A visit to the Nationaal Carnavals Museum: s’-Hertogenbosch

A visit to the Nationaal Carnavals Museum:  s’-Hertogenbosch

It is tradition that our kids school takes a field trip to the Nationaal Carnavals Museum just before the start of Carnival.  Oeteldonk runs in the blood of many people here in Brabant so naturally it’s a tradition celebrated in the schools here in s’-Hertogenbosch.   In fact, each year there is an school emblem competition [a patch worn on boerenkiels or jackets]..  While neither of my kids won, they both received an honorable mention for their badges.  I thought I took photos of their final drawings but I cannot seem to find them. Anyway I did find this one on my photo so you can get an idea of M’s.

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When the class mother asked if anyone could help chaperone the kids, I immediately volunteered.  It’s good for my oefenen and I somewhat enjoy the Carnival celebrations of my “adopted city” and have not yet been to this museum so I signed up!  Our kids do not have boerenkiels or jackets (yet – we do hope to have them soon) but I wrapped Maebh in the traditional red white and yellow Oeteldonk colors scarf complete with a frog on her shoulder (Soren’s scarf from last year) and sent her off to school.

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The Oeteldonks Gemintemuzejum is located in an idyllic spot in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, on the site of the former gatehouse of the medieval Sisters of Orthenklooster and located on the Binnendieze.

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Foto credit: Indebuurt.nl

Essentially off the Hinthamstraat and down an alley way.  I was totally immersed in the rich history of the national, international and Oeteldonk carnival.  The “muzejum” has a permanent collection with all kinds of masks, clothing, promotional material, weapons, shields and other valuable and important objects from the history of carnival and Oeteldonk. Thematic exhibitions are also organized in the summer months.  We had a tour with a very informative & passionate woman who told us EVERYTHING about the history and details of the carnival in her own unique way geared towards children.    And truthfully she was a lot more patient than I could be with children – especially 10 year old boys who cannot stand still and focus 🙂    I learned so much about carnival in, but also outside of Oeteldonk – far beyond the borders.  I highly recommend a visit to this museum if you are ever in Den Bosch and curious about Carnival.

If you are not 100% sure what the fus is about Oeteldonk or why Carival is so big here in Den Bosch.    First the name Oeteldonk stems from Den Bosch’ geological condition and history (donk = sandy hill; oetel is agreed to allude to frog): a sandy place found in a swampy area outside the town. The vernacular language of Den Bosch is spoken, best understood if it’s not written, but spoken out loud.  Cities change their names for the period:  Den Bosch becomes Oeteldonk; Bergen op Zoom Krabbegat and Tilburg Kruikenstad.

Secondly, check out this blog post “How to make sense of Carnival” done by Cora of Free Den Bosch Tours – she touches on the FAQs quiet well.  Forget the cow and bunny suits filling up with cans of beer in the AH on Vughterstraat – do that elsewhere – preferably far away say in Maastricht but not Den Bosch… you won’t fit in here.  🙂  And it if you haven’t done one of Cora’s Free Den Bosch Tours – do it!

Beyond the name there is the Prince and the Jr. Price (and his court), and parades with amazing floats, a kids parade, the clothing, brass bands and carnival songs.  It’s just something you need to experience.   I will add that some people absolutely HATE it and leave town for the period.    Being from abroad, I neither love it or hate it but I am in the middle – I certainly don’t buy a one way ticket out of town nor do I go out each until 4 am.

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Many store fronts decorate inside and of course.  In fact, last year the kids did artwork at school and they are put in the store windows around the city and there is a competition between schools.   We are then given a map and the kids and I walked around and found their specific pieces on display.   Oh and each day I get to see hundreds of people come by my house going into the city on the bikes dressed in the decorated jackets.

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In case you are inspired to visit, all the details for 2020 Carnival here in Den Bosch including the parade route, etc can be found by clicking that link.

UPDATE:  Me and M have jasje’s which we are pimping out now – working on getting on that fits S and then working on his last.   Exciting 🙂

I have so many photos from Carnaval which I will add in the future… for now here are a few from Friday.

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Kids Painting Workshop at the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

Kids Painting Workshop at the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

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Yesterday Maebh and I spent the day in Amsterdam having a mom and daughter day.  A highlight of our trip was the Kids Painting Workshop at the Van Gogh Museum.   Many weekends children between 6 and 12 can attend painting workshops in this world- famous museum.  It starts with a guided tour especially for children (in Dutch and English). This inspires them, then they do a workshop of painting and sketching and take home their masterpieces in a special box easy for transporting – we carried it around Amsterdam and on the train home.   Sessions cost €7.50 and there is a limit so do book in, if interested.

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Of course it’s not the original behind her!  In fact, you can tough this one.

The “theme” this week was frightening and scary.  Her work of art are below … which include CROWS and SKULLS.

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You can use the two hour duration of the workshop to visit the museum yourself or leave – whatever you want.   The entrance fees for adults is currently €19 but as I have my museumkaart it was free for me to enter.  I did pay €5 for a self guided audio tour around the museum.    The last 10 minutes the parents are brought in and allowed to take photos and their session is explained.

She really enjoyed it so will be doing it again in the future for sure!   We also visited the Anne Frank House today too – but I’ll post about that later along with some photos.

Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught

Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught

Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught

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Vught was chosen because it was close to Den Bosch, where various German head offices were. There was also a railway line, making it easier to transport prisoners.

SS CONCENTRATION CAMP IN THE NETHERLANDS

Kamp Vught is officially called: Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch (January 1943 – September 1944). It was not a “death camp” where Jews were massively killed.  Rather it was the main SS concentration camp in the Netherlands (other concentration camps are Schoorl, Amersfoort and Ommen). For many Jewish people, this was an intermediate station, as they were later transported to an extermination camps.   But it’s important to note that there were not only Jews in this camp, but also gypsies, gays, resistance fighters, political prisoners, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.

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Approximately 12,000 of these people were Jews, sent here before being sent to the death camps in Eastern Europe. The rest of Kamp Vught’s inmates were resistance fighters, political prisoners, Jehovah Witnesses, Roma, criminals, and a variety of others whom the Nazis deemed “unacceptable”. As with other camps, prisoners were forced to wear coloured triangles on their prison clothes to identify their category of ‘crime’.

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FREE AUDIO TOUR

When I visited, there were still doing some renovations to the site, which were not too bad as it is nearly done, but in exchange, they offered a FREE audio tour with a small device – I plugged in my headphones but you can hold the box to your head too – English, Dutch, French & German options.  [The tour is normally €2.50 per person]

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As you walk around, you see small boxes which you just tap with your device and it plays.  There are additional buttons (a) or (b) which give you more bonus information.    Personally, I loved the informative audio tour and the additional information.  

MUSEUM SET UP

The area is currently a museum is spread out over several buildings and outdoor areas. A model of the camp, made of natural stone, shows the extensive size of the camp and the many buildings it included.

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The watchtowers, which were built a hundred meters apart, have been reconstructed.

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The prisoners lived in barracks, over 400 prisoners per barrack. There was a bedroom here, a toilet room, laundry room and a dining room and washroom where they could wash once every 10 days!   The display barrack, rebuilt at half the original size, shows how the prisoners lived.

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There is also a crematorium, where the bodies of prisoners who died or were executed at the camp were burned.   Again, while it was not an extermination camp, around 750 people died due to hunger, sickness, and abuse.  Of these, 329 were murdered at the execution site just outside the camp.

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BUNKER DRAMA

The “bunker drama” is an example of the atrocities in the camp. When one of the women from barrack 23B was imprisoned in camp prison (the “bunker”), a number of women protested. Camp commander Grünewald ordered retaliation as many women as possible in one cell. In cell 115, 74 women were eventually squeezed together on an area of ​​nine m², with hardly any ventilation. On Sunday morning, January 16, 1944, the cell door opens after 2 p.m. Ten women did not survive the night. This drama soon became known outside the camp and was described in various resistance papers. The occupier finds it extremely annoying that the news has leaked out. Grünewald is sentenced to three and a half years by an SS judge. Himmler repeats this verdict and degrades Grünewald as a regular soldier. He joins his division again and is killed in 1945 in Hungary.

CHILDREN’S TRANSPORT

In June 1943, the Nazis decided there were too many Jewish children in Camp Vught. So they rounded up all the children under the age of 17 and sent them, along with those of their parents who chose to accompany them (most did), to Sobibor, where they were gassed. The names of these 1269 Jewish children are inscribed on the Children’s Monument. The youngest of these victims was only 6 days old when he was deported from Vught. When the train carrying him arrived for a stopover at Westerbork, he was so ill that he had to be taken to the hospital there, where he was placed on an incubator and assigned two private nurses. Two weeks later, when he had fully recovered, he was sent directly to the gas chambers at Sobibor.  Of all the Dutch Jews sent to Sobibor, only 18 adults survived and came back to tell their stories.

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EXECUTION AREA

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Located in the Vughtse Heide woods, at about a 15 minute walk from the museum.   Since I have small legs, it was more like 25 minutes!  

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Simply follow the path in the woods of the logo and you’ll come to a memorial erected that displays the names of the 329 prisoners who were executed at this site.  The walk back was more tricky and a few times I questioned which path to take – as I was literally alone in the woods – and only one time did I pass ONE other person.  It was a bit creepy to be honest, I hated this part!   My mind starts racing like a horror film and before you know it, I work myself up in my mind.

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The monument was installed in 1947 and unveiled by Princess Juliana.  Behind the monument is a large wooden cross, this cross was already posted as a tribute to the victims.

The original memorial wall bearing the names of these victims was vandalized with tar in the 1990s on the 50th anniversary of the Dutch liberation – never caught!  The defaced tablets are on display in the camp museum. Written on a wall above them is a poem in Dutch addressing those responsible for the act of desecration.

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The daubed plates are on display in boxes in the museum.

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At the gate to the monument someone pasted a poem in response to the defacing of the monument, this poem is placed in bronze on the gate too.

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A translation appears in the guidebook and spoken in the audio tour.

Could you paint tar
across stone, names, the past?
Pitiable fool, such names
can never be erased.
They are ingrained in countless
human souls, untouchable
by your foul hatred.
They are written in fire
in the skies, and their light
is insupportable to you.
You have accomplished nothing
Tarnisher
Above all you have only smudged
your own name.
Not theirs
They are smiling at your anger
bathing in light,
gently rocking on God’s breath.
And singing very softly and still
for those who want to hear:
Peace!

After my long walk in the woods, I returned, picked up my car and drove up the road to the Barrack 1B parking lot (tiny but as most people walk there was plenty of room).  I had to get the kids right after in MiniGestel camp, so didn’t want to have to go back again.

Barrack 1B

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Barrack 1B (Barak 1B) was opened after restoration in 2013; all information is bilingual: in English and Dutch. Barrack 1B is the last remaining barrack from Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch: a unique war heritage site and remembrance site. The exhibition covers four periods: the concentration camp (1943-1944), the evacuation camp for German citizens from the border area (1944-1945) and the internment camp for NSB members, Dutch citizens suspected of collaboration, and imperial Germans (1944-1949).

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Watch a film which is part of this exhibition with English subtitles [22 minutes – can take some time to load].

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From 1951, part of the former camp was used as the Lunetten compound and it housed former troops from the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL in Dutch) and their families from the Moluccas. The stories of tens of thousands of people who were obliged to live here in past seventy years converge here at the Barracks 1B site. Stories that tell of doubts and hope, dreams and ideals. About conscious choices and chance, about traumas and taboos.

 

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PRESSURE OF THE ALLIED ADVANCE.

The camp was hastily evacuated by the occupying forces at the beginning of September 1944. Some 3,500 prisoners were quickly put on a transport to Germany, while the camp command sought a safe refuge. The Canadians entered the camp on 26 October 1944.

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Overall I found it very informative and am glad I had a chance to visit to learn more about the history on my doorstep.    Such awful events must never be repeated!

 

5263 NT is the location on Google Maps – but more details about location, price & time can be found on their website.  I used my Museumkaart . Not 100% sure if it is still the case but it used to be free to the public on the 1st Wednesday of each month.

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NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam – Revisited.

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam – Revisited.

We visited the museum one time before, but decided since our museumkaarts were renewed and we have one more week left of summer vacation we decided to head to a museum.   While I wanted to visit a new one, the kids really liked NEMO so we agreed and we were off on the 11:38 train bound for Amsterdam.   I am going to make sure our next museum visit is one that we have not already visited before. 

If you have ever been to Amsterdam, you’ve most likely seen the giant, green, odd boat-shaped building just east of Central Station. Those familiar with it might recognize it as NEMO Science Museum.

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NEMO is known country-wide as being THE science museum to visit.  We’d like to check out the Science Center in Delft too.  The 5-story building hosts a wide variety of interactive exhibits that will entertain young and old, all while teaching valuable lessons about science, technology, and their importance in everyday life.

We decided last minute to attend but it was packed – having only been there one other time, it was not as enjoyable this time due to how many people were here.  No matter how long you waited for your turn, the minute you started a child would come in and interfere – it was truly incredible and frustrating.   For example the bubbles, you wait and you start to pull up the bubble mix and immediately a kid starts blowing and it pops – or a hand goes in…  Our kids ask them nicely in Dutch and then in English in case they don’t understand – they continue…   or they leave a new one comes along.

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The line cutting, the overall lack of patience and respect for others – it was mind blowing.   This is just one example it – it happened ALL DAY LONG!   We agreed, it’s best to come on days when there is a school studiedag as there would not be as many people.  I cannot imagine what it would be like on a Saturday or Sunday – and we visited on a Friday.

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FENOMENA

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This area is full with sensational science we encounter every day like sound and movement.  Here you have the chance to create these phenomena for yourself and to see how they work. In doing so, you will discover the true nature of ordinary yet surprising natural phenomena like light, sound and static electricity.  This is also the floor that is most suitable for smaller children but at 9 & 11 our kids loved it as well.

They love the lightening globe – reminder DON’T TOUCH each other and the globe at the same time or you’ll get a small shock!

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This photo is 1/2 Soren & 1/2 Maebh

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Several times a day they show a 15 minutes show called  Chain Reaction which is moderated in Dutch and English.

TECHNIUM

There is the Water Power area here which Soren LOVEDoves – and when we were leaving he was pretty wet from building a dam and was pretty soaked!

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There is a very big machine with coloured balls that show you how a logistic process can work.  You can set off an order and see how the balls move around the machine and in the end reach their intended destination. In this area you can also visit the world of shapes, huge or tiny chairs to sit on, a big wheel that slowly turns and in which you can create beautiful patterns and a room where you can trick your brain, because small kids turn into giants and the other way around.   It took me a lot of patients to get photo of just my kids in the room – but it was worth it – funny photo to see Soren so small and Maebh big.

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ELEMENTA

You can find the exhibition: Life in the Universe. They have this huge screen where you can play a video game and protect the earth from dangers from outta space such as comets, meteorites and solar wind.   As you’ll see in the photos, the kids take a shield and hold them above their heads and their movement are shown on the screen as they run back and forth trying to block the earth and not hit each other.

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Kids of all ages loved this exhibition.  On the same floor is the LAB, but where it is always packed. But it does look like very cool experimentation are going on inside with everyone wearing a white lab coat and eye protection – I promised the kids next time we will get in line and wait.  I looked online later and doesn’t appear you have to book in for this – just wait in line.   There are other exhibitions which happen like Exciting Electricity which we didn’t go to – next time.

HUMANIA

This area was closed and a new exhibition would be opening in November 2019.

BRILLIANT BICYCLES

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This was a special exhibition until September 1st in the lowest level and we found it quite cool.  There were tables with equipment to make something yourself using inner tubes of bicycles.  I made a little bag – not an 100% original idea as I saw a previous person made one and left it hanging on the display, but mine had more details and was a bit nicer 🙂   Other people made people, key rings, bracelets and just a whole lot of nothing – just scissors and hole punching.    Maebh and I found it fun – Soren did it a bit but found more fun in exploring the exhibition.

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FOOD & DRINK

By the time 2 pm rolled around we were starving so went up to the top floor and ate the in main restaurant.   I had a veggie hummus sandwich, Maebh had a hotdog and fries and Soren had a carpaccio sandwich and fries – I even got a Hoegaarden on tap at the bar.   The total was €30 so not that bad.  All were delicious!  They do a good job with recycling bins asking guest to separate their items to waste, paper and plastic, but there is too much plastic – knives, forks, spoons & straws – they should use wooden utensils and get rid of the straws completely.  There are also 2 smaller cafés inside the museum where you can get drinks or enjoy a Dutch tostis, etc.  I did see a few people eating their sandwiches which they packed near the lockers.  On their site, they do say there are some areas set up with tables for you to bring your own lunch but not in the restaurants.  I would suggest you eat it outside on the roof and enjoy the views of the boats coming and going.

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BE SURE TO VISIT THE ROOFTOP

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Make sure you go up to the 5th floor and go out onto the sloped top roof. There you’ll have  lovely views of the city and outdoor exhibition called “energetica“ with wind- and water-sculptures.  Keep your ticket as you’ll need it to re-enter the building.    Also, this area is open to the public by steps along the edge so if ever in Asmterdam and don’t have time to visit the museum, you can still pop up for a drink at the bar or just a few minutes to take a few photos and check out the view.

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HELPFUL INFO

  • Check out their website before you go for opening times & what’s going on.  They are closed some Mondays!!
  • According to their calendar on their site, during summer holidays, weekdays are their busiest days.   Outside of school summer holidays, I’d say weekends are probably the busiest times.  Rush hour is between 12 and 2 pm because the early birds and the people that arrive later, overlap.   I’d say most people stay around 3 to 4 hours in the museum, so manage your time carefully.  It closes at 5:30 pm so if you have a museumkaart, go later in the day when the early birds are are already leaving and it will be less busy.
  • There are tons of lockers which are under video surveillance.  So no need to lug around your coats, bags, etc.  Some which fit foldable strollers, but you can leave bigger ones under the stairs.
  • There are different smaller lockers – ones with combinations which you set and they are free.  We found many struggling to figure out how they work.  So for those folks there are others where you put in €1 coin and take a key.  The coin is refunded when you are finished.  If you don’t happen to have a €1 coin – find a worker where you enter – they have some tokens in their pockets which they’ll ask you to return when done.
  • Ticket Prices: kids up to 3 years old are free!  3+ years, €17,50   If you live in the Netherlands and are going to visit museums – get yourself a Museumkaart!

 

 

Oorlogsmuseum in Overloon, Netherlands

Oorlogsmuseum in Overloon, Netherlands

 

Last Sunday, we visited the Oorlogsmuseum in Overloon.  In English – War Museum in Overloon.

 

The museum was opened on May 25th 1946, making it one of the oldest museums in Europe dedicated to World War II.  Located just miles from the German border, the Overloon Oorlogsmuseum is the largest war museum in The Netherlands. The museum is located where a World War II tank and infantry battle between Allied and German forces that occurred in September and October 1944, in the aftermath of Operation Market Garden.   More info on the liberation route can be found here too. The complex includes the National War and Resistance Museum as well as the Marshall Museum with its vast collection of more than 200 historic military vehicles.

In fact, many of the exhibited vehicles took part in the Battle of Overloon. In 2006 the collection was expanded with a large number of vehicles from a private collection.

The museum is set in 14 hectares of woodland.  It was the day of the MAJOR windstorm so we didn’t spend any time outdoors amongst the trees – so no idea what it was like beyond the pathway to the front door which did display some sculptures.   There was a climb structure above – not sure if that is something you can do alone or part of the museum, but as cars were blowing back and forth on the highway and later we saw trees were being uprooted, I’m glad we didn’t stick around to find out.

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A feature of the museum is the large number of military vehicles and equipment on display, both German and Allied forces. Apparently for many years they were kept in the open air, but have recently been moved indoors in order to help preserve them.  Never seen it before, I think it’s great as it is and couldn’t imagine visiting them outside.

The war museum building itself can be divided into two main areas:

Nationaal Oorlogs – A National War and Resistance Museum which is a traditional, multi-media museum covering various aspects related to the Second World War.

I found this part informational and sad at the same time – touching upon experiences of real people and families.  Almost all signs and descriptions are in Dutch, English and German.

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The section explains the run up to the Second World War from 1918 onwards – The Netherlands remained neutral during the First World War and was hoping for the same second time round. The Netherlands was overrun by the German army within days in May 1940 thus much coverage is given to the following occupation.   You can get more of this if you visit the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) in Amsterdam.

Displays show how pro-Nazi groups within the Netherlands were formed – terrible really!  And of course, more pan-European themes including the influence of propaganda,  the Holocaust, etc.

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Marshall Museum – a extra large indoor hall with around 200 military vehicles and other war equipment including tanks, shells, planes, etc.

Here so many military vehicles of all kinds are on display here with hardware from all nations. The majority of the vehicles, planes and boats are from the Second World War but a few items are older such as the Cold War period.

Some of the material is set up as if in a battlefield but generally the vehicles are packed in.   Special dioramas include the D-Day invasion of Normandy (this is what Bernie would LOVE) the battles of Arnhem and the Ardennes, and the Cold War era equipment used by the Warsaw Pact countries.  I personally found it nice, the kids found some things cool too  like the duck boats!

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As we left, we visited a film area called the Block Buster, where visitors experience an air raid.  We first spent a few minutes inside a plane dropping bombs over a city and taking fire, then we hear the noise and see the flashes from inside a town center, and finally spent a few minutes in an air raid shelter during the bombardment.  This is recommended towards kids 10+ as there were photos of dead bodies on the screen but we found it suitable for our nearly 9 year old. 

Overall it was interesting.  Personally,  I know my dad and my friend’s dad, Bernie, would LOVE to visit such a museum.   I think if either ever make a visit from Boston to the Netherlands, this place would be a place we’d recommend they visit.

Admission is €16.00 per adult and €11 per child but with our Museumkaarts – it is FREE!  I know I’ve mentioned before how much I love our Museumkaarts!

While there was a restaurant on site which looked good, but as they closed at 5 pm, we chose to visit a local place called Museumzicht Eetcafe & Pannekoekenjuis for a quick meal before heading back.  With the kids so hungry, the thought of having to prepare dinner after driving home, was not appealing.  When I was in the bathroom I saw that this place offers a dinner/museum entry combo which I thought was a nice thing.  Their guests were mainly older couples 65+ so perhaps they were there for an early bird special.  They have an outdoor terrace, nice wit beer on tap and an area for kids to play outside but as I mentioned above, it was dangerously windy so we were not going outside today!

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Plan your visit:

OVERLOON WAR MUSEUM
MUSEUMPARK 1
5825 AM OVERLOON

https://www.oorlogsmuseum.nl/en/home/

 

 

Natuurmuseum Brabant, Tilburg, Netherlands

We had to visit a shop in Tilburg today, so we coupled that errand with a visit to a museum at the Natuurmuseum Brabant.    We figured we have our Museumkaarts and as the cooler weather is now here, why not start using them again.   The warm outdoor pool weather is gone and between a passing showers, we had a quick bite to eat, then ran into this museum.  It was a cross between the Natural History Museum (aka The Dead Zoo in Dublin and the Cromer Museum.   Essentially, it’s is part old-fashioned Natural History museum, part media-oriented for the young.  One cool thing is that every window in the exposition room has a letter / number combination which can be used to look up “what am i looking at”.

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.Hunt Mammoths in the Ice Age exhibition (IJstijd).   The kids said – look there is George (the Neanderthal from Lullymore only Dutch speaking :). The kids enjoyed playing the game where you have to sneak up on the mammoth and catch it.

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Observe wolves in the True Wolf exhibition (De Ware Wolf) or become a detective in the OO – ZONE, where you will find over 2000 objects in an imitation museum depot.  We didn’t do this at all but saw other kids doing it and they were enjoying themselves.

There were other exhibitions through the museum which we stopped in to have a look.

 

 

I found an exhibit about the various types of sand around the world very cool.

 

Our kids did enjoy putting together some bodies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For kids under 7 there is an exhibition Frog & Friends (Kikker is Hier!), where they can visit Frog’s house and play a variety of games.   Our kids at 8 & 10 are too old for it but it did look fun for the little ones.  Outside that area was a seating area made from real trains – which the kids and I found fun.

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There were other interesting taxidermy animals around the museum which the kids found interesting including a lovely MOOSE!

 

 

The museum has existed for more than 80 years and still attracts many visitors every year.  While it’s all in Dutch, they do have an English guide book if needed.  All in all it’s a nice, small museum which is worth visiting for a couple hours, if you are ever in Tilburg and have Museumkaarts.   Oh and they do have a cafe which looked great – we didn’t go in but it’s there and was full of parents with small children.  I suspect that the local schools come here often.

I’m sure it is nothing compared to Het Natuurhistorisch – Rotterdam’s Museum of Natural History – which we’ll visit in a future trip.

 

 

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam

Today the kids and I were going to go to Beerkse Bergen (again) due to our annual membership and not being there for some time. Plus the crazy French family who got out of the car and were hunted and thankfully not killed by cheetahs put it fresh in our minds. As we were driving, I offered a day trip to Amsterdam and the NEMO Science Museum instead and both kids enthusiastically agreed.

So we parked the car, took the train from s’Hertogenbosch to Amsterdam (one hour trip with two stops – Utrecht Central and Amstel) and we were there.

The walk to the NEMO from the central station is not only simple 13 minute walk (once you look at the map) it is picturesque and really gives you a glimpse at the beauty there is in Amsterdam (well some parts) but especially on the water! We went by places which the kids remember from our canal cruise last year aboard the Friendship – which I highly recommend.

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We got to see some pretty cool boats coming and going.

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And here is when I wish my camera had a video. We witnessed two British women nearly shit themselves as they ignored the bells and lights on the draw bridge and kept walking.   When they got to the end, the second pole started to come down and they panicked.    Note the boy in the background, he was 1/2 across when it started to buzz and also ran back as fast as possible to his parents.

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First off, the design of the building itself is a sight to see because of the sloping rooftop and unique angles and it is the highest city square in all of The Netherlands. Soren thought it look a lot like a boat which is somewhat does and surrounded by water I can see that but Architect Renzo Piano had to build the structure like this since the museum is directly over a tunnel. We didn’t make it there but you can actually hang out on the rooftop for FREE and get a breathtaking views of Amsterdam from above. We’ll do that next time for sure as I totally missed it this time.

The NEMO Science Museum is a wonderful place for kids and adults and is full of cool stuff like interactive labs, informative exhibits, and hands-on learning activities. The staff are super friendly and informative. They engage the kids and ask them questions about what they are seeing and doing – plus they all speak fluent English. For Soren it was cool to do it both in Dutch and English.

It’s really set up well for parents too. There are toilets and coat racks on each floor, baby changing facilities and even a breastfeeding room, which you can access by asking an employee.

As with all museums here in The Netherlands there are lockers for you stuff. Some are free and others take a coin and return it in the end – that is the case here. There is a change machine in case you don’t have a .50 cent piece it requires. If you have no money or no interest there are coat hangers on each floor which allow to you hang your stuff (but note it can ‘walk off’. For those with small kids, there are larger buggy lockers if you have a fold able buggy). Or there is buggy storage under the stairs if you want to park it somewhere or of course, take it with you. There are toilets and coat racks baby changing facilities and even a breastfeeding room, which you can access by asking an employee.

After we topped in Mojo Sushi. The manager was so nice – as we didn’t have reservations they would need the table back by 730 pm. No problem – there is only so much you can eat in an all-you-can-eat place especially with an 8 year old who doesn’t take much to fill up.

Then a funny one-hour train ride to Den Bosch full of Victorian jokes told by Soren.