Westerpark – The Best of the West – A Homage to Amsterdam’s Westerpark

Originating at the close of the 19th

century as a petite oasis for Amsterdam’s working classes, the current

Westerpark encompasses a generous 35 acres, stretching west of the capital’s

central core to Sloterdijk Station. Beautifully restored from the ashes of a

dismantled gasworks, the Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek, as it is locally known,

showcases the renowned brilliance of Dutch design and provides a unique

environment for a memorable Amsterdam encounter.

Being a

country girl at heart, living in the city occasionally leaves me disgruntled, awakening

a deep seated longing to escape the crowds and congestion and plunge head first

into a remote wilderness of woodland, rivers and meadows. Granted, Amsterdam is

a mere village in comparison to most capital cities and does indeed possess a

breathtaking beauty that constantly humbles me, yet I still crave a green, open

alternative to the quintessential canals, bridges and striking architectural

monuments. Luckily, I have the Westerpark, a recently regenerated land space

that instantly satisfies my needs and makes the perfect setting for tourists desiring

an organic Dutch treat to treasure.


overshadowed by its gregarious brother, the Vondelpark, the city’s western

substitute boasts an engaging authenticity, a welcoming peacefulness and a

masterful blend of scenery and culture, which has propelled its status into one

of Amsterdam’s most rewarding attractions. Whether you are seeking a

picturesque locale for a leisurely stroll, a cosy cafe for afternoon tea or a sociable

evening of drinks and dancing, the Westerpark always delivers.


explored this enigmatic sanctuary on countless occasions on foot and by

bicycle, the thing that truly endears me to my neighbourhood park is its

ability to constantly surprise, not just with a superb series of diverse events

ranging from food markets to fun fairs to pulsating dance parties, but also

with its secreted trails and inconspicuous features, such as the seemingly

morbid yet incredibly pretty cemetery that I discovered just the other day. A

thorough investigation of all four corners is certainly recommended for fully

appreciating this unchartered Amsterdam gem.

Most visitors

to the city will enter the park through the gates opposite Haarlemmerstraat, where

a central lake awaits surrounded by benches and verdant lawns, particularly

popular in the summer months with local residents enjoying barbeques and

picnics beneath the sunshine. As you venture further into the park, an

uncovered dog training school delights onlookers to the right, followed by

tennis courts and public toilets, which marks the beginning of a vast open

space dissected through the middle by a pictorial waterway.


remarkable structures that begin to materialise as you delve further pay homage

to the Westerpark’s industrial past, meticulously renovated and creating an

arresting aesthetic in contrast with the natural environs. The buildings are

occupied by a variety of private and public organisations and include the

highly regarded Bakkerswinkel, a treasured cafe adored for its delectable and

fresh produce, the exceptional design restaurant Proef, the charming coffee

house Espresso Fabriek, and many more. Nightlife fans should also check out

Pacific Park, one of the city’s few clubs that offer free entrance, which

grants patrons a distinctive setting, a hospitable ambience and an eclectic

musical repertoire. Another beloved institution certainly worthy of a visit is

Het Ketelhuis, an immensely unique cinema that hosts a wonderful cafe and

primarily Dutch independent films, with a few English titles thrown in for good


As you explore deeper, the park adopts a more

rural and tranquil edge, abundant with wildlife and frequented mostly by dog

walkers and joggers, although the amiable petting farm does attract several

local families. The resident “volkstuinen” or community gardens are also an enticing

magnet for tourists fortunate enough to discover them, comprising of a

collection of beautifully manicured summer houses and gardens. With its

incessant array of recreational, cultural and natural assets, the Westerpark effortlessly

established itself as my favourite Amsterdam haunt, a rejuvenating refuge that I

am more than happy to promote and recommend to guests of this enchanting city.