Culture and Kids

It was my birthday last week and when my husband asked what gift I would like, it was an easy choice. So I will soon have a Dutch Museumkaart which will allow me free entry into a majority of museums in The Netherlands.  I did consider buying one for the girls as well,  but at their ages  (5 & 7), they receive free entry to most anyway.

On my actual birthday, we already had some vouchers to use from the girl’s Vakantiepas books.  Every child of school age in The Hague receives one of these before the 6 week summer holidays, and it is packed with discounts.  In regards to culture and kids, it’s just overflowing with ideas!

Gemente Museum

The Gemeente Museum Den Haag (The Hague, The Netherlands) generously offered free entry for adults along with the children (usually 13.50 euros per adult, children under 18 free).   We actually went along with very little knowledge of what to expect…and despite the fact we were there for less than two hours and only saw a fraction – it was amazing!!

As soon as we walked in, my daughter wanted to interact with the building and the art.

Glass at Gemeente Museum

It was a difficult balance between wanting to shout out “Don’t Touch”!  to simply enjoying the way she experienced things.  I think that urge to examine and touch stuff is ingrained in all of us, but in museums I have talked to the girls about “looking with our eyes”.  How impressive is this entrance!

Entrance Gemeente Museum

Stairway Gemeente Museum

My youngest ran straight to this statue and asked me to take a photo.  She fit neatly under his hand and now I look at it later, I realise their outfits kind of match too!

Interacting with Art

This I LOVED.  I really enjoyed watching her absorb the artworks.  She would stand – only for a few seconds – to take it in and then was off to the next wall.

Absorbing Art

I think this next photo may well become one of my all time favourites.  She discovered the interpretation book and after a quick explanation from me about what it was, was keen to try and match up the photos in the book with the art on the wall.  She took it rather seriously for all of about a minute, then was on to the next thing.

Child in art gallery

Here was quite a fascinating piece…you turned a lever and these tiny jars with little collections of all kinds of things rotated.  I would have liked to look for longer but she was off again….

Gemeente Museum

In the meantime, my husband helped our eldest daughter experience some of the artworks better positioned for adults.  It was fun looking into the boxes and seeing what was inside.

Gemeente Museum

My favourite was a kaleidoscope of mirrors…can you see me smiling and make out the purple case on my iPhone?

Kaleidoscope

Both the girls have a camera, and often pose for each other.  I’ll have to download this memory card and see how that shot turned out!

Gemeente Museum

After a quick look at the upstairs art gallery (I’m not sure whose attention span was shorter – my husband or my daughter’s!), we went in search of the “Wonder Kamers” – we’d heard this was a kids exhibition in the basement.  We found it easily….

Wonder Kamers

We knew nothing about this exhibition and were blown away!  You receive an iPad on loan at the desk when you enter.  It’s aimed at children 10 and over but they were happy for younger children to take part if the parents were helping out.

First, you watch a short movie and learn how to interact with the iPad.

Wonder kamer movie

You are asked to personalise it by entering your name:

Wonder Kamer iPad

Then, it’s off on an adventure!  There are a lot of different rooms to explore, and I didn’t get a chance to look at the iPad myself (too busy taking photos…) but my husband helped them out and they all seemed to enjoy it.

Wonder Kamer

This is the centrepiece of the exhibition which is filled with mini things, just incredible:

Museum centrpiece

We did stop for a quick selfie (and I’m glad we did as I LOVE this photo).

Selfie with girls

Then not long afterwards, the next selfie was in a beautiful white gown!  One of the rooms has these amazing costumes hanging up and I was just as thrilled as the kids to find out you could try them on.  Funnily enough, I first put it on the other way around first but another visitor told me I had it back-to-front – but found out later she was actually wrong!  So we have some lovely photos with back-to-front dresses, we would have been the talk of the town in that day (or would have had our maid dress us correctly perhaps?)

dressups

There was just soooo much to discover and do.  Here’s one of the other rooms.  We had other plans later that day so unfortunately really only had the chance for a quick look around, but we will most certainly be back again (and probably again and again).

dining room

What’s really cool is that with the use of the iPad and the activities you do, YOU end up in the mini museum:

Mini museum

Just before we left, a staff member kindly took a family photo:

Family photo at Gemeente Museum

 

So if you happen to be in or near Den Haag (The Hague), I’d highly recommend a trip to the Gemeente Museum, for a wonderful combination of Culture and Kids!

-Renee