Visit Holland - The Netherlands
The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares (120 acres) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is located in the stadsdeel Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein.
The park 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. In the park is an open air theatre, a playground and several horeca facilities.
In 1864 a group of citizens led by Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen established the Vereeniging tot Aanleg van een Rij- en Wandelpark (English: Association for the Construction of a Park for Riding and Strolling). They bought several hectares of grass-land and marshes at the rim of the city of Amsterdam, in order to create the new park. They assigned the architect Jan David Zocher to design it, and in 1865 "Het Nieuwe Park" (English: "The New Park") was opened for members of the association and in exchange for a fee also for other citizens.
Two years after the park opened, in 1867, a statue of writer and playwright Joost van den Vondel was placed in the park. Sculptor Louis Royer created the sculpture and the architect Pierre Cuypers designed the stand. As a result people started to call the park "Vondelspark" (English: "Vondel's Park").
In 1873 a bandstand was built. In the same year, brewer Gerard Adriaan Heineken was denied to open a bar in the park, so he built the Bierhuis Vondel (English: "Beer House Vondel") in the street next to the park, what is now Vondelstraat 41.
The last part of the park was designed by Louis Paul Zocher, Jan David Zocher's son, and was realized from 1875 to 1877. The park now became its current size of 47 hectares. Also the English garden style design of the Zochers has been roughly maintained up to now, although in the late 19th century the elongated park had a stream of water from the beginning to the end and contained many small paths and small bushes.
In 1878 the Pavillon (English: "Pavilion") was built as a replacement of a wooden chalet built by Louis Paul Zocher. The Pavillon is currently known as the Vondelparkpaviljoen (English: "Vondelpark Pavilion"). The park's name was officially changed into "Vondelpark" (English: "Vondel Park") in 1880.
Already in the 1880s and 1890s the cycling in the park caused hindrance. First the park management tried to resolve this with restrictive measurements against cyclists, such as special bike paths, limited opening hours, and fines for cyclists that were going faster than a horse's trot. It was only after mediation of the Algemene Nederlandsche Wielrijders-Bond (English: "General Dutch Cyclists Union"), that helped fund the park, that a park guard was installed and cyclists were again permitted to cycle normally.
In 1936, a rose garden was created in the center of the park.
One year later in 1937, the Blauwe Theehuis (English: "Blue Tearoom") was opened. This tearoom is a round modernist building, designed by the architectural office Baanders.
In the following years the overall maintenance of the park became too expensive for the Vereniging tot aanleg van een rij- en wandelpark (English: "Association for the creation of a park for riding and strolling"), due to an intensified use, and in 1953 the association donated the park to the city of Amsterdam. The landscape architect Egbert Mos renovated the Vondelpark for the city in the 1950s. The purpose was improve the park for both usage and maintenance. Small bushes were grouped into larger bushes, superfluous paths were removed, and the rose garden was renovated. Also the stream of water in the "trunk" near the northern entrance of the park was removed.
In the 1960s children's playgrounds were created. During the flower power era in the 1960s/1970s the Vondelpark became a symbol of a place where "everything is possible and (almost) everything is allowed". In the 1980s an open air theatre was built.
The Vondelpark received the status of rijksmonument (English: "state monument") in 1996.
In the 1990s the number of visitors grew to approximately 10 million visitors annually. The grass is used as sports field and the paths as bike paths. This caused the city to start a new renovation that takes place from 1999 to 2010. The purpose is to intensify the monumental value of the park and furthermore to improve the park's durability. The renovation takes more than ten years in order to decrease the hindrance for visitors and for brooding animals.
Starting in September 2008, adults were planned to be legally allowed to have sex in the park, as long as they "take their garbage with them afterwards and never have intercourse near the playground. The sex must be limited to the evening hours and night.", in the words of current Amsterdam Alderman Paul Van Grieken. However, Amsterdam Police announced that they would not in fact tolerate this as the law required them to prevent it.
In the park are several horeca facilities (listed in alphabetical order):
't Blauwe Theehuis, a bar/restaurant
Groot Melkhuis, a bar/restaurant
Vertigo, the bar/restaurant of the film museum
Vondeling, the bar/restaurant of the open air theatre
Vondeltuin, a bar/restaurant