In Utrecht we arrived in a familiar hotel where Jan had spent countless nights before when his offices were still nearby a few years ago. I sometimes visited him over there when I was still working in Amsterdam. The room was rather cramped with 2 extra baby beds, which was fine for just one evening.
The city is nice but somehow I can't get a vacation feeling in a city where I have mostly work related memories. Utrecht seems nice, but can't tip to Amsterdam or The Hague. But it was the first time I got to see the impressive Dom tower.
But we came with a special mission to Utrecht: we'd visit Miffy's House (or Nijntje, as Kabouter and Beertje know her). Jan and Kabouter studied in depth the map to know how to walk there and then off we went.
Het Nijntje Museum (Miffy's house) was an absolute fun revelation. I assumed it would be fun for the kids but had no clue what it would really be like. But it was a great 2-story museum with rooms like "Miffy's house", Bruna's atelier, rooms themed the museum, traffic, the doctor, the zoo, ... It's probably one of the rare museums that is totally aimed at toddlers. Everything was in the big clear minimalistic forms and a limited number of bright recurring colors which is typical for the Miffy's books by Bruna. All materials were soft, forms big, ...so even Beertje could simply crawl around and explore at his rhythm while Kabouter could run around and fulfill the assignments right for his age. He could create art with magnets, crawl through a zoo maze, make a christmas decoration, play in Miffy's house, ...The most popular room where we spent most of the time was the traffic room. He could ride a bus, control the barriers for a train crossing (and cross the train), he could dress up, he could test ski's and watch traffic movies and game assignments.
It was so much fun to observe both kids and as a result I had a lot of fun myself.
|Art by Bruna|
|Kabouter the train conductor|
In order to allow sufficient room to play, they only allow 180 -200 people inside per timeslot of 90 minutes. So it's best to reserve tickets for a timeslot beforehand to avoid disappointments. While we are typing I see on their website they are sold out for the rest of the Christmas vacation.E-tickets are cheaper and funny enough the kid's tickets (age 2 - 7,5 years ) are the most expensive: 7,5€ while we paid 2,5€ as an adult.
Our timeslot was from 15h to 16h30. Combined with a little visit to the gift shop, we were in time for the animation film that gets projected on the entrance of the closed museum after 17h. We stood there out in the dark on the sidewalk, together with some more people that just left the museum, as well as Dutch parents that biked by with one of their children and that stopped for a while to have a look.