I have long heard raving reviews about a military museum located in Soest, province of Utrecht. How it is very informative and has a lot of interactive media suitable for older kids as well as for adults. It is located about an hour drive away from Haarlem. Sounds like a day out, hoping to please the boys (father and son)!
National Military Museum (NMM) is the biggest museum dedicated to the Dutch armed forces. The NMM museum opened its doors in 2015 and it was a merger of the former Army Museum of Delft and the Military Aviation Museum of Soesterberg. Residing on the old Soesterberg Air Base, its 35.000 m² of exhibition space loudly display an impressive overview of the past, present and future of the Dutch military. It has the largest collection of tanks, aircrafts, armored vehicles and helicopters in the Netherlands. They are all bigger in real life than I imagined!
The massive collection also includes arrowheads from the Stone Age, armor from the Middle Ages, rockets from the Second World War, U.S. Air Force fighter planes, carriages, rotary engines, anti-aircraft artillery, revolver cannons, rocket launcher system, uniforms, medals, various memorabilia, motorbikes, cars, swords, handguns and so much more. See how the Netherlands has been defended through ages. Listen to exciting stories from soldiers, sailors and airmen. Discover arsenal. Learn about the importance of water for defense and the role of the military in Dutch society. Check out centuries old military paintings. Study all the jargons. Understand Netherlands’ involvement in many eras of warfare. Educate yourself!
Ultimately, the National Military Museum is a fantastic museum especially for families with children of all ages. The section Xplore has interactive exhibits where kids can make their own gunpowder, fly in a F16 simulator, neutralize enemy tanks, see through the eye of a sniper and other challenging games involving strategy. There is even a workshop room where the kids could build favorite (paper) plane, tanks and periscope. This cost additional €3.50 – €5.00 depending on activities.
If the weather permits, take a walk outside through the park. There are several more planes to inspect. Let the kids play and try out the real assault course. Don’t forget to visit the lookout tower to enjoy the beautiful view of Utrecht Ridge from 33 meter-high.
Our visit lasted 3 hours! It was a leisurely walk admiring the indoor exhibits. We were not quite done. I gave up and sought refuge at the restaurant while my kids disappeared outside and continued further for another hour. We could actually spend the whole day here!
The National Military Museum certainly made a lasting impression. I highly recommend this museum to all. English translation provided.Be prepared to be overwhelmed!
Bus stop is at least 15 minutes walk away
Free locker provided
Prepare cash if you have foreign credit cards. Just in case!
Address: Verlengde Paltzerweg 1. 3768 MX SOEST.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm.
Entrance Fees: €14.00 for adults, €7.00 for kids age 4-12 years old and free for kids under 4 years old. Free entry for Museumkaart holders.
Getting There: https://www.nmm.nl/en/getting-there/