Opened in 1954, Het Spoorwegmuseum or Railway Museum in Utrecht is the – you guessed it – railway museum of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) in The Netherlands.
Danny and I love railway museums: National Railway Museum (NRM) in York, the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, Train World in Brussels, the Museo del Ferrocarril in Madrid and Muzeul CFR in Bucharest.
Situated in the almost disused Utrecht Maliebaan station, the Railway Museum offers an insight in the evolution in rail transport since the introduction of De Arend (The Eagle) engine.
Almost disused? NS links Maliebaan to Utrecht Centraal with a Bombardier SLT shuttle train.
The station building is the entry to the museum. In this area, you have a café (where we had to wait too long to be noticed so we left), cloakrooms, toilets and the royal waiting room, moved to Utrecht from Den Haag Staatsspoor, which is now The Hague Central.
On your way to the main hall, you will pass a series of locomotives and the royal coaches, before crossing the active Maliebaan platform where the shuttle stops.
The main hall is divided in worlds.
- World 1 ‘Black Magic’ covers the period 1800 – 1850;
- World 2 ‘The belle époque’ covers the period 1860 – 1900;
- World 3 ‘Modern Times’ covers the period 1918 – 1945;
- World 4 ‘En route to today’ covers the period 1950 – 2005;
- World 5 ‘1800 – the future’ exists of De Vuurproef.
De Vuurproef – ‘Trial By Fire’ – is a virtual rollercoaster ride through time.
There are other attractions such as De Grote Ontdekking (‘The Great Discovery’) relating the pioneering days of the railway. Stalen Monsters (‘Steel Monsters’) is a gentle darkride.
More traditional are the many items of rolling stock from the beginnings to the 21st century. There’s more in the yard and there’s a railway turntable.
As we weren’t served at the café, we had lunch at the self service restaurant De Remise in the main hall. You can buy sandwiches, soup, pastries and typically Dutch fried foods.
The entry fee is 17.30 euros. You can take the train to the museum or you can go on foot. It’s only a 20-minute walk from Utrecht Centraal.
As an adult, allow two to three hours.