The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
It is located in the stadsdeel Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named the 'Nieuwe Park', but later renamed to 'Vondelpark, after the 17th century author Joost van den Vondel.
Yearly, the park has around 10 million visitors. In the park is an open air theatre, a playground and several horeca facilities. In 1864 a group of citizens led by Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen established the Vereeniging tot Aanleg van een Rij- en Wandelpark (English: Association for the Construction of a Park for Riding and Strolling). They bought several hectares of grass-land and marshes at the rim of the city of Amsterdam, in order to create the new park. They assigned the architect Jan David Zocher to design it, and in 1865 Het Nieuwe Park (English: The New Park) was opened for members of the association and in exchange for a fee also for other citizens.
Two years after the park opened, in 1867, a statue of writer and playwright Joost van den Vondel was placed in the park. Sculptor Louis Royer created the sculpture and the architect Pierre Cuypers designed the stand. As a result people started to call the park Vondelspark.
In the same year, brewer Gerard Adriaan Heineken was denied to open a bar in the park, so he built the Bierhuis Vondel (English: Beer House Vondel) in the street next to the park, what is now Vondelstraat 41. The last part of the park was designed by Louis Paul Zocher, Jan David Zocher's son, and was realized from 1875 to 1877. The park now became its current size of 47 hectares. Also the English garden style design of the Zochers has been roughly maintained up to now, although in the late 19th century the elongated park had a stream of water from the beginning to the end and contained many small paths and small bushes. In 1878 the Pavillon was built as a replacement of a wooden chalet built by Louis Paul Zocher. The Pavillon is currently known as the Vondelparkpaviljoen. The park's name was officially changed into Vondelpark in 1880.
Small bushes were grouped into larger bushes, superfluous paths were removed, and the rose garden was renovated. Also the stream of water in the "trunk" near the northern entrance of the park was removed. In the 1960s children's playgrounds were created. During the flower power era in the 1960s/1970s the Vondelpark became a symbol of a place where "everything is possible and (almost) everything is allowed". In the 1980s an open air theatre was built and in 1996 the park received the status of rijksmonument.
The grass is used as sports field and the paths as bike paths. This caused the city to start a new renovation that takes place from 1999 to 2010. Every Friday there is the Fridaynightskate that starts in front of the former Filmmuseum. Yearly events include the golf tournament Vondelpark Open and the running contest Vondelparkloop. The Queen's Day celebrations on 30 April in the Vondelpark focus specifically on children. There is also a "freemarket" (Dutch: vrijmarkt) and there are games and other activities for children. From June until August there are music and dance performances in the open air theatre.