Spend a peaceful afternoon relaxing in the capital's most popular park. Enjoy a picnic and the entertainment on offer among the perfect mix of nature and culture.
Vondelpark is the largest of Amsterdam’s urban parks and a particular favourite with locals who come to this State Monument to relax. In warmer weather, catch some sun, cycle, play or just stroll among the trees and pretty gardens. Enjoy a bite to eat at one of the park’s restaurants and if you are visiting at the weekend, see a free performance in the park’s theatre
The park first opened to the public in 1865, then known as Het Nieuwe Park, or The New Park, a welcome green oasis in the bustling, highly-developed city. The name was changed shortly after when a statue of the Dutch poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel was erected. This 3-metre high bronze sculpture was created by Louis Royer and stands on a carved pedestal by architect Pierre Cuypers. You’ll discover two other sculptures in the grounds: The Fish, an abstract piece by well-known Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, and Mama Baranka by the Dutch contemporary artist Nelson Carillho.
Follow the paved pathways to explore the 47 hectares of green space, ponds and landscaped flower beds, either on foot or hire rollerblades or a bike. The many hawthorn and chestnut trees are home to an interesting variety of birdlife. If you are lucky, you may even spot a wild parakeet or a stork.
If you are visiting at the weekend during the summer, don’t miss the shows at the Vondelpark Openluchttheater. The programme at this open-air theatre includes classical and pop music, as well as dance, musical theatre and cabaret. There is no entry charge, but some performances are so popular that it may be best to book ahead on the theatre’s website. Donations are always welcome.
Top off your visit with coffee and pancakes at one of the charming pavilions. The Blauwe Theehuis, or Blue Teahouse, has been a popular meeting place ever since it was built in 1937.
Vondelpark is just a short walk from Leidsplein and Museumplein, both of which are well-served by the city’s tram network. Parking spaces in the city centre are limited, so if you are driving, consider using the park-and-ride facilities at the city’s edge.