Make the Most of Your Visit to Vondelpark in Amsterdam

A heron walking towards a pond in Vondelpark, Amsterdam.

Nick Brundle Photography/Getty Images

Amsterdam's Vondelpark is a public urban park located in the Old South. Opened in 1865 as Nieuwe Park, it was renamed Vondelpark to honor the 17th-century dramatist Joost van den Vondel. 

Beloved by Amsterdam locals and visitors alike, Vondelpark contains a plethora of cafes and restaurants, as well as indoor and outdoor activities, making it enjoyable during any time of the year. 

For those unfamiliar with the park, choosing what to see and do can be overwhelming, so here is a comprehensive visitors' guide to the Vondelpark.

Things to Do

Some of the most popular activities and performances in the park are open to the public, free, or have a nominal fee. 

  • EYE Vondelpark - The park side location of the popular film institute. EYE screens movies from the Netherlands and abroad on a daily basis; showtimes can be found on their website.
  • Vondeltuin - The athletically inclined can rent in-line skates and protective equipment at the Vondeltuin, located in the southernmost terrace in the Vondelpark. After burning off some calories skating, you can also enjoy a casual meal at the rink. 
  • Hollandsche Manege - Equine enthusiasts, don't miss this spin-off of Vienna's celebrated Spanish Riding School, where you can get a peek at the horses and their trainers from the upstairs cafe.
  • Orgelpark - A former church turned classical and jazz concert site, this unique venue should not be missed. See their website for a concert calendar and ticket information.
  • Open Air Theater - Amsterdammers turn out in droves for the free open-air theater performances every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during summertime.

Where to Eat

The Vondelpark has a handful of cafes and terraces, but for more substantial eats, you'll have to head just outside the park's boundaries.

  • Blauwe Theehuis - This Vondelpark classic serves moderately priced meals in a monumental "tea house", but occasionally suffers from its own popularity with too few servers to appease the crowds.
  • Hap-Hmm - Traditional Dutch cuisine at its best, Hap Hmm churns out no-frills dishes at rock-bottom prices.
  • Blauw Amsterdam - Not to be confused with Blauw aan de Wal, Ron Blaauw, or any other popular restaurant with “Bla(a)uw” in its title, Blauw Amsterdam is one of the top Indonesian eateries in town, noted for its rijsttafels meals.
  • Pasta Tricolore - Located on the chic P.C. Hoofdstraat, this Italian espresso bar and trattoria serves decadent sandwiches, antipasti (appetizers), and entrées to eat in or take out.

For Kids

The Vondelpark is a veritable children's paradise, where visitors are rarely far from the nearest sandbox. Here are some special child-oriented attractions in the park:

  • Kinderkookkafé - The Kinderkookkafé has become a phenomenon with its simple but unique premise: children hone their skills in the kitchen (under supervision, of course!) while parents can kick up their heels and relax.
  • Klein Melkhuis - Stop in for a bite at the Groot Melkhuis café. The cafe has a fantastic kid's menu, as well as a fabulous children's park, the Klein Melkhuis, to entertain your little ones.