Amsterdam Forrest mei17

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Amsterdam Forrest

Amsterdamse Bos/Amsterdam Forrest

The Amsterdam Forest came into being in a remarkable time and a remarkable way – all the trees were planted by hand during the crisis years. Spanning an impressive 1,000 hectares, at three times the size of New York’s Central Park the Amsterdam Forest is among the largest city parks in Europe.

The first step to create the Amsterdam Forest dates back to 1900. The inspiration came from Dutch botanist Jac. P. Thijsse, who wanted to make up for the lack of nature in the city by creating a green area to escape to near the Nieuwe Meer. No sooner than 28 years later, the local government decided to construct a proper city park.

Unemployment relief
In response to the challenges presented by the economic crisis, Amsterdam took firm action. The city struggled with high unemployment – 55,000 citizens were unemployed at the time – and the construction of a city park could very well be useful as a work relief programme. Between 1934 and 1940 alone, the forestation project provided work for more than 20,000 unemployed people. Using no other technical means than wheelbarrows and metal dump carts on rails, the labourers created a forest from scratch using shovels as their main equipment.

The planting of the forest progressed nicely and the Forest was set to be completed in 1948. However, the outbreak of the Second World War interrupted the work and the last tree wasn’t planted until 1970.

What to do:

Ridammerhoeve is a biodynamic goat farm situated in the middle of the Amsterdam Forest. Visitors are welcome to look around the farm and have a chat with the staff while they work. All products made on the farm are for sale in the shop or served on the terrace. Don’t forget to taste the famous goat’s milk ice-cream!

Swing from tree to tree, climb a rope ladder and balance on a suspension bridge. The Fun Forest climbing park has nine different climbing courses of varying difficulty at various heights. Good fun for young and old alike!

If you would like to see the forest from the water, you can! From May to September excursion boats chug through just about all the waterways in the Amsterdam Forest. Excursions take one and half hours. For more information about boat excursions or other excursions and activities, please visit the Visitors’ Centre.

The water quality of the Amsterdam Forest waterways and lakes is excellent. So feel free to take a dip in the swimming section of the Grote Vijver. The Groot Kinderbad and Klein Kinderbad are two outside paddling pools for young children. The pools are open from May to August/September, provided temperatures reach 20° Celsius or higher. More info: Visitors’ Centre.

Picture yourself snuggled up in a blanket, enjoying a special theatrical performance in the middle of a forest. From July to August, the open-air Amsterdam Forest theatre (BosTheater) presents performances virtually every evening. The surroundings are nothing short of stunning, and the decor is amazing. Have a pre-theatre dinner on stage or have a picnic in the stands. Performances are subject to weather