Is The Railway Museum In Utrecht Fun for Children?

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When I first went to the Railway Museum, I didn’t know what to expect. As a result, I was hesitant about bringing the children to this museum because they might find it boring. This article, therefore, outlines what you can expect at the Railway Museum and whether it is fun for children.

The fact that the Railway Museum is the most popular tourist attraction in Utrecht and one of the 20 most child-friendly museums in the Netherlands suggests that the Railway Museum is enjoyable for children.

Continue reading below to discover why the Railway Museum is so much fun for children.

The waiting hall of the National Railway Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands
The entry hall of the National Railway Museum in Utrecht

Is The Railway Museum Fun For Children?

The Railway Museum has become much more than a museum, although it is beautifully decorated with old furniture from train stations of bygone eras. You enter the museum through the former Maliebaan Station, beautifully restored and reminiscent of the past.

However, most of the Railway Museum is located behind this building and is a huge building with the industrial atmosphere of a 19th-century workshop. This museum building is large enough to admire most of the train collection, but plenty of room exists for more.

The Railway Museum also has performances and entertaining attractions for children, such as a small train that travels around the museum grounds.

The Railway Museum has been expanded with fun attractions and performances. As a result, the Railway Museum has become much more of an indoor amusement park than a museum.

The train collection has become more of a backdrop, but that is not disturbing. The modern additions and attractions make the Railway Museum very suitable for a visit with children.

Here you will find an overview of all the attractions for children in the Railway Museum.

Children playing on an old train in the railway museum in Utrecht
Children playing in the National Railway Station in Utrecht

When I revisited the Railway Museum while preparing for this article, there was a performance every hour that day where Thomas (the little train) played a leading role, and masses of children enjoyed it.

I also saw children playing on and around the trains and running from attraction to attraction. It was clear to me that the children were enjoying themselves. As a parent, I know all too well that when the children enjoy themselves, the parents often have a good time.

Therefore, It is not surprising that the Railway Museum has become the most popular outing in Utrecht and attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually. However, the Railway Museum is large enough not to make this a problem. However, you should expect long queues at popular attractions like the mini train.

An excellent example of an attraction for older children is the Fire Test, and you can get an impression of this attraction in this YouTube video.

I think many adults would also find this a fun attraction.

A steam locomotive in the National Railway Museum in Utrecht
Steam locomotives in the National Railway Museum in Utrecht

Is The Railway Museum Fun For Adults?

For this article, I visited the Railway Museum again to experience what I thought of the Railway Museum as an adult visiting without my children.

The Railway Museum is fun for adults if you can take the time to appreciate the beautiful interior of the former Maliebaan Station and the vast collection of old trains. This is, of course, easier without children than with children.

As an adult visiting the museum without children, you look at the museum with entirely different eyes than when you visit the museum with children. With children, you are more focused on the attractions and distractions for the children, but that is different without children.

I took plenty of time to sit in the reception hall of the beautifully renovated Maliebaan Station to immerse myself in another era momentarily. I also looked inside various old trains at the Railway Museum, which I did not allow myself to do when I was with the children.

I also visited various corners of the Railway Museum that I had overlooked when visiting with the children and was surprised to notice how much I had missed during my previous visit.

The Railway Museum is absolutely one of the most beautiful museums in the Netherlands and I am confident that you will enjoy it as an adult.

How To Get To The Railway Museum?

The Railway Museum is located in Utrecht on Maliebaan (Maliebaanstation 16, 3581 XW Utrecht), close to the center of Utrecht.

There are several ways to get to the Railway Museum.

The best way to get to the Railway Museum is to take the museum train from Utrecht Central Station to the Railway Museum.

This is possible because the Railway Museum has a little station inside the museum, which allows you to step out right in the middle of the museum.

Traveling to the Railway Museum by train is best because it has a minimal parking area with only 200 parking spaces that will fill up quickly.

Parking at the Railway Museum parking place costs € 12 per museum visit.

The museum train departs from Utrecht Central Station once an hour to the Railway Museum and once an hour back to Utrecht Central Station. You can find more information and the timetable for the museum train online.

Don’t expect to find street parking in Utrecht as public parking space in Utrecht is limited and very expensive. In addition, you can’t park on the street in Utrecht for more than 2 hours, and you will need more time to visit the Railway Museum.

If you still want to come by car, park at P+R Science Park Uithof. From there, free shuttle buses run to and from the Railway Museum. The shuttle bus departs every 20 minutes and takes about 15 minutes.

Is The Railway Museum Indoor Or Outdoor?

A frequently asked question is whether the Railway Museum is indoor or outdoor.

The Railway Museum is both indoor and outdoor. However, most (80+%) of the trains and attractions are indoors.

The former Maliebaan Station has been beautifully renovated but is only meant to set the mood.

Most of the collection and attractions are located in the enormous industrial-style building behind the Maliebaan Station. That building is huge, and you don’t realize that when you’re still outside in front of the Maliebaan Station.

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Pim Tijburg
Pim has lived his entire life in The Netherlands and he enjoys writing this blog about his home country. His mission is to make you like The Netherlands as much as he does.