The Vondelpark (named after 16th-century Dutch poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel) is one of the few large green spaces near Amsterdam’s city center and is packed in summer. It is the most-visited park in The Netherlands and has two highly popular designated barbecue areas.
Amsterdam – Fact Check

Amsterdam has its own Central Park

Photo by Richard Wareham

Amsterdam – Fact Check Amsterdam has its own Central Park

The Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s best-loved green oasis, full of joggers, picnickers, kids running around and friends playing soccer or just lazing on the grass.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

In this city of canals, just a stone's throw from the Museum District, such a large, green, open space is well used. In the center is a lake, with boats for hire, plus a restaurant and bar (with an emphasis on the bar). It’s a great place for breakfast as well.

The Museum District is home to some of Amsterdam's best-known art galleries, but the Vondelpark also has some interesting sculpture with links to Amsterdam’s history. Two sculptures carved into the viaduct under Van Baerlestraat 1 belong to the Amsterdam School of the early 20th century, who believed in creating public art for everyone. They depict a boy and a girl, both playing with mythical animals, and were carved in 1947 by Hildo Krop, a communist artist known as Amsterdam’s city sculptor. Better known is a work by Picasso, donated by him to the city in 1965 to mark the park’s centennial. Is it a bird, or a fish, or a bit of both? You decide.

One last secret is hidden away under the bridge over the park. The Vondelbunker is a former nuclear bomb shelter that now hosts quirky events such as alternative music, art installations or community happenings. It was a center for Amsterdam’s Hippie movement in the 1960s and its events are still free as part of that philosophy.

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Wolvenstraat, part of the 9Streets with trendy shops and cafés in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam.

7 cliché activities in Amsterdam you will actually enjoy

Amsterdam is one of those cities that is drenched in clichés. I’ve overheard people saying that they thought Amsterdam was itself a country (Holland clearly isn’t interesting enough to benefit from word of mouth publicity), that the Dutch  all wear wooden shoes (imagine the pain!), that Amsterdam is  covered in tulips, and that literally everyone   smokes weed. All. Day. Long. I’m not here to smash your dreams into a thousand tiny pieces, but that’s plain bullcheese. On the other hand, some Amsterdam clichés are true and are definitely worth giving a try. They aren’t clichés for nothing, am I right?