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.
Initially, the landscaped nature area between the Amstelveenseweg and the Stadshouderskade was called “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, this elongated nature reserve is known as the Vondelpark.
The park is designed in 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 will experience this yourself. The experience of ‘real nature within the city’ is completed through the connections between the ponds and river banks.
In the Second World War, the park was taken by the Germans. Gaps were dug so aircraft couldn’t land here and German bomb shelters were built. 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 then used as a campsite and parking for German Lorries. The camouflaged vehicles were hidden between the forests, behind the fences. The park was completely closed off with waiting stations, barbed wire and fences.
In 1947 just after the war, the Vondel Bridge was ready. The bridge connects the “Eerste Constantijn Huygenstraat” with the “Van Baerlestraat”. Since 1953, the tram crosses this bridge: Line 3 doesn’t need to drive around the park anymore since then. The shelters in the park have been converted and are now used for cultural purposes.
Between 1999 and 2010, the park was renovated. New drainage systems, re-founded trees and renewed roads make the park again accessible for everyone. The icing on the cake was when the Vondel fountain was placed back in its old spot in 2009 after it was demolished in 1947 because of dilapidation. On Sunday, February 28, 2010, the Vondelpark officially reopened its doors.
With more than 10 million visitors a year, the Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s the 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.
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 is a wide variety of all kinds of songbirds and fishes. At the quieter moments, you can also see a hedgehog, squirrel or a rabbit.
The Vondelpark is an inspiration for photographers, painters, poets and many other artists and it’s not hard to see why. The remarkable architecture of the countless little bridges over the pond 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.
For more information about the Vondelpark and other special places in Amsterdam, please contact our travel department.
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