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VondelparkTo the south of Overtoom and running parallel to this almost two kilometer long street lies the best known and most frequently used park of Amsterdam, Vondelpark. The area used to be frequented by farmers and market gardeners. The narrow strip between Overtoom and the park was laid out in the final quarter of the nineteenth century, after the Vondelpark had been opened in 1865 under the name ‘Nieuwe Park’. It is a much-loved residential neighborhood with villas and spacious dwellings. A remarkable historic building in the neighborhood is the Vondel church, built by P.J.H. Cuypers (architect of, among other buildings, Central Station and Rijksmuseum) and somewhat further to the west of the church is also the villa that Cuypers built for himself, Vondelstraat 77. Somewhat further and worthy of a visit is the fairly secluded ‘Vondel Riding School’. The building dates from 1882 and is built in Renaissance style.

VondelparkVondelpark is a historic, protected site, was laid out between 1865 and 1877 and contains fountains and canals, tennis courts, a rose garden and long lanes. In the east, on the Leidseplein side the Vondelpark makes a very cultivated beginning and there is here a huge villa that used to house the Amsterdam Domestic Science School and since 1974 the Amsterdam Youth Hostel. Here too is the open-air museum where in the summer months June through August there are free musical and theatre performances. Of the various play areas Melkhuis is the largest. As soon as the sun comes out the Vondelpark is always busy and an ideal spot to be seen, to play football or to lie on the grass with a book. Further west the style of the Vondelpark changes, becoming more rural with cattle sometimes grazing in the lanes and meadows.

To the south of Vondelpark is the villa district ‘Willemspark/Old-South’ that borders the museum neighborhood, the neighborhood New South and in the west river De Schinkel. At the beginning of the twentieth century, with a view to preventing rich Amsterdammmers from leaving the city, a start was made with the construction of this elegant neighborhood with its stately houses, own park and wide streets. The original plan foresaw a formal street pattern, but during construction and particularly on the side of the park lanes and streets with bends appeared that reinforced the park aspect. De Schinkel in the west is a canalized river and main sailing route and is as part of the ‘Staande Mastroute’ the lifor sailing ships between the Zeeland estuary and Ijsselmeer.

This Vondelpark neighborhood continuous to evoke special affection and the square meter prices are substantial. The centrally situated shopping streets, ‘De Cornelis Schuyt’ and Jacob Obrechtstraat where the stylish residents do their daily shopping at vegetable specialist and cheese boutique, radiates a village ambience. A bit further along in the direction of Leidseplein is the well-known PC Hooftstraat and while there are also here many SUVs and convertibles driving about, the shops concentrate more on fashion.

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