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Vondelpark’s Highlights

October 29th, 2007

Food and Drinks in Vondelpark
I like to visit a city’s park on at least one day when I travel Europe because not only can I find a quiet respite in a natural setting, I can also pack a picnic lunch for half the price (or less) of a café experience. Amsterdam has lots of little food shops I would liken to a delicatessen, and their streetcorner kiosks sell fresh seasfood meals and cold Dutch beer for easy transport into Vondelpark.

vondelpark_5If you like to sit for a coffee, tea, cold drink or sandwich, Vondelpark has a couple cafés inside its bounds. One of them sits just a couple hundred meters inside the entrance, around the far side of the large pond, next to the tennis courts (members only—sorry).

Family Activities in Vondelpark
There are two kids playgrounds in the park, one south and the other north. Picnic benches are few, but there are regular park benches throughout the park, many in great spots near the water or along the wide walking boulevards. Naturally, the grass areas are nice places to lay down a blanket and eat near one of Vondelpark’s ponds or streams.

Outside Vondelpark
As a tourist destination, Amsterdam has hotels on nearly every block. If you want to avoid the higher prices and late-night chatter of staying in a room near the Central Train Station or, for better or worse, the Red Light District, the neighborhoods surrounding Vondelpark offer a peaceful alternative.

The Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum are a few minute’s walk from Vondelpark. This gives you a choice of having a picnic lunch before wading back into the crowds at the museums, or touring the museums first and then taking a nice rest in the park. Either way, you will be giving yourself the best treatment to avoid tourism fatigue and make your Amsterdam visit successful (in other words…you’ll want to come back).

One of the highlights of an Amsterdam trip, in my opinion, is a visit to the Heineken Brewery, only another five minute walk down from the Rijksmuseum on Stadhouderskade. For 10 Euros you tour the old brewery, interactively learn the history of Heineken, take in a couple of “rides” (One has you stand in a small theater, where you watch a film in which you are the Heineken bottle going through the process from sterile wash to fill’n’cap, packaging and transport, and finally opened at a party. It’s pretty neat) and get three free beers that you can enjoy in a couple of bars along the “Heineken Experience” route, plus a gift at the end of the tour. Frankly, I don’t know a better deal in all of Europe.

vondelpark_2The water taxi route is on the canal outside the park. Water taxis are the fastest and most economical way to get to the different museums and sites in Amsterdam. They cut the travel time of tram rides, which don’t necessarily go close to tourist sites, even if you can figure out tram routes & transfers. For €17 (around $20) you can hop on & off any water taxi all day and until noon the following day of purchase (buy early on your first day and you can see all the major attractions AmDam has in a day & a half. Believe me, it’s possible, even when you take into account waiting in lines). For routes, museum package prices, and other info, visit

Directions to Vondelpark
Vondelpark is just outside AmDam city center. The best way to get there is stay in a hotel near the park and walk. There are plenty in the neighborhood. Otherwise, the main entrance is off Stadhouderskade, two blocks west of the Rijksmuseum.

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