Europe.  The collection of around 2700 works of art include key works and archives by Lissitzky, Picasso!!, Kokoschka, Daniels & Kormeling.  

To keep the kids entertained they have a character called Beetle Kusa which lives in the museum and loves doing magic.  Every night he practices new spells and tricks like making paintings dance and sculptures sing.  But one night, he magically swirled itself upside down and can’t figure out the words to the spell to help him get back on its wheels.  He kids can help by completing the spell.  A book at the counter is a small suitcase filled with info to find all the clues in the collection & exhibition. 

Price is 12.00 per adult & children under 13 are FREE

Philips Museum

This one looks the coolest to me.   Mission Eureka is an innovative group game about more than 100 years of Philips inventions. It is suitable for everyone aged 8 years and upwards. You play Mission Eureka on an iPad, in a team of 2, 3 or 4 persons. You will be presented with challenges that you have to solve, just like real researchers. Working together as a team, you’ll discover how LED light works and what X-rays do, for example.

Team members compete against one another and against other teams in the museum. Mission Eureka is an exciting adventure that will bring out the explorer in you!  
Mission Eureka takes approximately 60 minutes and can be played in Dutch, English, French or Spanish. Price €5.00 per iPad / max. 4 people.  Not sure if they give you an ipad or you have to bring one – probably the later – yet another reason I need an iPad 🙂

Price is 8.00 per adult & children over 6 are 4.00.  Prices going up by .50 in January 2017
Family ticket is 
25.00 (2 adults & 2 kids and includes 1 Mission Eureka game

Eindhoven has a lot of street art.  The prime location to find it is De Berenkuil an area near the Eindhoven University  of Technology.  It has been designated a free zone for graffiti artists.  Also along the back of the Van Abbemuseum.

There is a card which gives you free enterance to loads of museums in NL. If I knew we come often now that Nils’ father lives back here then I might get it. The savings are significant.

The Museum card (Dutch: “Museumkaart”) is a personal card that allows free entrance to about 400 museums in the Netherlands.[2] As of 2016, the card costs €59.90 (including €4.95 administrative expenses) for adults, and is valid for one year.[3] A discounted card is available for youth under age 19, costing €32.45 (including €4.95 administrative expenses).

The Museum card is available at many of the larger participating museums, and it can also be purchased online. Museumkaart holders may register to receive a monthly digital magazine Museumkaart exclusive offers.

Although most museums offer free entry to Museumkaart holders, some museums charge a small fee. Additionally, some museums charge an additional fee for special exhibitions but not to the general collection.

The Museumkaart aims to promote the repeat visits and to increase the bond between museums and their (potential) visitors. The (Dutch) Museum Association is the publisher of the Museumkaart. The operation of the card is housed in the Museum Card Foundation (SMK), which also organizes the Museum Weekend and supports the marketing of affiliated museums. The income of the Museumkaart foundation benefits the participating museums. Affiliated museums are recognized in the Dutch Museum Register and are members of the Dutch Museum Association.


 The Museumkaart is available to buy at many of the participating museums below. It is noteworthy that the main web page of the Museumkaart is available in Dutch only and it does not provide any translation (see http://www.museumkaart.nl/).

In Amsterdam, the participating museums are as follows. Many of these museums are part of the Official Museums of Amsterdam, including the Cobra Museum (located in Amstelveen) and the Zaans Museum (located in Zaandam).



The Hague




In other parts of the Netherlands: