The Forest of Amsterdam (Het Amsterdamse Bos) is visited by more than 6 million people every year. That's particularly high when you consider that the Netherlands has only 17 million inhabitants. You would think that the high number of visitors is mainly due to tourists, but that is not the case. A lot of visitors come from Amsterdam or surrounding villages.
The forest is located in the south of Amsterdam and is easily accessible by public transport and car. You can even park there for free. Something very special in busy Amsterdam. Yet many people also come by bike. From the center of Amsterdam it's only 20 minutes by bike.
The 1930s were times of crisis in the Netherlands. Cities were plagued with great unemployment and unrest. The then mayor of Amsterdam, Colijn, therefore wanted to set up employment projects in collaboration with the government.
One of those projects was to transform the 'useless' swamp in the south of Amsterdam into a forest. Partly paid for by the government, this enabled many local residents of Amsterdam to be provided with work.
In 1934 the job creation project began and in 1970 the last of the more than 200,000 trees were planted. Meanwhile, the forest is more than 2500 acres in size. That is three times the size of Central Park in New York.
What can you do in the Amsterdamse Bos?
One of the biggest attractions is the 1.37 mile long rowing track called the Bosbaan. Competitions are held here on a regular basis.
The Amsterdamse Bos has more than 125 miles of paved and unpaved roads that are used for walking, running, cycling or horseback riding.
These roads lead along large open lawns where in summer groups of people do a workout, play a game of soccer or have a drink.
There are three swimming pools for children and hidden between the trees there is the Amsterdamse Bos Theater where in the summer there are regular free and paid performances.
At the main entrance of the Amsterdamse Bos, a large climbing park has been built. Young and old can climb through the trees here and swing from one tree to the other.
For those who love canoeing, there is 8.7 miles of water and canoes can be rented during summertime.
Many photographers try out their techniques in the Amsterdam forest. The changing seasons give the landscape a new dimension every time. Many photographers are also fascinated by the 116 different bridges, many of which are built-in old Dutch style.
Dogs are allowed to walk freely almost everywhere and it is, therefore, a playground for every dog. For animal lovers, there is plenty to see and do. Since 1994 even Scottish Highlanders graze freely in nature. Dogs are not allowed in this area.
Eating and drinking in the Amsterdamse Bos
At the end of the Bosbaan lies Boerderij Meerzicht. This authentic farmhouse is specialized in old Dutch pancakes which are especially loved by children. But they also have other dishes. They also have an outdoor playground for children and a watchtower over the meadow around the Amsterdamse Bos.
At the beginning of the Bosbaan is Grand Café de Bosbaan. With a view over the rowing course, you can eat or drink something inside or outside.
Here and there are small houses where you can buy a drink, an ice cream, a hot dog or a sandwich. Many locals take their own food and drinks to the forest because the small shops are not very cheap.
Barbecuing in the Amsterdamse Bos is allowed as long as it doesn't bother other visitors. In practice, this means that especially in the summer you can see people everywhere having a barbecue.
More information about the Amsterdamse Bos
For more information about the Amsterdamse Bos, please contact a local resident via a live video call. The first minute is free and after that, you pay per minute. This way you get the best tips and background information.