Utrecht's Cutest Museum: Nijntje Museum

By Elie - 1:20 PM

3 cheers for some great news: Life in the Netherlands is becoming a little more normal again! Granted we must still wear our masks in shops and public transport - a tiny ask that people STILL flout, museums and attractions are slowly reopening so we can enjoy more local experiences come the summer. With the thought of museums welcoming visitors again, my other half and I finally decided to invest in a Museumkaart. Costing €64.90 for a year's subscription, the Museumkaart allows us unlimited entries into almost all the museums across the Netherlands for free. 

And where did we first go? 

Nyeh...maybe just the cutest museum in Utrecht?

If you've ever heard of, seen, or maybe it's you're already a fan of the ever-so-popular Miffy character, then you'll definitely realize who I'm posing with. What you probably didn't know, however, that Miffy isn't actually called Miffy. Originating from the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands, Miffy's original name is Nijntje - or little rabbit. According to my friend who, Nijntje also has a last name called Pluis and when put together, Nijntje's name can be loosely translated as Miffy Fluffy.

And I can see why

Nijntje was originally created by the Dutch artist, Dick Bruna who made up the character for his son. Eventually, the character became so popular that picture books began popping up and Nijntje went off to influence tons of people for her cuteness. If I'd ever have to choose, I would pick Nijntje over a certain kitty that goes "hello" all the time. Hint hint. 

Welcome to the Nijntje Museum

An ode to the birthplace of the artist and Nijntje itself, the Nijntje Museum is located along the Agnietenstraat of Utrecht. It's about 15 minutes on bus from the Utrecht Centraal train station or if you're lucky to visit on a day where there is no rain, it should take you 20 minutes on foot. Tickets are only sold online and you'll have to book a time slot before you visit, even if you have a Museumkaart like us. 

Bear in mind though that tickets don't come cheap for its cuteness, because they cost €7.50 per adult and kids aged 7 to 17. Babies from 0 to 2 can enter for free, while toddlers between 2 to 6 are charged a whopping €11 per entry.

Stroller parking and lockers for ease

Once you're inside, it's safe to say you'll be bombarded with everything related to Nijntje and her friends from the various book series that Bruna himself drew. Lockers are available for free before you begin the free-walking tour and they're pretty spacious if I could say so myself. We were able to fit both our backpacks in a single locker, if you need a gauge on how big they are. 

Look up for surprises

Lots of them

In all fairness, the Nijntje Museum was never built for adults but rather for children to learn, play, and explore to their hearts' content. There are various sections to the entire museum with surprises such as hidden Nijntje toys in cupboards and other things that await. The museum is separated into 2 floors and there's also a lift in the museum for visitors who can't take the stairs.

Little visitors learning about traffic safety

Little costumes for little visitors

As you walk through the museum, it's easy to see why toddlers are charged the most for an entry. About 80% of the activities set in the museum were made for kids, including things like a traffic safety section with rideable tricycles, tiny costumes to wear over your little ones' clothes, and a colouring room for the more artistically-inclined children.

Travel buddy for life

The other travel buddy for life, Max

The ideal visit to the Nijntje Museum without children should take you between 30 to 45 minutes, and that is that you take your time to explore everything available. This could be way longer if you have kids, especially if you want to make your €11 ticket worth the money. I'm not sure if this is simply a measure during the pandemic, but most of the museum runs on a one-way track so you can't re-visit areas you previously saw if you've already left the room. I felt like this was unfortunate, as I saw a separate room with really beautiful drawings and I wanted to revisit it later but never got the chance.

Anytime is a good coffee time

Unlike most museums, the Nijntje Museum doesn't have a merchandise store attached to the building. Instead, you'll have to pop into the Centraal Museum building just across the street if you want to grab some Nijntje merchandises. They had everything there including typical souvenirs like keychains and magnets to stuffed toys, t-shirts, and even some exclusive collaborations with design students from universities across the Netherlands.

Behind the Centraal Museum, you'll also find a hidden cafe by the garden serving up cakes and coffees. On a sunny day, this makes for a good pitstop if you don't have somewhere else to be. We tried their latte and ordered a Nijntje petit four, which fit its name because it was truly petit. We later ordered a piece of carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting and whipped cream on the side (not pictured), and it turned out to be the most life-changing piece of carrot cake ever. My advise? Skip the petit four and go for the carrot cake instead. After all, Nijntje would have totally went for the latter option anyway.

So long, Nijntje!

So in conclusion - despite the Nijntje Museum being possibly Utrecht's cutest museum, would I recommend a visit? It depends. Tickets to me are horrendously overpriced and if it wasn't for the Museumkaart, I may have cried having paid so much for it. It's probably somewhere you should go if you have kids and you need them to burn off some energy or if you're a mega huge fan of the Miffy franchise. There's a number of backstories about Dick Bruna and his many pieces of art aside from Nijntje in the museum, but I wouldn't call it a must-go unless you're obsessed with the character.

But you know what I would recommend though? That carrot cake by the garden cafe opposite the Nijntje Museum. Do it.

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