Amsterdam: parks and gardens
Amsterdam might be most famous for its canals, but it also has some very attractive parks, gardens and other open spaces.
At the head of Museumplein lies the Rijksmusuem and the iconic I Amsterdam sign which everyone wants to be photographed with – except us, we didn’t bother waiting! Down the side are Amsterdam’s other top art museums (Van Gogh Museum and Stedlijk Musuem) with the Concertgebouw at the far end of its grassy expanse.
When we visited, there was also an exhibition of model canal houses. One of the examples below is the KLM building, significant because that airline gives out small blue and white china houses filled with Dutch gin to its business class passengers. As John often uses KLM to fly to China we have an excellent collection at home. The other example is Coster Diamonds, the only model where the real building can be seen behind it (on the right).
Vondelpark is very close to Museumplein, and is a great place to relax by its ponds, have a meal on a pretty terrace, or admire this proud Mama Duck and her brood of eight.
The Botanical Garden dates from 1638 and is the only space in this post that you have to pay to get into (9.50 Euros). NB, the flamingos are not in the garden but on the nearby Artisplein.
Begijnhof is an enclosed 14th century courtyard of tiny houses and gardens. It was originally home to the Beguines, a Roman Catholic order of unmarried or widowed women who lived a religious vows without taking monastic vows. The last one died in 1971.
Westerpark is slightly out of the centre so maybe more popular with locals than tourists. We enjoyed a wander round – it has some quirky sculptures.