The Dutch National Military Museum (Nationaal Militair Museum) is located on a former US air force base at Soesterberg between Utrecht and Amersfoort. It has a significant collection of military aircraft and vehicles housed in a large, modern glass structure.
Soesterberg Air Base was originally established as an airfield in 1911. From 1954 to 1994 a US Air Force squadron was stationed at the base which was named Camp New Amsterdam. The base remained in use by the Royal Netherlands Air Force up to 2008 when flying operations finally ceased.
The National Military Museum was opened in 2014 which combined the former Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg and the Army Museum in Delft.
You enter the museum via the first floor reception area. This floor houses multi-media exhibition spaces which focus on the armed forces. It covers historical aspects such as military uniforms, weaponry but also deals with social history and a human perspective. Most exhibits have Dutch and English labelling although some presentations are Dutch only.
The highlight of the museum is the large ground floor collection (called the Arsenal) which contains an impressive array of planes, helicopters, tanks and armoured vehicles. Most are on the ground which allows you to get up close whilst some are suspended spectacularly in mid-air. The large windows provide substantial natural lighting.
For aviation and military enthusiasts, the plane collection includes General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon (J-215), Hawker Sea Furry Mk50 (6-43), Douglas C-47A Dakota (T-443), Gloster Meteor F Mk4 (I-69), North American B-25J Mitchel (M-464) and a Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk IXc (H-1).
In the covered room on the ground floor there is an interactive military-themed play zone for children called Xplore. This includes various activities including a F-16 aircraft simulator and a tank simulator.
You may be able to step inside one of the military vehicles or aircraft with a knowledgeable retired military guide. On our visit we were able to see the Fokker F27 Troopship.
You can take the lift up to a constructed control tower which has sweeping views of the former air base and the runways. Display panels describe the history of the airfield.
Weather permitting you can also head outside to visit the grounds which include memorials to the Royal Dutch Air Force, a command bunker, a hangar and other out-buildings. The museum is located within 45 hectares of forest and heathland.
A small children’s play area and assault course can also be found outside.
Facilities at the museum include lockers, a shop and a restaurant which serves soups, sandwiches, light meals and drinks. There is a 360 degree film theatre showing short films and temporary exhibitions also run on occasion.
If you are interested in military or aviation themes then the National Military Museum in Soesterberg could well be worth a visit. You can easily spend half a day or more visiting.
Note, the National Military Museum was closed between 13 March and 31 May 2020 due to coronavirus measures. Since reopening on 1 June it is mandatory to pre-book a ticket and timeslot in order to maintain social distancing. One-way walking routes are clearly marked in the museum.
National Military Museum Essential Info
|Opening Times||Tue-Sun 1000-1700, closed Mondays except Dutch school holidays. Closed Christmas Day (25 Dec), New Year’s Day (1 Jan) and King’s Day (27 Apr). Closed until at least 19 January 2021.|
|Admission Prices (2020)||€15 for adults, €7.50 for children 4-12. FREE entry to children 0-3 and Museumkaart holders.|
|Getting There||The National Military Museum is in the town of Soesterberg roughly between the cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort. You can travel by train to either Amersfoort Centraal or Soest Zuid station (via Utrecht) and then connect to various bus services that stop nearby the museum. For a travel planner see here.|
Nationaal Militair Museum, Verlengde Paltzerweg 1, 3768 MX Soest
T: +31(0)85 003 6000, nmm.nl