Sunday, April 12, 2009

The People's Garden

Happy Easter everyone! It's kind of a hazy cool day here, but no precip so far. I thought this would be a good day to show you some pics I snapped a few sunny days ago at one of my favorite corners of Amsterdam, the People's Garden near the Westergasfabriek.

Go along the tracks west from Centraal Station and you'll soon encounter the sprawling culture complex in far west Amsterdam called the Westergasfabriek. It's a sun grabber magnet, full of people enjoying the open spaces and many cafes that do a brisk business on the grounds of this interesting bit of urban renewal.

This entry is not about the Fabriek, but about the less-touted collection of little faerie-like garden houses at the far corner of the Westergasfabriek, called the Volkstuinpark Sloterdijkermeer, which roughly translates as the People's Garden Park of Sloterdijkermeer.

Personal open space is a rarity in Amsterdam, as most people live in flats above the ground. Parks abound and people use them freely, but there is nothing like quite having your own little plot of dirt to putter around in and grow some flowers and vegetables, and these little People's Gardens are extremely popular.

This particular garden park must be the Beverly Hills of these little neighborhoods, because there is room for a an entire, albeit tiny, house, along with an even tinier matching mini garden house and maybe room for a tiny pond or stream. Cars and motorbikes are prohibited in the area. It's a perfect warm-weather retreat. Amsterdammers wait up to ten years to get one of these places, which are only open from March through October.

This entrance way is foreboding, but I just blundered on in there, figuring I'd play dumb if anyone tried to shoo me out. I'm so glad I went, because there is probably no better time to grab a shot of these houses, as some of the owners still weren't back and the foliage has not obscured them. They are just perfect for two people, so darn cosy. I want to get on the list!!!

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