Duinrell Holiday Park. Heard of it? Been? If so, you’re in good company. This Dutch holiday park has inspired quite a following, with loyal visitors returning year after year.
I’ve been visiting Duinrell for about 12 years now, it’s a place of happy memories for me. So it makes me very happy to post an introduction to Duinrell.
A Duinrell Cheat Sheet, if you like.
Duinrell Holiday Park- Where Is It?
Located on the edge of well-to-do Dutch town Wassenaar and just a short cycle ride from dunes and beach, Duinrell boasts a prime location. The Meijendel Nature reserve is on the doorstep and many towns and cities within easy reach. You could easily go car free here, the cycle and public transport networks are fantastic.
What’s on the Park?
The park consists of three main areas; theme park, water park and the accommodation across the grounds.
The Theme Park: Has something for everyone. Nothing too white knuckle, but enough bigger rides to keep teens (and scaredy cat adults) happy. Also, lots of low key rides for little ‘uns, a beautiful historic carousel and two good old fashioned play parks.
Adjacent to the main theme park you’ll also find Wonderland, a fairytale themed land all of its own. A vintage part of the park and slightly bonkers, in a good way!
The Water Park: the biggest in the Benelux area, featuring 21 slides and a wave pool. Fly down slides in the dark, enjoy flumes with light effects or experience the ‘ X-Stream’. That involves standing on a trapdoor and waiting for the fall, at which point you’ll be dropped down a slide at speeds of up to 40km per hour.
If all of that sounds a bit much, there are calmer options. A lazy river, whirlpools and sauna cabins. In fact, the only thing you can’t do here is swim. There’s nowhere for laps and lengths. It’s all slides, waves and fun.
Spread across the park in field, forest and dune are a variety of accommodations. From family camping pitches to high end holiday homes known as ‘Duingalows’, there’s something for every budget.
We stayed in a six person lodge tent booked directly with Duinrell, but there are also a number of companies with tents and mobile homes on the park, including Eurocamp and Canvas.
The theme park is free, with unlimited access for all guests.
The water park is free to guests who have booked directly with Duinrell via a online booking system. If booked via a third party, charges will apply.
Duinrell: The On Site Highlights
The Vintage Carousel
Starting with this one because I adore all things vintage and whimsical. It’s my absolute favourite. Built in Germany in 1864, the lovingly restored carousel features twenty cheerful horses, a sleigh or two and even a hot air balloon. Not to mention beautiful beading and painted scenes.
Housed in its own glass house with a small cafe, the perfect place to stop for a coffee and a stroopwaffel.
In contrast to the beautiful and sedate carousel, The Falcon. It’s fast, plunges you up and down at seemingly impossible angles and turns you upside down. I swerved this for years as my youngest was too small to ride. He grew up, I ran out of excuses.
Felt the fear and did it anyway. Turns out (after some genuine terror and a swear word when the seat locked I was committed) I liked it. Everyone should ride this, at least once.
Rick The Frog
Park mascot since the 1970’s, you can’t miss him. He’s everywhere. Rick themed bins, planters, rides, even do-nuts. The friendly, froggy face of Duinrell.
In honour of the parks 85th anniversary, a bronze statue of Rick the Frog was given pride of place in the park. Disney vibes, Duinrell charm.
There’s a range of Rick merch and regular meet-and-greets round the park. Don’t play it cool, go all in and be a Rick fan. It’s part of the experience.
A fairytale world of rides, stories and imagination. Wonderland is one of the older parts of the park, added in the 1960’s.
Accessed via drawbridge, Wonderland has it’s very own Mannekin pis, an animated Baron Von Munchhausen astride half a horse and a pedal powered monorail. Good fun, if a bit bonkers. Have a peek in the video below.
Duinrell- The History Bit
Ready for a quick bit of history?
I like Duinrell. Because it’s given me over a decade of happy memories, but also because of its family business back story.
Originally part of a large country estate on the edge of Wassenaar, Duinrell opened the gates for the first time on Good Friday in 1935. Visitors were invited to visit the restaurant ‘Schaapskooi’ or take refreshments in the orangerie. Both are still a features of Duinrell today.
By the 1950’s the estate was attracting visitors who wanted to stay beyond the day. Informal camping popped up; little more than a few tents in a field. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when Count van Zuylen van Nijevelt inherited the running of the estate, Duinrell as a destination was born.
Count van Zuylen van Nijevelt was dreaming big for Duinrell, working from a list of ideas in a notebook. He took research trips to other parks, personally travelled to England to develop the waterslides for the Tiki pool and added new accommodation.
After almost three decades at the helm, the running of the park was passed to the next generation. Duinrell remains a family business owned and managed by the brothers Roderick and Philip van Zuylen van Nijevelt.
This year saw Duinrell celebrate its 88th year. A family business creating the perfect family holiday in Holland.
For a closer look at Duinrell, find the website here.
With thanks to Duinrell for help in creating this post, and for kindly allowing me to use images from their archives.
Thank you for such an interesting post. Its good to get the history of the park, but also your own history. I loved the carousel. To me, there is always something magical about carousels 🎠 maybe it’s nostalgia for the past
There’s definitely something about them, isn’t there? Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, appreciated.
Great to read about this historic park and how it’s grown over the years. It’s lovely to discover a place you enjoy so much that you are drawn back year after year. Although I adore visiting new places I can hardly bear a year to go by without returning to Finland. Hope you’re enjoying the bank holiday celebrations. We’ve had nice, dry weather up north!
Thanks Marion, it is lovely to have place that pulls you back. For us, it also means we have family pics in one place. Moving with the army, we haven’t that at home! Weather is hit and miss here but nothing dampened the bank holiday celebrations. Hope your having a good month.
Carousels and lazy rivers are about my limit, Helen. None of that X drop stuff! Sounds like a Belgian Butlins. Nice to have a family visit still going strong 🤗💕
To be honest I passed the top-level-scary water rides. Put my foot down about anyone in my lot going on the craziest two- we’re on holiday, no injuries please!
Oops, Dutch Butlins 🤔❤️
This looks a lovely family place. I think maybe those of us the wrong side of 75 probably need not apply, but could perhaps pass the info on to our families.
Oh I don’t know, ride on the carousel and pancakes for tea is ageless, surely! Ha ha, it is aimed at the younger family market but a charming place nonetheless.
Riding on carousels? Nah. Seasick. Pancakes? Yes!
Looks to be a delightful holiday destination, especially with the vintage fairground. The stuff of fairytales. ❤️
A nice little escape from the madness that is the world just now!
Nice to have that continuity of a family business in an age of multinationals.
Certainly is, I was pleasantly surprised that they’d managed to keep it in the family.