Exploring Amstelveen: one of the greenest cities in the Netherlands

Amstelveen is one of the greenest municipalities in the region Randstad in the Netherlands. Not far from Amsterdam city and along the river Amstel is a lively city with plenty of options for recreation, museums and culture. It is possible to reach the area by bike following different routes, discovering the several parks, the Amsterdam Forest, the area along the Amstel river and the wide polders. To explore the urban environment, the cultural cycling route takes the visitor on a stunning ride from Cobra Café Museumplein in Amsterdam to Amstelveen to reach the Cobra Museum.

The Cobra Museum of Modern Art is housed in a splendid building designed by the architect Wim Quist and is a dynamic venue that is devoted to an important movement in modern art and draws attention to contemporary art developments. The Cobra Museum focuses on the art and ideas of the Cobra movement, an alternative culture, based on international solidarity and creativity, more relevant than ever in the world lived today.

Not far, still in the city center, there is Stadstuinen Amstelveen, a sleek and modern park with Japanese influences between the high-rise buildings of Stadshart Amstelveen and next to the main shopping mall of Amstelveen. Despite the central location, here it’s possible to relax between the beautiful ponds and lawns. There are some borders featuring perennial plants and shrubs and a large lawn overlooked by blocks of appartments. The highlight of the park is an avenue of Japanese cherry trees usually in bloom in April.

Amstelveen is even famous all over the Netherlands for the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest). The forest, which is three times larger than New York’s Central Park, offers a place to relax, play sports or attend an event. Amstelveen has no less than 15 parks, including six botanical gardens and two botanical gardens are crowned ‘national monument’.

The beautiful community botanical gardens of Amstelveen are famous nationally and internationally. The parks are definitely most impressive in the spring, but they are still worth a visit in other seasons. Hunt for Bog Asphodel, Bog Pimpernel, Leafy Spurge, Water Soldier, Greater Celandine or any of the hundreds of other rare plant species.

The Dr. Jac. P. Thijssepark and De Braak were designed by Chris Broerse. Just before the Second World War, as director of the public garden service, he conceived the plan to turn the old moor lake De Braak into a park. Broerse was a big fan of Dutch plant species and together with Koos Landwehr, the manager of a plant nursery, he developed a plan to use only ‘native’ Dutch plants. Because there was no Dutch name for this kind of park, Broerse invented the term ‘heempark‘, which roughly translates as ‘habitat park’.

A few years after De Braak, Broerse and Landwehr also designed the Dr. Jac. P. Thijssepark. They did not imitate nature but created new landscapes with scenic character. The parks reflect the expertise and beauty of current Dutch landscapes. The Dr. Jac. P. Thijssepark consists of several ‘garden rooms’, each with its own character. De Braak, with its wide views, is much more open. Both parks were granted national monument status in 2011.

Not only wandering in the parks and in the nature, but in Amstelveen is even possible to experience the own picking in a real tulip field at the Pluktuin Amstelveen. Once a rose nursery, but now a beautiful picking garden, since 2000 the owner has been working to give visitors the best flower experience. It is a nursery specializing in cultivating tulips using organic horticultural techniques and free from pesticides, with an impressive more than 300 varieties of flowers available. Visitors can learn how to pick their own bunch of flowers to take home, wander through the tulip fields, sitting with a drink and a snack in the ornamental garden, or participating in one of the flowers workshops.



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