Vondelpark is a very beautiful city park and one of the most well-known parks of Amsterdam, maybe even of the whole of the Netherlands. On summer days it is a beloved place both for people from Amsterdam as well as tourists to relax or get some exercise. When the sun goes down, the park becomes quiet, with only the lonely biker passing by.
The growth of Amsterdam stagnated after the Golden Age, but continued rapidly with the start of the industrial revolution. During the middle of the 19th century, the growing population resulted in a packed city center that lacked parks. To improve the city life, in 1864 it was decided to construct a park at the edge of the city. Its development was a privately financed project, at a location along the Overtoom. Between 1864 and 1877, this was the site where Vondelpark was layed out. The first part of the park was opened on the 15th of June 1865 and at that time it was known as the Nieuwe Park (New Park). The park got its present name with the placement of the statue of poet Joost van den Vondel in 1867. In 1877 the park reached its current size, after an expansion towards Amstelveense Weg. The park stayed private property until 1953, in which year it was sold to the city of Amsterdam for 1 gulden. Because of its location on peatground, the park slowly sinks away and it now lies almost 1,5 meter below the surrounding area. Partly because of this, the park was thoroughly renovated between 1999 and 2010.
Vondelpark forms an ideal location for a picknick, a bit of exercise or a moment in the sun. For the interested visitor there is much more on offer if you want to see more than the relaxing crowd. There are several statues in the park, among which "Figure Decoupe" of Pablo Picasso, a statue that is known as either "The Bird" or "The Fish". The statue of Joost van den Vondel from 1865, from which the park derives its name, is also worth a visit. In addition, the park contains about 150 different types of trees and there are many wild (but small) animals to be seen. The lasts couple of years it is the favourite breeding ground of a couple of white storks, and it is often possible to observe the young in the nest. Especially their first attempts to flying are very amusing to watch. In the rosarium from 1936 one can appreciate many different types of rozes, and it is even possible to adopt a small area to take care of.
The Vondelpark celebrated its 150th birthday on the 15th of June 2014. There have been concerts, plays and a large picknick.
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