We’ve all heard of Miffy, the world-famous bunny created in 1955 by the Utrecht-based illustrator Dick Bruna. You’ll see evidence of Miffy all over the city, so dress up warmly, put on your walking shoes and set off in search of bunnies. It’s even fun without the children.
By Dieuwke de Boer
Start your bunny tour on Neude. Take a quick peek in the Fifth, the first-floor lounge in hostel Stayokay. Visitors are always welcome, even if they’re not guests. Don’t forget to look at the ceiling, as you’ll spot some upside down bunnies. Leave Neude and walk along Potterstraat, turning right into Oudegracht. At the end, just before Van Asch van Wijckskade, you’ll find a peaceful Miffy square. The bronze statue of Miffy in the middle was made by Dick Bruna’s son Marc. Walk back on the other side of Oudegracht and turn right into Lange Viestraat. At the main crossroads, stay on the left and cross to Vredenburg. The pedestrian lights use Miffy figures to tell pedestrians when they can cross.
From Vredenburg, walk along Lange Elisabethstraat, Steenstraat and Mariastraat to Mariaplaats. Dick Bruna used bike this way every day, on his way to his studio. A statue of Dick Pluis stands in the square as a mark of honour from the local shopkeepers. Continue onto Zadelstraat and past Theo Blom’s pastry shop, a personal favourite of Dick Bruna. They sell special Miffy biscuits: delicious round biscuits featuring pictures of the bunny. If you were unable to resist, finish your bickies and carry on along Zadelstraat. Pass the Maartensbrug and turn right into Lichte Gaard. Café Orloff, on the corner of Donkere Gaard and ’t Wed, is where Dick Bruna liked to drink his morning coffee.
If you’re still feeling fit, walk along ’t Wed, Trans and Kromme Nieuwegracht to Jeruzalemstraat, which is where Dick Bruna spent many years working in his attic studio. There’s mosaic commemorating the famous bunny. You’ll get a good impression of the studio and the history of Miffy in the attic room of the Central Museum, where the real studio has been carefully reconstructed. Everything on display, from photos, cards and letters, to pencils, scissors and cupboards, originates from Bruna’s former workplace.
The Miffy museum just across the road is a haven for families with children between two and six years of age. Everything in the museum is child-proof: you can crawl and climb through Miffy’s house, exploring all the rooms on the three floors as you go. Stroke the animals in the zoo, and enjoy the model road system on the top floor, complete with automatic barriers, a bus and pedestrian crossings. Until 31 January, the museum is also well worth visiting in the evenings. You don’t even have to go in; an outdoor light projector shines a ‘this is where Miffy lives’ show onto the façade every evening, on a continuous loop from 17.15 to 23.00. The show lasts thirteen minutes and features Miffy and her friends in the throes of winter adventures.