The Hague, Netherlands | C.1952

Photo Credit: Ryan Selwyn

In the Netherlands, there’s a miniature park that’s making a major impact. Opened in 1952 in The Hague, Madurodam features model replicas of Dutch landmarks and historic cities. The park is named after George Maduro – who fought and died in World War II – and all the park’s proceeds go to charity.

Originally from Brazil, Maduro was studying law in the Netherlands when World War II broke out. After joining the Dutch resistance, he fought Nazi occupation forces, but would end up dying at Dachau concentration camp in 1945. For his valor, he was awarded the Medal of Knight Fourth class of the Military Order of William – the highest honor in the Netherlands – and his memory would continue to live on.

Around the time of Maduro’s death, Mrs. Boon-van der Starp, a foundation member for the Dutch Students Sanatorium which treated children with TB, was looking for financial support for the facility. Inspired by a lucrative miniature park in England, Mrs. Boon-van der Starp met with Maduro’s parents and they agreed to donate funds to create a miniature park as a source of donations for the Sanatorium – and as a memorial to their late son.

Designed by architect S.J. Bouma, Madurodam contains buildings and structures built at a scale of 1:25. Seeking realism in his design, everything in the park – buildings, landmarks, transportation, streets, and even plants – are modeled to scale to create a realistic view of the Netherlands. There are even people included in the models to depict real lifestyles of the Dutch.

Not only a tourist attraction, Madurodam remains a monument to George Maduro. While honoring his memory, the park continues to provide financial support for institutions that organize activities for youth. Students from local schools are even invited to join the park’s charity committee to help disburse funding.

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