When temperatures rise in Amsterdam, the Vondelpark is the place to be. Located in the centre of the city, the entrance directly behind Leidseplein, the greens of the Vondelpark have turned into an paradise for travellers and local students. Dragging along fridges loaded with alcoholic beverages, stereo speakers and barbecues, the crowd have a genuine feast.
Actually, on warm days, the Vondelpark looks more like a festival than a park. It is now no longer allowed to have a barbecue in the Amsterdam Vondelpark.
10 Facts about the Amsterdam Vondelpark
- The Vondelpark was created in 1867 because of the serious lack of green within the canal rings. Still today there are no other public parks inside the canal ring of Amsterdam. There are however many private gardens.
2. In the old days, ‘the public’ was not even allowed to enter the park. The Vondelpark was for members and on invitation only.
3. The owners of the Vondelpark serious many financial problems and the park was in a terrible state. In 1953 the Amsterdam council bought the Vondelpark for one guilder.
4. The Vondelpark is named after the Dutch playwright and writer Joost van den Vondel. There is a large statue of him in the beginning of the park.
5. The Vondelpark is maintained in the English garden style, with small paths, bushes and romantic ponds and bridges.
6. The Vondelpark is 47 hectares (120 acres) big. It’s a rectangle shape, with two bicycle lanes running on both sides. By comparison, Central Park in New York is 843 acres and opened in 1857.
7. All summer, every weekend, there are free performances at the free Vondelpark Festival.
8. The Blue Tearoom (‘t Blauwe Theehuis) is a circular modernist building, completed in 1937, located in the middle of the park.
9. In the Second World War, people cut down the trees in the Vondelpark because of a shortage of fuel. The German occupants ‘saved’ the park by closing it. Inside the farm in the Vondelpark, ten people were in hiding from the Germans.
10. At the end of the 1960s the hippies used the Vondelpark and the small musical chapel as their haven, sleeping, smoking, and making music in the park.
11. Contrary to the houses and streets in Amsterdam, the park was never created on a firm foundation. Because of the watery soil (peat) of Holland, the grounds of the Vondelpark are continuously sinking.
12. To restore the park, a big renovation took place from 1999 tot 2010. The project consisted of improving drainage, raising all of the paths and lanes, planting new and moving old trees and diminishing the risk of the peat to sink. Also, all the bars and restaurants, gates, bridges, statues and playgrounds had some form of renovation.