I decided after finding out about the Museum Card I would start taking the kids to more museums. This is a really easy thing to do here because there is a whole list of museums labeled “kid proof”. This means that there will be lots for them to do and odds are they wont be able to break anything. You can read about awsomeness of the card by clicking The Museum Card
The Netherlands Water Museum is in Arhnem and that’s about a 1 hour drive from Veldhoven (the village near Eindhoven I live in). Honesty, that’s all I knew about it. My general rule is that it has to be 1 1/2 or less in the car and it had to be on the “kid proof” list. The Water Museum met both of these requirements so I was game to give it a try.
Here is a link to their website: Netherlands Water Museum
I’m really glad we went, the kids had a great time. There are 3 floors. The basement houses the permanent exhibits. There is lots to play with including a water area.
The ground floor is reception and a science area. This was for much older kids than mine. There were microscopes involved. I also has the entrance to an attached bistro but more on that later.
The top floor is a temporary exhibit. Right now its a “make your own shampoo factory”. In all fairness my kids are far to young for that as well but they really wanted to do it and the staff was great enough to make it work. Basically you buy a little plastic bottle and you go from station to station adding ingredients, measuring and mixing. When I say the staff was great I really mean it. When they realized that we were all foreign and that the kids were not only to young to read but probably couldn’t manage with the Dutch anyway they found an employee who took the kids through on a private tour. It was even more amazing because you could tell she had never done it before, she was reading the instructions and helping the kids like they were all making shampoo for the first time (which they were). My son absolutely loved it and, I’m not exaggerating, carried around that little bottle for 2 days. My daughter loved it as well but she is 1 1/2 so she mostly just licked things and made one mess after another.
I have 2 main problems with the place.
- The parking lot is the size of a postage stamp. I was told there was additional free parking down the road somewhere but it was raining so instead of searching it out and walking I parked on the street. I ended up paying just over 8.50 Euros for 3 hours.
- On the ground floor is a bistro connected to the main building. It’s a fancy pants place with candles and reservations. They were booked up so we couldn’t get a table. Why on Earth would a fancy bistro be connected and the only food in a “kid proof” museum? I was so annoyed. There are tables you can sit at and eat food you brought from home on the bottom level but I didn’t pack anything because I honestly just assumed that I would be able so pop into the cafe to get my kids a tosti.
These issues are very minor and wouldn’t stop me from going back but they are things I wish I would have known.
What will make me stop and think before going back is the drive. My kids played for less than 2 hours and that makes equal time spent in the car as in the museum. But it is surrounded by a really nice park and there is a really nice outdoor water play area so I will visit it on a pretty summer day and give it another go. If it was about 30 minutes from me I think it would be a different story and we would go often but it just wasn’t worth it for me (especially since an additional 30 minutes would have gotten us to Nemo and parking would have cost just a little more). I also think that my kids are a little young (1 1/2 and 4) to really enjoy all that the place had to offer.
I feel a little bad about writing that considering the staff was so amazing and that my kids really did have a good time. I really would recommend checking it out.
Just next door:
This has nothing to do with the museum but it is really cool and just next door so I thought I would mention the Witte Watermolen ( the White Water Mill). This is a 100% water powered , completely organic grain mill. They process and package all kinds of different flours including spelt and buckwheat flours. There is a really nice cafe that really saved the day for us because my kids hadn’t eaten lunch and were on the verge of meltdowns. You can buy the flour in the shop ( I payed 2 Euros for a 1 kilo bag of wheat flour). They also gave us a private tour and showed us how the mill worked (in English). My son was very excited about the whole process. He told my husband all about it when he got home from work… “because the water is super heavy and it pushed the giant wooden wheel and goes around and around and around…..” (all while he is clutching his tiny bottle of shampoo).
Here is a link to more information (sorry, it’s in Dutch): Witte Watermolen
All in all it was a very nice day out with the kids. I’m glad we gave it a try and I look forward to going back when we can play outside.