Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th century Dutch writer/playwright Joost van den Vondel. In the 1960s‒70s, Vondelpark was a magnet for peace-loving “flower children.” In the ensuing half-century, it has evolved into a symbol for a place where everything is possible and (almost) everything is allowed.
The park hums with activity in summer, when residents converge to enjoy Amsterdam's rare sunshine. Numerous bars and restaurants within the park―Blauwe Theehuis, Café Vertigo, Groot Melkhuis, Vondeling and Vondeltuin―provide options for snacks and drinks. Better yet, bring cheese, bread, wine, friends and a few musical instruments to chill on the grass. Vondelpark is home to a skate rental shop, open-air theater, playground, bandstand and rose garden. From June‒August, concerts are held in the 19th-century Pavilion and summer, music, dance and cabaret performances take place in the open-air theater.
Experienced bladers can experience the park up close and personal on Friday Night Skate. A different 15―25-km route is covered each week, starting at 20:30. If you’re lucky enough to be in Amsterdam on April 27 for Koningdag (King's Day), don’t miss the annual vrijmarkt (free market) in Vondelpark, when children hawk old treasures and showcase their talents.