West of Leidseplein
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Submitted by: Julia Oostenbrug

A quiet graceful space where Amsterdammers of all ages enjoy being outside.

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Why It Works

It's not the design that makes this park so special. Like so many parks in Europe, it's designed in 19th century fashion. What does make it special is it's fantastic location, adjacent to the city centre of Amsterdam. It must be the park that is most-used in the Netherlands. Apart from the everyday use to relax and breath some fresh air, it's also used for events, performances etc. On sunny weekends its winding pathways host thousands of skating, biking, walking, dog-walking people. The edges of the park have been built in, making the park a comfortably enclosed space.

What Makes Vondelpark a Great Place?

From the point of access it's very well connected to its surroundings, though not from all sides very visible. Access for people on foot and bike only. Used by people that live in the Amsterdam city-centre, tourists etc. Paths are mostly tarmac, offering good surface for active sports as skating and biking.

After entering through relatively narrow entrances, the park opens up in front of you. It's well maintained and always populated. There's lots of seating available, both in form of benches, mostly at interesting places like the pond, near entrances etc. as well as informal sitting space on the grass. The park is relatively safe though there's no special security presence. Vehicles are not allowed inside the park.

The park is highly used. Special events take place as well as performances. Activities range from relaxing, picnicking, strolling, and duck-feeding to skating, biking, running. You could meet anyone in the park, from bank managers to professors to tourists, icecream vendors, children, babies, elderly people. It's a cross-section of Dutch society.

Especially on a sunny day, the park teems with life. People meet, talk, smile, eat. All ages and all ethnicities are present.

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