Main entrance 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat (opposite Zandpad and Vossiusstraat). (Open Map)


Vondelpark is Amsterdam's most popular playground, attracting over 12 million people every year to its 116-acre (47-hectare) expanse of manicured lawns, ponds, cozy cafes, picturesque footbridges, and winding paths. In this egalitarian space, everyone from tourists, to couples, to cyclists, to in-line skaters, parents with prams, children doing cartwheels, teenagers playing football, and friends sharing spliffs and champagne can all come together and revel in the open-air atmosphere. Initially, this lush green area was a private park only available to the wealthy. It was laid out on marshland by architect Jan David Zocher and opened in 1865, and later expanded by his son, Louis Paul, to its current size in 1877. It was officially renamed to Vondelpark in honor of the poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel (1587–1679) after a statue of him was created by sculptor Louis Royer and installed in the park.

The City Council bought Vondelpark in 1953, and it was finally opened to the public to become the beloved playground that it is today. In the mid-90s, it was listed as a national monument and underwent major renovations to include an extensive drainage system and improved walking and cycling paths while retaining its traditional appeal.

The Openluchttheater holds events from May to September, such as classical music concerts, stand-up comedy, and plays. For those seeking something more offbeat, the Vondelbunker, a hidden-away place beneath the 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat bridge, is a former fallout shelter that has now been converted into an underground cultural center. It offers gigs, film nights, and poetry. The park also boasts 69 sculptures, including the large abstract Picasso work Figure découpée l’Oiseau (The Bird; 1965), more commonly known as The Fish, which he donated for Vondelpark’s centenary. Additionally, there is a beautiful rose garden planted in 1935 that boasts around 70 different species.