A couple of days ago the weather was so nice that I decided to take a walk in a park created on a plot of land that surrounded a former estate called Frankendael.
This estate was formerly owned by notable people who used to live on one of the canals and wanted to escape town during the summer season when it became to warm and smelly in the centre of town. It was created in mid-seventeenth century and now this is the last estate in Amsterdam. There used to be a number of similar places in this part of Amsterdam, called the ‘Watergraafsmeer’, but they have all vanished.
In 1628 and 1629 a lake called Diemermeer was drained and the new polder got different names with Watergraafsmeer being the one that remained until our times.
There were several reasons to gain land: more safety, more food and land to invest in for the local well-to-do people. The place was owned by several families but in 1882 the local government of Amsterdam bought the estate and its surrounding park. They immediately started with a tree nursery for all of the parks in Amsterdam. A school was founded as well but it was destroyed a couple of years later in a big fire. Between 1894 and 1958 the managers of the tree nursery lived in the villa Frankendael. In 1958 a city architect called Merkelbach moved in ( this is the name of the café that you can find inside the villa right now). In the mid-nineties this whole piece of land became a public park. A park with a great number of different functions. A park where people can meet but as well a place that has the function of ‘green lung’ for Amsterdam.
You can start with a drink in a café which is located in Frankendael and if the weather is nice you can sit outside in the garden. The garden and small park of Frankendael used to be a part of the estate. Outside you can see a number of statues and very old trees.
After you had a drink you can decide for a stroll through the park of Frankendael. Many tortuous lanes will lead you to delicate viewpoints and you can see all kinds of plants and trees in detail if you take it easy.
Outside of this small park you will find lawns that are very popular with schoolclasses to use as a place for sporting activities. But you will also see a school garden, a stork nest high up on top of an old chimney and a wonderful lane sided by linden. You can look if you can find a ruin ( a folly , i.e. a small building in a garden to suit a fancyful taste) or just simply have a picknick!
Amsterdam, the 28th of May 2019.
– different websites: