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Amsterdam is a remarkably leafy city. Streets and canals are lined with elm trees whose seed pods drift through the city in May and June. For those in search of more extensive patches of green, however, read on for our pick of Amsterdam’s best parks.
Vondelpark. Amsterdam’s answer to Central Park, this features on numerous tourist itineraries. Popular year-round with joggers and skaters, the park turns into a heaving mass of sunbathing, barbecuing bodies in the summer. It’s a fantastic place to people-watch, but you may want to head to one of our other suggestions for something quieter.
Westerpark. To the west of the center, the aptly named Westerpark is the site of Amsterdam’s former gasworks and many of the historical buildings remain. Just inside the main entrance, the Regulateurshuis, which regulated the gas pressure to the city, is now a branch of the excellent Bakkerswinkel bakery. Other buildings house Het Ketelhuis independent movie theater, the Espressofabriek and a couple of industrial spaces host the monthly NeighbourFood Market.
Frankendael. Among the elegant villas of Watergraafsmeer is Frankendael Park, created in the 17th century as a country estate before the city surrounded it. The park is also the location of two fine restaurants: Merkelbach in the former coach house and De Kas in a greenhouse.
Sarphatipark. In the heart of De Pijp, small Sarphatipark is where local residents go to walk their dogs, feed the ducks or read a book in the shade of a tree. Pick up some picnic supplies from nearby Albert Cuyp Market and join them.
Wertheimpark. Smaller still is Wertheimpark, a sliver of land in the old Jewish Quarter between a canal and the Hortus Botanical Gardens. The main reasons to visit are the cherry blossoms in the spring and the Auschwitz Monument, sheets of shattered mirrors that commemorate the thousands of Dutch Jews who perished in the concentration camp during the Second World War.