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.
Vondelpark pick nick
The pick nick and barbecue habits of the Amsterdam crowd have spiralled out of control as on an average Sunday over 100 barbecues are smoking and burning the grass. As the sun sets and a garbage belt of leftover food, wrappers and cans cover the greens, tensions rise.
Occasionally, the alcohol abuse results in a fight. On a particular warm night in April 2011, one big fight caused a complete evacuation of the Vondelpark by the police. Since that day, police has been putting up mobile support teams and mounted police survey even more regularly.
History of the Vondelpark
In the old days, ‘the public’ was not even allowed to enter the park. The Vondelpark was for members and on invitation only.
After the owners of the park encountered serious financial problems and the park was in a terrible state, the Amsterdam council bought the Vondelpark. This was in 1953.
The Vondelpark was created in 1867, because of the serious lack of green within the canal rings. Up to this day, there are no parks inside the canal rings, the Vondelpark being the only option in the Amsterdam centre, to catch some fresh air.
10 Facts about the Vondelpark
1. 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.
2. The park is named after the statue of Dutch playwright and writer Joost van den Vondel located in the beginning of the park (across from the bar/restaurant Vertigo/ the Film museum).
3. The park is maintained in the English garden style, with small paths, bushes and romantic ponds and bridges.
4. A rose garden was created later, as well as children playgrounds and a shallow pool for children.
5. The Blue Tearoom (“Het Blauwe Theehuis) is a special round modernist building, completed in 1937, located in the middle of the park.
6. During 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 Vondelpark farm, over 10 people are in hiding from the Germans.
7. 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.
8. Nowadays, the Vondelpark Open air Theatre runs free shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June until September.
9. 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.
10. To restore the park, serious renovation has been taking place from 1999 tot 2010. The huge 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 have had some form of renovation.