Expatica editor Natasha Gunn checks out new event Mirakels Kerstland Brederode and discovers the ideal family day out complete with big wheel, Santa sleigh rides, kids’ activities and covered Christmas market stalls.
Not usually a fan of Christmas markets, when I read that the terrain in and around the beautiful Brederode ruins was temporarily set up for a Christmas family event I thought I’d test it on my family: German boyfriend (who is used to excellent German Christmas markets) and daughters aged 10 and 11.
Even my oldest daughter, who wouldn’t normally consider a Christmas market the coolest of places to be, was encouraged to go when I informed her that, as per the Mirakels Kerstland website, on Saturday, 11 December the Popstars’ production team and several of the would-be stars were going along.
They weren’t disappointed.
The event wasn’t crowded –something which will likely change as the word of its existence spreads– and clearly the organizers had gone for quality and simplicity when selecting the activities as well as the look and feel of the event.
Ride in Santa’s sleigh
Younger children could take a ride in Santa’s reindeer-pulled sleigh and evidently the enormous camel reclining in the central children’s crib gave rides. The toilets were clean and the enormous food tent in the centre offered efficient service and mulled wine that wasn’t excessively sweet, all to the dulcet tones of some local ladies Christmas choir. The market stalls plied traditional Christmas ware such as decorations, hats and gloves and Christmas-themed toys, and the visitors could also make their own Christmas wreaths and centrepieces under artisanal guidance.
We ended our tour of Mirakels in the poffertjes tent, where we ate the most delicious version of these puffed mini pancakes I’ve ever tasted in the Netherlands, albeit in the acrid smoke of the cooking treats. The kids enjoyed watching the master pancake-makers create these culinary treats through ladling the batter into the rows of dimples in the hot griddle they cooked them up on.
Overall, this Christmas market event makes for a pleasant family day out in beautiful surroundings, and offers children a taste of Christmas magic without too much commercial hullabaloo.
Travel and opening times
An easy train ride from Amsterdam; Mirakels Brederode is only a ten-minute walk from train station Sandpoort Zuid. You only need to pay entry once—€2.50 for children (children of 2 and under are free) and €7.50 for adults, and if you hang onto the tokens, you can use them throughout the running of the event, daily from 10:00 – 22:00 up until 20 December when Mirakels closes at 16:00. Check out the website at www.mirakels.eu for daily programme details and slightly different opening times.
Photo credits: Hans Jakusch