Discover the Vondelpark

door Janette

Marketeer and social media expert who just "happens" to speak Chinese fluently. Moved to the capital one year ago and shares her Amsterdam discoveries with you.

August 2, 2017

Looking for a piece of nature within the busy city? The Vondelpark is the “Central Park” of Amsterdam. Built in 1865 and still a beloved piece of outdoor for many residents of Amsterdam. See young people relax in the sun while new parents take a stroll with the pram. Also the elderly meet each other here to enjoy some nice chatting. Especially in the summertime, it is clear that the Vondelpark really is the park of and for the people of Amsterdam.

eople relaxing in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam

History

Initially, the people of Amsterdam called the landscaped nature area between the Amstelveenseweg and the Stadshouderskade “The New Park”. A couple of years after the construction, a statue of the Dutch poet and performer “Vondel” was placed in the park. Since then, the name of the elongated nature reserve changed to Vondelpark.

Design

The park has an English landscape style. Thanks to this style, you think you’re actually in the middle of a forest. When you go for a walk through the Vondelpark, you experience this yourself. Entrance is free and connections between the ponds and river banks complete the experience of ‘real nature within the city’.

Architectural bridge in the Vondelpark

The Vondelpark destroyed by the war

In the Second World War, the park was taken by the Germans. They dug gaps so aircraft couldn’t land here and they built German bomb shelters. In November 1944, the park closed its doors because of the constant wood robbery and the overall destruction. The southern part of the park was still in use as a campsite and parking for German Lorries. The camouflaged vehicles hid between the forests, behind the fences. They completely closed off the park with waiting stations, barbed wire, and fences.

After the war

In 1947, just after the war, the Vondel Bridge was ready. The bridge connects the “Eerste Constantijn Huygenstraat” with the “Van Baerlestraat”. Since 1953, a tram crosses this bridge. Line 3 doesn’t need to drive around the park anymore since then. The shelters in the park are still there, but they serve for cultural purposes.

Gate of the Vondelpark
Between 1999 and 2010, the city renovated the park. New drainage systems, re-founded trees, and renewed roads made the park again accessible for everyone. The icing on the cake was that they placed the Vondel fountain back in its old spot in 2009. The fountain was demolished in 1947 because of dilapidation. On Sunday, February 28, 2010, the Vondelpark officially reopened its doors.

Discover the Vondelpark

With more than 10 million visitors a year, the Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most-visited park. In the summer months, there are theatre acts and concerts in the open air theatre. The multiple catering facilities such as the Vondelparkpaviljoen, the Blue Tea House and the Vondel Garden are perfect places to get a snack. There are also a tennis court, children’s sandboxes and paddling pools for water fund and some playgrounds at the Vondelpark.

Building of the Vondelparkpaviljoen in Amsterdam

The flora and fauna

In de Vondelpark are about 4700 trees, divided over 150 species. Two of these are even on the list of monumental trees in the Netherlands. In the bushes grow many herbs, flowers, and plants. There is no other place in the heart of Amsterdam where so many different plants and animals live. In the park lives a wide variety of all kinds of songbirds and fishes. At the quieter moments, you can also see a hedgehog, squirrel or a rabbit. And that all in the middle of the city!

stork at a pond in the vondelpark

The special Vondelpark

The Vondelpark is an inspiration for photographers, painters, poets and many other artists. It’s not very hard to see why. The remarkable architecture of the countless little bridges is really beautiful. Another spot of inspiration is “The Big Maple”. In 2006 this old and big tree was blown over by a powerful summer storm. Until today, this tree is still there, half-rooted on the grass.

Complete your trip to Amsterdam and combine your visit to the Vondelpark with one of our cultural tours, like the Royal Experience.

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