The Amsterdamse Bos literally translates into “The Woods of Amsterdam.” Although it’s not really an untouched area of woodlands anymore, the Amsterdamse Bos is still a cool area to explore. You see, the tiny Netherlands are so densely populated that we are forced to call this a forest (just kidding). It would be more appropriate to call the Amsterdamse Bos a park, in which case it would beat Central Park in its size…3 times!
Visiting the Amsterdamse Bos in Winter
Back in February, on a cold winter day, I cycled to the Amsterdamse Bos. The park is situated in both Amsterdam and Amstelveen, so I got there relatively quickly. I then parked my bike and walked around the area for several hours. It was very refreshing to spend some time outside in the crisp winter air. It had been freezing cold the night before, so there were still thin sheets of ice on the lakes and ponds. Despite the cold temperature, the park was still alive and well. It was great to see how miniature plant life and interesting types of fungus were thriving on the fallen trees and forest floor.
The Animals of the Amsterdamse Bos
After walking around for a long time, I finally reached the infamous Schotse Hooglanders (Red Highland Cows). You are not supposed to get closer than 7 metres, but that doesn’t mean you have to be scared. These creatures were really friendly. It seemed like they could not have cared any less! The first cow had an especially fabulous curly fringe, which blocked its eyesight. Maybe that’s why they didn’t even notice me.
The Amsterdamse Bos in World War II
The idea to create the Amsterdamse Bos was motivated by a lack green areas around the city of Amsterdam. Construction of the park and the planting of trees started in 1934. However, this was also a financially and politically challenging time in Dutch history. Many citizens had lost their jobs and the construction of the park became a kind of employment project. During the Second World War, this employment project transformed into a more sinister enterprise. Jewish men from Amsterdam brought to camps near the Amsterdamse Bos and were forced to work in the park. Many of them were eventually deported. Nowadays, you can find a monument (the Dachaumonument) near the original site of the camp.
Later in the afternoon, it started to get darker and I decided to head back to my bike. When I reached the entrance of the Amsterdamse Bos again, it was nice to see a few rowers training for upcoming competitions in the water. It made me happy that spring was about to come back around.
The Best Time to Visit the Amsterdamse Bos
I would say the Amsterdamse Bos is worth a visit. Summer is definitely the best time to visit the park, since there will be lots of festival and events. There are also multiple (natural and artificial) pools, so it’s also a wonderful place to take a quick dip. Spring is also a great time to visit, since there will be lots of colourful flowers popping up from the forest floor. Of course, this doesn’t mean the park isn’t a great place to go on a refreshing walk during the winter season. If you’re looking for a little bit of a breather from city life, hop on your bike and cycle to the Amsterdamse Bos!