Nature and active in Zuidoost
Green and spacious Zuidoost is the perfect neighbourhood to explore if you fancy a bracing stroll, a picnic by the water or some sports. You’ll find all manner of parks, recreational opportunities, gardens and urban farms.
Nelson Mandela Park
Bijlmer Park was renamed Nelson Mandela Park in 2014 and various sports and play areas were added. You can take a hike in the magnolia valley up to butterfly hill or through the arboretum comprising native trees from the various home countries of local residents. Alternatively, make use of the great skate park and sports facilities or catch a performance at the Bijlmer Parktheatre, which is parked slap bang in the middle of the park. Don’t miss the annual Kwaku Summer Festival - a multicultural gathering which brings people and cultures together for a vibrant combination of food, drink, dance and sport.
Gaasperplas Park surrounds a manmade lake that looks anything but artificial. The park is an intricate web of streams, bridges, and walking paths, perfect for biking and horse riding. There’s a wealth of wildlife to be spotted amongst the greenery, including birds, toads, grass snakes and fish. It also has a ton of little nooks to relax in and is home to a couple of beaches, including a family-friendly beach and a small nudist beach (from March to October) and some of the best outdoor swimming spots in town. Fancy a mini holiday in Amsterdam? Book a stay at the campsite to enjoy the natural scenery overnight.
Quiet, green and smelling faintly of manure, De Bijlmerweide is a beautiful, family-friendly farm and cafe. It has a playground and gorgeous animals you can pet, and a menu that’s straight from the land with fresh eggs and homemade honey. On the agenda, you’ll also find a handful of events every year, usually aimed at kids.
A scenic walk away in the Diemerbos lies House of Bird Brewery, where you can sample speciality beers in the tasting room. The owners take pride in their sustainable, seasonal menu of locally sourced products, and the nearby forest is perfect for a decompressing walk.
Volkstuinpark de Vijf Slagen
Join the allotment trend and start your own garden in Zuidoost, or just simply explore it. Volkstuinpark de Vijf Slagen is mostly full of homegrown fruit and vegetables but many gardens also have beautiful flowers and plants which are wonderful to stroll through.
Gaasperplas, the lake itself, is a great place for sailing, surfing, rowing, canoeing and plenty of other watery activities. There are a couple of sailing clubs on the western shores of the lake where you can rent boats or sign up for sailing courses. Free nearby parking and many facilities make this park an easy place to spend the day. The connected waterways in Zuidoost are some of Amsterdam’s most beautiful sailing routes, so it’s no surprise that painters such as Piet Mondriaan and Simon Maris found inspiration along the banks around here.
Wind and watersports
And if you’re really up for an adventurous day out on the water, IJburg is a short cycle away and is the go-to spot for windsurfing. Surfcenter IJburg offers classes for all levels, including those who have never stepped onto a board and those who want to train to be an instructor. All equipment is provided, and Blijburg Beach, where the clubhouse is situated, is the perfect spot to hang loose and watch that glorious Dutch sunset.
Zuidoost cycle route
There’s no better way to explore the parks and countryside of Zuidoost than on two wheels. This Zuidoost cycle route passes through the colourful Heesterveld Creative Community, known for its creative locals and vibrant murals then ventures into Gaasperplaspark for windmills and greenery.