That’s what I missed in Amsterdam – I didn’t realise how much I would until I spent 48 hours around the city centre!
By the third day I just had to find a park – or at least some grass (but the kind you can sit on!!) Unfortunately I was not impressed with what I found – obviously I am spoiled in my home town for green areas. Maybe there are nice parks further out of the city, but there is a definite lack of green space in the centre.
The 2 parks I visited were disappointingly boring and in my opinion, uncared for. They also seemed stark and characterless. My pic was taken in The Vondelpark.
I was so disappointed with the park we visited near the Botanical Garden, that I only stayed 5 minutes and didn’t even bother to take a pic!
When you are visiting the Vondelpark, take a detour to the Roemer Visscherstraat (east side of the Vondelpark).
In this street between no. 20 and 30a, you will find houses in the style of different European countries: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Rusia, the Netherlands and England. These houses were designed by one architect in the beginning of the 20th century. He wanted to show the diversity in European styles. The place is known as "European Union".
If you like horses and architecture than you shouldn't miss this lovely riding school. You would never expect a riding school in the middle of Amsterdam. It is housed in a lovely building near the Vondelpark. It was built in 1882 by the same architect who made the plans for the concert hall.
Walk through the gate in Vondelstraat no. 40. If you are lucky you can watch a riding lesson. But be quiet and don't take pics with a flash. On the first floor is a nice cafetaria and you can sit on the balcony, enjoying the riding lesson while you have a cup of coffee.
The park was somewhat a deception because there were nearly no flowers although it was begin May and in the country, from my train, I had seen many huge fields with flowers, late tulips and other flowers.
What is certainly fine with this park is that everything is allowed. You can walk and lie down on the grass, cycle on the asphalt paths, make bbq on the stones put on the grass for that purpose. You can drink, eat, smoke and more.
If you want to know the detailed regulations of the Vondelpark look at "Beleidskader Gebruik Vondelpark" a 26 pages PDF document. You might learn that topless sunbathing is allowed, not nudism.
If you don't believe me look at:
The park has several ponds because it was constructed in a dump area. The park is 2 m lower than the surrounding streets. After heavy rains whole parts cover with water. The ponds attract many birds.
But let's come to more serious things i.e. the Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel (1587 -1679) whose imposing statue is the main monument of this park.
It is important to know, at least for those tourists who came to Amsterdam for other things than the Red District or the weed shops, that Joost van den Vondel was born in Cologne, then lived in Antwerpen till his parents who were "Doopsgezinden" (Mennonites) did flee to Amsterdam. Later Vondel became Catholic. He is the greatest Dutch author.
I like following poem, about travelling around the world, which could be used as advice on the VT Travel Forum:
"De wereld is wel schoon, en waerdigh om t'aenschouwen,
Maer 't reizen heeft wat in. de kosten vallen swaer.
Men magh den Oceaen niet al te veel betrouwen.
De Bergen rijzen steil. de bosschen zien te naer."
My translation of his Dutch from the 17 th. century:
The world is nice, and worthy to look at
But traveling has a point. The costs are heavy.
One should not trust the ocean too much.
Mountains rise steeply. The woods look too dark.
Vondelpark was very close to our hotel, and we often walked through it on our way into the centre of Amsterdam. First thing in the morning we often used to see people sleeping off the night before! It is popular with joggers and roller-bladers, and is a nice place to stroll around. It isn't a pretty park - the flower displays are virtually non-existent - but if you need a bit of greenery to lift your spirits, this is the place to come. It's roughly a ten-minute walk from Leidesplein, and there are a couple of nice cafes where you can sit and people-watch for an afternoon.
The Film Museum is in Vondelpark, and when we visited, had a special Audrey Hepburn exhibition on. It wasn't particularly informative, and consisted mosly of displays of fans' scrapbooks and dolls dressed in replicas of her most famous film costumes. There was no information about her life at all, other than a Unicef video playing on a loop. Still, it only cost 2 euros and got us out of the terrible rain!
The film museum has a cinema that shows art-house movies and older films (there was an Audrey retrospective while we were there), and there you can eat and drink next door at the Cafe Vertigo. Decent coffee, but it was very noisy!
The Vondelkerk (Vondel Church, not the real name of the church but named like this for its location in the Vondelstraat) is one of the most important churches from the 19th century in this country. It combines neo-Gothic shapes with an almost oval ground-plan and was designed by P.J.H. Cuypers, without a doubt the most important Dutch architect of the 19th century and perhaps even of all time. It's just one of many of his works in Amsterdam.
Strangly shaped on the map, a long green stripe is leading away just uotside the ringed canals. this is the Vondel park, Amsterdam's central park, that offers some green and nature in this hectic and busy town. In this park you can enjoy some sun, when you lay down on the grass, but do not think you will find peace and quiet here as even in this park, it's often busy and crowded. The name "Vondel" descends from one of our greatest historic writers. "Vondel" was a writer of theatre plays, but also wrote wonderful poems. As being an Amsterdam citizen, now-a-days he is honoured with this park, that bares his name.
The Vondelpark is Amsterdam's most famous park. It is not the only one though. Westerpark (with the Westergasfabrioek for food and entertainment), Martin Luther King Park (a treasure in the Rivierenbuurt), Rembrandtpark and the Oosterpark are just some of the others. Always good for a relaxed stroll or picknick!
When it's a beautiful summerday in Amsterdam: Go to the supermarket buy some drinks and snacks, head for the Vondelpark and just crash here for a day! You will find all the locals here relaxing and socialising! It's a cheap and much more interesting alternative for the expensive terraces on the Leidseplein!
Bring a visit to the Vondelpark!
Especially when the weater is good, a lot of people are in the Vondelpark enjoying themselves. The Vondelpark will also be descriped as the garden of every 'Amsterdammer' (inhabitant of Amsterdam)
So, in the summer, you will find people sunbathing, swimming, making music or just playing. On a sunday you can find some free concerts. It's just a great park for skating, cycling, walking and enjoy your self!
The Vondelpark is the largest park of the city, situated close to the Leidseplein and the big museums.
The park is always alive with skaters, joggers and all sorts of street performers.
In the summer there are concerts and festivals.
There are several bars in the park, all with their own outside terrace.
All in all a very pleasant place to spend a lazy sunny afternoon.
At the Vondelpark, designed and lay out in 1850, you will find a magnificent piece of nature in the middle of the inner part of the town. The park reaches out from “het Leidseplein” till the “Amstelveenseweg”.
It is a beautiful place for a picnic, but also for a trip on your skeelers. During the summer there is always something going on, on stage ….
The main entrance is at “de Stadhouderskade”.
For more info: click here ...
Located near the city center in Amsterdam, Vondel Park is a great place to go to get away. Vondel Park is a large area of parks, ponds, trees and museums that appeals to a broad crowd of locals and visitors. Whether you want to sit in the park and smoke joints, wander around and see the sights or just relax and watch the clouds role by, this is a great place for everyone.
Weteringplantsoen, far from the madding crowd, a lot less people compared to the Vondelpark and yet within walking distance of Kalverstraat and Damrak. On the lawn, there's a bust of Dutch author Simon Carmiggelt, urging us to become writers ourselves.
We lost a ball in one of the trees here. See if you can find it!