Nature and active in De Plantage
The Plantagebuurt has been part of Amsterdam since the 17th century. It was built as the city’s pleasure garden and to this day offers a welcome leafy retreat from the hustle and bustle of the centre. Here’s a roundup of the best parks, gardens and green oases to discover in this historic neighbourhood.
The sprawling city zoo of Artis offers visitors encounters not only with flamingos, lemurs and penguins but also a variety of rare plant species. The grounds form a vast botanical garden filled with unusual shrubs, plants, and trees – some even older than the zoo itself.
Built in 1812, Wertheim Park was a gift from Napoleon, making it the oldest park in Amsterdam. The park is named after a Jewish banker and philanthropist whose virtues are commemorated on the central fountain. The lush green lawns provide an oasis of peace and tranquillity, overlooked by the important monument 'Never Again Auschwitz' by Jan Wolkers.
Founded in 1638, Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The garden is home to more than 6000 tree and plant species. In addition to a gorgeous cafe, outdoor gardens, and a ‘hothouse’ that emulates three different tropical environments, hundreds of majestic butterflies can be found frolicking inside the Butterfly Greenhouse. Learn about its rich history, sustainability and much more during a visit to this tropical paradise.
Hiding behind the immense Hermitage Museum, you’ll find a secret courtyard garden filled with formal flower beds and lush green lawns. This green gem offers plentiful opportunities to relax on the grass, walk amongst the blooms and take a peek at the vegetable garden. The sunny terrace at Dignita - a cafe with a socially-conscious outlook- is a wonderful hidden spot to take a brunch or coffee break. The cake selection come highly recommended!
J.W. van Overloopplantsoen
There’s a small but extremely pleasant stretch of greenery along the canal in De Plantage known as the J.W. van Overloopplantsoen. It's an ideal spot for picnicking, watching the boats pass and visitors popping into the Hortus greenhouses next door. You’ll find diverse groups of people making use of this space including locals practising taichi or couples dangling their feet into the water.