The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares (120 acres) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is part of the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid and situated west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named Nieuwe Park (English: New Park), but later renamed Vondelpark, after the 17th-century playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. The park has around 10 million visitors annually. Within the park is an open-air theatre, a playground and several food service facilities.In 1864 a group of citizens led by Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen established the Vereeniging tot Aanleg van een Rij- en Wandelpark (English: Association for the Construction of a Park for Riding and Walking). They bought several hectares of grass-land and marshes at the rim of the city of Amsterdam, in order to create the new park. They assigned its design to the architect Jan David Zocher, and in 1865 “Het Nieuwe Park” (English: “The New Park”) was opened free for members of the association and with other citizens paying an entrance fee.
Two years after the park opened, in 1867, a statue of writer and playwright Joost van den Vondel by sculptor Louis Royer was placed in the park on a stand designed by architect Pierre Cuypers As a result, people started to call the park “Vondelspark” (English: “Vondel’s Park”).In 1873 a bandstand was built. In the same year, brewer Gerard Adriaan Heineken was denied permission to open a bar in the park, so he built the Bierhuis Vondel (English: “Beer House Vondel”) in a nearby street in what is now Vondelstraat 41.The last part of the park was designed by Louis Paul Zocher, Jan David Zocher’s son, and was realized from 1875 to 1877. The park then arrived at its current size of 47 hectares. The English garden style design of the Zochers has been roughly maintained, although in the late 19th century the elongated park had a stream of water running through it with many paths and bushes alongside it.In 1878 the Pavillon (English: “Pavilion”) was built to replace a wooden chalet built by Louis Paul Zocher. The Pavillon is currently known as the Vondelparkpaviljoen (English: “Vondelpark Pavilion”). The park’s name officially became “Vondelpark” (English: “Vondel Park”) in 1880.Already in the 1880s and 1890s cycling in the park was causing problems. The park management tried to resolve this with restrictive measures against cyclists, such as special bike paths, limited opening hours, and fines for cyclists that were going faster than a horse’s trot. It was only after mediation of the Algemene Nederlandsche Wielrijders-Bond (English: “General Dutch Cyclists Union”), that helped fund the park, that a park guard was installed and cyclists were again permitted to cycle normally.
In 1936, a rose garden was created in the center of the park.One year later in 1937, the Blauwe Theehuis (English: “Blue Tearoom”) was opened. This tearoom is a round modernist building, designed by the architectural office Baanders.In the following years the overall maintenance of the park became too expensive for the Vereniging tot aanleg van een rij- en wandelpark (English: “Association for the creation of a park for riding and strolling”), due to an intensified use, and in 1953 the association donated the park to the city of Amsterdam. The landscape architect Egbert Mos renovated the Vondelpark for the city in the 1950s. The purpose was improve the park for both usage and maintenance. Small bushes were grouped into larger bushes, superfluous paths were removed, and the rose garden was renovated. Also the stream of water in the “trunk” near the northern entrance of the park was removed.In the 1960s children’s playgrounds were created. During the flower power era in the 1960s/1970s the Vondelpark became a symbol of a place where “everything is possible and (almost) everything is allowed”. In the 1980s an open-air theatre was built.The Vondelpark received the status of rijksmonument.