Verdant Oasis in Amsterdam West?

My local park, which I can see from my recently geraniumed balcony, is named after world famous philosopher, Desiderius Erasmus (1467-1536). The Erasmuspark was designed by Egbert Mos in 1957 and he incorporated lots of straight lines, rectangular beds and trees planted in rows. (Like much of Holland if you ask me!) The design was compared with a Mondriaan painting. Unfortunately, like so many projects, the plan was only partially executed due to lack of funds.

In 1992 Bos and Lommer Council commissioned landscape architect, Urban van Aar to renovate the park that had been neglected for years. In 1996 his plans were started and finally completed in 2001. Since then we have had a few popular additions such as marble polar bear, Orso, by sculptor, Simona Vergani and a new café, Terrasmus.

Friend and writer, Siobhan Wall described the Erasmuspark a few years ago, in her book Quiet Amsterdam, as an unexpected verdant oasis tucked away in the corner of the city. Verdant, it still is but quiet oasis no longer! At least not in the summer months. The café, playground and soon-to-be-erected podium are turning it into a much busier and noisier park. It’s great for people with young kids who can grab a cappuccino while little Bartje heads for the swings. But not so good for grumpy oldies who like their peace and quiet, I mention no names…

It’s also a refuge for hundreds of rabbits who tend to come out at dawn and dusk. Most of them look wild but the park is also a popular dumping ground for pet rabbits when people go off for their summer holidays.

The bridge leading to the park, de Vierwindstrekenbrug, has a statue on each corner, representing the North, South, East and Westerly corners of the earth. The statues and bridge are typical of the Amsterdam School architectural style. The bridge was opened in 1925 and crosses the Admiralengracht. Do drop by the park if you are in Amsterdam West, it really is worth a visit. Oh, but be careful as you’re on your way to order a smoothie, or walk your dog, the grass by the children’s playground is perforated with enormous rabbit holes, either that or the polar bear comes to life at night, leaving behind yeti-like footprints…

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About susancarey

Writer and teacher living in Amsterdam. Trying to be mindful and occasionally succeeding!
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