If your kids love books, take them to the Kinderboekenmuseum (translation: Children’s Book Museum) in The Hague. It is conveniently located a few walking minutes away from The Hague Central Station, housed within the Koninklijke Bibliotheek national library building on the first floor. The Kinderboekenmuseum aims to introduce children to all the familiar Dutch children’s literature in a playful manner.
To start off about the this museum, please note that the Kinderboekenmuseum is part of Literatuurmuseum Museum (translation: Literature Museum). This museum collects, manages and exhibits all types of Dutch literature dating from 1750.
From the ticketing counter at museum shop, you will be directed to go past the glass door, through the Literatuurmuseum Museum full of paintings, to get to the Kinderboekenmuseum. If you are with kids age 0-6 years old, proceed one level up. If you are with kids age 7 years and above, proceed one level down.
Upper Level – “ABC met de dieren mee / ABC with the Animal” (2 to 6 years).
In this exhibit, favorite Dutch children’s books have been turned into multiple fantastic play areas. Follow the alphabets A to Z to learn about letters, numbers, sounds and rhymes. Storybooks such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Donkey, Miffy, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Little Polar Bear, Pim & Pom and Dikkie Dik, each has its own little room of activity. These series of activities consist of crawling through The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s food and become a beautiful butterfly, find Dikkie Dik among the corn maze and making up ideas with Pim & Pom.
The special exhibitions “Ik ben kikker / I am Frog” (0 to 6 years) is definitely the highlight for all children! I am Frog is a picture book created by a Dutch author and illustrator Max Velthuijs (1923-2005) featuring a curious Frog dressed in red-and-white-striped shorts. This exhibition aims to bring the storybook to life. Adventures include baking a pie in Pig’s house, go ice-skating on the lake with Duck, help Rat fix the roof, snuggle up at Hare’s house to read books, treasure hunting with Bear and several interactive entertainment elements too. I am Frog is presented in both Dutch and English.In my opinion … The entire upper floor space is truly a fun learning place for your little ones. Popular children’s themes with colorful displays certainly inspire active imagination.
Do note that there is a no-shoes policy on this level for hygiene purposes. All children are allowed to explore around on their socks while adults are expected to wear blue plastic overshoes. Ideal for your kids since they are on their hands and knees playing. But you are probably going to miss the signage telling you about this.
The other thing you must watch out for, is the no safety gate/barrier/barricade near the open stairs. Due to fire safety regulation, the staircase landing must be kept free and clear. Watch your wandering children!
Last but not least, no food and drinks are allowed on the premises. It is a museum after all. No restaurant within the museum either.
Lower level – Papiria (7+ years)
Papiria is a voyage of discovery through well-known kids’ books using interactive games, audio fragments and short videos. A monster called “Inktvraat” (translation: ink corrosion) is eating all the stories and the children must stop him by writing more stories. You will be armed with a bracelet called a Slurper to ‘suck up’ sentences throughout the museum in order to create more narratives and build your very own avatar. By participating in the games and puzzles, you will be able to give this avatar some clothes, generate facial expression, change background and earn items for your stories.
The museum is divided into different spaces with separate subjects such as Adventure Room, Fairytale Room or Love Room. The most exciting room was the Griezel (Creepy) Room featuring characters from the Dutch author, Paul van Loon’s book and where you can learn how to make a witch’s brew. Along the way, you will learn about writers, admire beautiful original book illustrations and come across popular story figures such as Dolfje Weerwolfje, Minoes and Pippi Longstocking. Do not forget to ‘check-out’ your Slurper at the end of your visit for the reward.
In my opinion … Although this section of the Children’s Book Museum is advised for kids age seven and above, it is most definitely enjoyable for adults too if you love to read. The museum is primarily in Dutch. Read, more reading and read further! I gave up half way through. Dutch language overload in my brain!!
Website: https://www.kinderboekenmuseum.nl (Dutch only)
Address: Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5. 2595 BE Den Haag.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30am – 5pm.
Admission Fees: €6.00 for kids age 2-6, €7.00 for kids age 7-18 and €8.50 for adults. Free entry for Museumkaart holders.
Getting There: Take the exit door next to AH to Go store when in Den Haag Centraal Station. Follow the sign. The building is right next door to the station.