The Old Bakery Museum in Medemblik
The Old Bakery Museum in Medemblik is a winner. This adorable little museum has tons of hands-on fun for kids, is part of the Museumkaart program and is thoroughly interesting. It is packed full of Dutch baking tools, many of which are still being used. Interpretive displays are in several languages making it perfect for visitors as well as locals.
We’ve been to Medemblik before, arriving by steam train, but didn’t have time to explore the city. This time we drove up just to check out the Old Bakery Museum nestled in its historic town center. The museum is part of the Museumkaart program, but does charge admission for kids 3 and up so we had to pay separately for our Middle Little.
Each room in the museum is packed full of bakery stuff. We are familiar with so many of the Dutch bakery products that it was really neat to see how they are made. The first room is full of wooden molds used for baking speculaas cookies. These molds are carved in great detail. Particularly around Sinterklaas time you can find these cookies everywhere. Most of the small bakeries around the Netherlands still use their original wooden molds.
Literally everywhere you turn are really lovely pieces of baking equipment. Many of them are being used in the bakery demonstrations.
I love interesting collections of things so I was in heaven walking around, bouncing the Little Little in the carrier and examining all the equipment. This however, is not very exciting for the kids.
Most of your visit is spent in live demonstrations. There is a built-in step for the kids to see the workspace and angled mirrors for the adults to see. They move quickly through producing a number of products so that you can see lots of different things being made during your visit. The presentation is mostly in Dutch, which our kids have no trouble with, but everyone was also able to speak English to Jeff and I.
As the baker moved between items he made sure the kids got to help. He explained the process and made sure each kid got a turn pressing out a cookie or turning the crank on the press.
He took the time to answer lots of questions. We tasted different types of dough and fillings to really understand what goes into these products they are making here.
The kids get to see the ingredients which are all out on the table and watch the baker go through each step.
One of our favorite activities was watching the baker make whipped cream truffles. They are one of our favorite little local treats. The kids were mesmerized as he coated them in chocolate and rolled them in cocoa powder.
He leaves them buried in the cocoa powder until the chocolate cools and then he digs them out. It was like watching a little treasure hunt for truffles!
There is a little dress up area for kids to put on bakery pants and a shirt. They can pretend to sell bread or ride the delivery bike.
The ground floor finishes with incredible examples of sugar work.
Upstairs is a chocolate demonstration area. Here they are making all types of truffles and marzipan. They have all the molds out on display as well. We each got to sample a piece of chocolate.
The best part about upstairs is the workshop area. The museum hosts workshops for children and adults. You can check online to sign up for all sorts of fun stuff. Every day though is cookie decorating for kids.
The heart cookies that are being baked downstairs (the same ones the kids got to help cut out) are upstairs ready to be decorated. Kids get a small pastry bag and some candies and get to decorate their own cookie.
The museum packages up the cookies so you can bring them home. The icing dries quickly so they were easy to transport home to have as a snack later. Jeff asked me to point out that the staff fills the baggies with air when they wrap the cookies. This makes each like a little balloon, ensuring you don’t smear the icing!
I’m sure at the end of your visit you’ll have a list of a few things you want to try. The museum has a store up front where you can purchase all the items you saw being made for reasonable prices. We got a few of our whipped cream truffles and also some egg cakes filled with buttercream. There are so many choices you’re sure to find something you enjoy. It is a great way to take home a piece of your experience.