The Parks of Amsterdam – Westerpark
As a retiree, I spend a lot of my time in parks. In New York City, where I live, I tend to alternate between four different parks, depending on my mood. My favorite is Tompkins Square Park, a quiet neighborhood park in the East Village with a low key, punky, edgy undercurrent. My next favorite is Washington Square Park, for people watching, the circus-like atmosphere, and the eateries in the area. Bryant Park is third, when I want to sit at a table and have lunch, and then maybe go to the library or MoMA, both of which are a short walk away. Madison Square Park is number four, where I go mainly for the proximity; it’s quiet and pretty, and is only a few blocks from my apartment.
I have my favorite parks in Amsterdam as well. There are a few parks there, however, that I had never visited. With the entire month of August at my disposal, I decided to remedy that situation. But let’s start with my old standby: Westerpark.
This park is really for everyone. Families with kids.
College students reading.
And couples just chilling.
This park is up by the northern part of the centrum, west of the big shopping street Harlemmerstraat. The park itself is small, but it’s nicely landscaped, pretty quiet, and has a lovely pond with a variety of waterfowl prowling nearby.
I have a favorite bench where I like to sit and read, and still get to see ducks and geese in and around the pond.
The Westergasfabriek is also in the park, and there are lots of cute shops and stores there, including Tony’s Chocolonely, the chocolate shop. In that shop, they used to have trays with sample pieces of chocolate that were HUGE, but since the pandemic, they don’t leave samples out for people to paw. You have to ask for a sample, and the pieces they give out now are kinda small. It’s a bummer. There’s also a nice restaurant there called Het Kantoor (“The Office”) that serves nice lunches and drinks. I biked through Westerpark five or six times on my August 2021 trip. It was landscaped nicely, and the flowers were super colorful. I didn’t have my macro lens, but my iPhone took pretty good close-up photos of the bees.
There are bigger parks and prettier parks, but I always come back to this one. There’s a quiet charm about the place that keeps reeling me in.