Green spaces are one of the first things I notice in a city, and Amsterdam parks definitely lived up to my expectations. In a city where bicycles outnumber cars and nobody dares to drop anything on the floor, I knew there must be green spaces where people can relax and regenerate. Okay, let’s face it: Amsterdam weather is not the warmest in the world. But if you happen to be there from April to October, you’ll be able to enjoy the green meadows, the blossoming trees and then, when summer fades away, the warm autumn colours.
The king of Amsterdam parks
On a sunny day, Rembrandtpark, Oosterpark, Sarphatipark and Frankendael Park are definitely worth a visit. To me, however, the king of Amsterdam parks is Vondelpark, a peaceful place in the heart of a wealthy suburb. Every park has its soul, and you need to return several times to get to know it. Every park has its colours, its sounds, its inhabitants, such as the duck family living by the lake in Vondelpark. Water is everywhere: a long green-blue snake crawls from the easter gate to the western end of the park, forming small lakes, canals and ponds. Surrounded by elegant houses and villas, Vondelpark is the heart of Dutch “Kensington”. Even though many of us might now afford to live here, everyone can enjoy its beauty. Parks are very democratic.
Walking in Vondelpark
If you visit Vondelpark in spring, you’ll see a lot of people cycling or running around the park. Other prefer to walk, or to picnic under the blossoming white and pink trees like in Monet’s famous painting. The cafés and tearoom are crowded, as the warm sun make the water surface shimmer like sapphires. I had a slice of banana bread with me, bought in a small bakery nearby. So I sat on a bench by the lake and enjoyed a peaceful lunch break, while my thoughts traveled as fast as the clouds in the sky. And I realised I was falling totally in love with that solitary corner in the western part of the park, bordered by the lavish houses of Willemspark.
Where the wealthy live
Beyond the southern gates of Vondelpark lies Williemspark. There are no monuments or museums here to attract tourists, so the streets are very quiet. This residential area is clearly very wealthy, with elegant houses, little hotels and B&B and private gardens. I like walking in the exclusive neighborhoods, trying to figure out how people lead their everyday life. Here you will meet mothers pushing the strollers or picking their kids up from schools. A couple of old women chatting in a garden. No cars, few bikes. Shops, restaurants and bakeries are on Koninginneweg and Amstelveenseweg. But if you’re looking for a nice café, got to Overtoom, number 95. Here you’ll find Koffie Academie. Believe me, this is where you want to go for a cup of coffee and a homemade brownie after a long walk.
Vondelpark is located in the Museum area. From Central Station, you can take tram 1 and get off at Overtoom, where there are several entrances to the park. Tram 12 also stops by the park (get off at Van Baerlestraat).