VONDELPARK IN AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS CAPITAL

It was the day of our arrival in Amsterdam and by 14:00 we were through Passport control and into a Connexion Cab to our Bed and Breakfast accommodation situated on the canal at Sloterkade 65 where we were introduced to our home for the next week. How gorgeous it was! How did they know of my love of flowers? Floral curtains and floral table cover with a posy of fresh flowers to welcome us. Our own little courtyard with ivy, a tree in pink blossom, a basket of yellow pansies and even traditional Dutch clogs – what more could I ask?

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In 1864  a group of prominent Amsterdam citizens formed a committee to found a public park. They raised money to buy 8 hectares of land and the landscape architect Jan David Zocher was commissioned to design the park in the then fashionable English landscape style. Zocher, known also as Zocher junior, as he was himself a son of the garden architect, worked with his son Louis Paul Zocher. Trained as architects in Paris and Rome, Zochers used vistas, lush ponds and winding pathways to create an illusion of a natural area. Father and son also designed Keukenhof and other parks in the Netherlands.

The VONDELPARK is now a public sprawling park of 47 hectares (120 acres). It was opened in 1865 and originally named the “Nieuwe Park”, but later renamed to “Vondelpark” after the 17th century author Joost van den Vondel. Yearly, the park has around 10 million visitors. It has an open-air theatre and a playground. The grass is used as a sports field and the paths as bike paths.  The Vondelpark is loved by Amsterdammers as well as by tourists and is full of people enjoying a sunny day, dog-walking, jogging, roller-skating, listening to music, people watching, or just lazing about on the grass. There is a statue of the poet Vondel.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our 30 minute walk through Vondelpark. The air was brisk (8 degrees) but the walk through the park was just what we needed after the very long flight from Australia. Once within the park, it was hard to conceive that we were in the centre of a very large lively city. I did have a constant struggle to be out of the way of the bicycles. I would probably have managed much better if I was not always so intent on getting my next photograph, but who could miss capturing these wonderful memories?

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