The Dolphinarium in Harderwijk is the only dolphinarium in the Netherlands. The Dolphinarium in Harderwijk is the largest marine mammal park in Europe and attracts around one million visitors. The park was founded in 1955 as a sideline in the operation of a shipping company. In 1965, the doors of the Dolphinarium open to the public.
Harderwijk nowadays is closely connected to the Dolfinarium, the dolphins attraction park at the border of the IJsselmeer. When you are with kids this is a must-do.
Daily: 10AM - 5PM (ticket office at 4PM, thereafter no entrance); 6PM in July and August.
The park is closed in the winter season.
Admission: Euro 23.00; 24.00 in July and August.
Harderwijk is part of the so-called Bible belt. Which we noticed very well when walking along one street just outside the town center. Seven churches we counted. All different kinds of congregations.
This here is the main church in the town center, the Reformed Church or by its old (catholic) name of Church of our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk).
There are biblical paintings on the ceilings which are hundreds of years old.
The organ is also interesting and there's information about the organ in English.
It's main sections (ship, choir) are from the 14th and 15th century.
Half the church is gone though, as you can see on the plaquette on one of the photos here.
At the link below there is some information on the church's history in English.
You can visit the church from half May to half September (13.30-16.30 hrs) on Mondays thru Thursdays. Or make an appointment.
This museum is situated in the centre of Harderwijk. Lots of local info that is also interesting for Dutch people. For instance the camps for Belgian soldiers who fled their country during World War 1. Nearly 15.000 of them were interned near Harderwijk. About twice as many as all the Harderwijk inhabitants at the time!
Other topics in this museum are:
- the recruiting camps for the Oost-Indisch (East-Indian) army 1815-1910 (Koloniaal Werfdepot)
- The Suydersee fishing culture
- The Gelderland University
- The Mint
- Village Hierden
- Harderwijk Hanseatic town
Mon-Fri: 10.00 · 17.00 hrs
Sat: 13.00-16.00 hrs
Entrance fee: 2 euro (adults), 1.50 euro (13-17 yrs), free for Museumkaart holders
The museum shop has free entry.
wonderfull park with dolphin and walrusshows a few times per day. We didnt go to the shows because it was way to crowded you had to stand in a very long line, so we visited Odiesea, a building where after taking a big lift down with lots of people, we saw dolphins and walrusses, wow those walrusses are so huge, it was amazing to see how they moved with such a large heavy body
the park itself has lots of restaurants and places to drink and eat, also some great playgrounds for children and a beach, we did a short walk because the weather was really cold and windy
for buying souvenirs i would advise to buy them in the center of Harderwijk, much cheaper then in the Dolfinarium, same for food and drinks.
there are parkings which cost 6 euro per day. its a short walk to the entrance
All kinds of shows with dolphins/sealions and some beautiful sea animals.
A nice playing area for the kids.
daily 10.00 - 18.00 hrs.
daily 10.00 - 17.00 hrs.
3 yrs and older € 19,25
July & August supplement € 1,00
Children untill 2 yrs. f.oc.
Seniors 65+ € 17,75
Link to my: Dolfinarium Travelogue
Close to the town and around the corner of the boulevard (you probably saw it passing by when arriving by car and parking near the Dolfinarium) is the harbour of Harderwijk. Near the harbour the windmill rises up high and a wonderful little lifting bridge offers the possibility to go to it.
This part of Harderwijk is realy traditionaly fishermen's town, though it has a very specific own character. Where ones the fishermen's boats anchored and unloaded their fresh loads, now motor and sailboats lay bringing tourists ashore.
After all thrills in the Dolfinarium it's a shame if you would immediately return home (or to the hotel, campground or boat). Go in town and enjoy the monuments that will keep on passing by your footsteps. Start by entering the town through the old fishermen gate and gaze around the fishmarket. Look at the gate:, it is entrance and lighthouse at once. The shoppingstreets are cosy and busy and on the towns main square there are lovely terraces to enjoy a cold glass of beer/beverage and maybe a tasteful fishdish. Other restaurants can be found along the boulevard, but make sure you try the "paling" - the speciality of Harderwijk.
The Dolfinarium is sometimes overshadowing the initial beauty of Harderwijk. One should however still visit the Dolfinarium, but reckon with a couple of hours to also visit the innertown and enjoy it's delights. For example by taking a strawl after all the excitement of the sea-animal-shows and have dinner in town.
Dolfinarium Harderwijk was one of the first in it's kind in the world and has been an example for many others. It started out small, but due to it's success it grew steadily, however not enough to keep housing the killerwhales that were first trained here (and now are the stars of the shows in Seaworld Florida (famoust of them all is Gudrun).
Harderwijk has a close connection with the water. A walk along the boulevard is definately a must for all visitors and can be the easiest start of a visit to the town as the parkings are also here. Walk along the harbours and gaze at the beautiful sail- and motoryaughts that are laying here. See the citywalls, still stretching along the former coastline and enjoy the watersporters that surf, sail or swim by.
This park has so much to offer, such as marine animal shows, petting live rays, 3D Pirates show, visit the beautifully landscaped lagoon, dolphin rescue and research centre, beach and also a lil playground.
You go down with a big elevator and when you're down you are inside a big watertank. it's difficult to explain in, but you're in a restaurant. You can take a drink and relax. Watch through the window to 15 million litres of sea water, behind a 60 metre glass wall to the dolphins, sea lions, seals and fishes swimming around
In the evening you can enjoy an underwater dinner in the unique Lagune Restaurant with the dolphins swimming around
some great houses at the center like Restaurant De Oude Drukkerij
Grote Kerk build 1415ac.
for those who love watersports
surfing tips at Harderwijk
The Dolfinarium is a pleasant way to spend a day observing different sea creatures and daily performances from the acrobatic dolphins, comical sealions and enormous walrusses.