Amsterdamse Bos – A glorious forest of wonderland
A glorious oasis of lush forest and grassy meadows awaits those who seek to wander the outer edge of Amsterdam city – a wonderland where giant roots hug the earth, creatures who dwell amongst the sweet sounds of moving water and birdsong. With the silence and singing working together, paths criss-cross, bringing the greens of every hue alive in the midst of the towering gentle giants. Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) feels like home away from home, an easy day trip and respite from the crowded streets and coffee-shops of the freedom city centre.
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Amsterdamse Bos | Amsterdam Forest
Amsterdamse Bos (in Dutch) is one of Europe’s largest urban parks and Amsterdam’s largest park and recreational area located on the outer edge of the Dutch capital.
The area was developed in the 1930s by way of providing employment to the residents. The large green belt retreat was created which could be easily accessed by Amsterdammers. This man-made wonderland sits on a specially created polder of 4 metres (13 feet) below sea level. Amsterdamse Bos is massive! It is three-times the size of Central Park in New York and is a thousand hectares of countryside. Each forest area has its own character and natural inhabitants.
Where is Amsterdamse Bos?
Nestled between Amsterdam and Amstelveen, with most of the park in Amstelveen in the south-west of Amsterdam city but the forest is owned by the City of Amsterdam. This outstanding forest has been designed to English landscape park, giving its visitors a wide perspective of views.
Exploring Amsterdamse Bos will typically involve a day of what is more than plenty to discover in this vast urban park by all types of nature lovers. From waterways, woodlands and farm animals to cycling and kayaking, Amsterdamse Bos is the place to getaway to when on a city break to Amsterdam.
Things to do at Amsterdamse Bos | Amsterdam Forest
Home to lakes, meadows, woods, criss-crossed with well marked cycling and walking paths, there are so many activities on offer at Amsterdamse Bos.
You could feed baby goats and/or take horse-riding lessons. This wonderland of a forest goes even further – hire a boat or a kayak to explore the rural waterways or have fun climbing to the treetops in the climbing park. For a refuel, you are never too far away from cafes and little eateries dotted around. When you need a break from all the activities, take a moment to watch the day’s play at the open-air theatre.
Whatever you choose to do, here are 10 ideas on how to spend your day at this green paradise for timeless memories.
1 | Forest bathing
Disengage with the hustle and bustle of the city and simply be in nature. Be calm and quiet amongst the trees, taking in the forest atmosphere. Connect with your senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Immerse in the sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the fresh , clean air and the sunlight playing through the canopy of leaves. This simple process of relaxation, of being immersive with nature whilst breathing in deeply eases our minds, stress and worry. It gives us comfort, helps us to relax and think more clearly, whilst boosting our health and wellbeing in a natural way.
Forest bathing is not a simple walk in the woods but involve conscious and contemplative practice of being in nature.
Forest bathing or ‘forest therapy’ was developed in Japan in the 1980s. Known as shinrin yoku, where “shinrin” means “forest” and “yoku” means “bath” – shinrin yoku means bathing in the forest with all of our senses, taking in the atmosphere, restoring our moods and giving us back our vitality.
2 | Forest walk in Amsterdamse Bos
The glorious Amsterdam Forest offers plenty of space for relaxing walks and picnics with family and friends. Just breathe-in the fresh air, stroll through the path and enjoy the natural landscape. Spring and summer are great seasons to go on a walk as you get to experience the flora and fauna in abundance.
The fall season is incredible as well with the entire forest changing colour. Falling leaves tumble like large confetti from the interlocking branches above, from vivid scarlet to gold covering the earth. If you are lucky, you might catch sight of mushrooms popping up here and there.
After a magnificent walk, you may want to stop for some pancakes and coffee at Boerderij Meerzicht (Meerzicht Farm).
Meerzicht farm, Koenenkade 56
1081 KG Amsterdam
3 | Cycle trip through Amsterdamse Bos
Cycling trips to Amsterdamse Bos are popular activity. While there are plenty of space for family and groups to enjoy this incredible forest wonderland, Amsterdamse Bos is best explored by bike due to its size. You could hire a bike from the bike rental kiosk situated right across from the entrance to the forest. Alternatively, you could pre-book and collect your bike from any of the collection points in Amsterdam city centre and enjoy the the 20 minutes ride to Amsterdamse Bos.
A special cycle tour of 14 km has been marked through the forest to show you all the beauty of this wonderland in one trip. You can pick this up from the Visitor Centre, De Boswinkel.
4 | Fun in the Forest from above | Amsterdamse Bos Fun Forest Climbing Park
Have fun swinging from tree to tree, or climb a rope ladder for views from above. Try the suspension bridge for a little fun or move from tree to tree through bridges.
The high rope adventure starts from 4 metres to 15 metres. The Climbing Park comes with various levels of difficulty and is suitable for both young and old.
Fun Forest Climbing Park runs activities suitable for children’s birthday parties as well as teambuilding events for adults.
Entrance to the Climbing Park is located opposite to the Visitor Centre, De Boswinkel.
Opening hours: From March to November – Wednesday afternoons from 12.00 am to 6.00 pm and in the weekends and in holidays from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm. During school holidays (May, Summer and Autumn) Fun Forest is open every day.
5 | Look out for ‘Schotse Hooglanders’ – Scottish Highlanders
The Scottish Highlanders were introduced to Amsterdamse Bos to help keep the grass in the meadows short. Look out for signs that says ‘ Schotse Hooglanders’ to find them. Helping them with the task of grazing are also some Exmoor ponies, introduced in 2019.
6 | Kayaking in Amsterdamse Bos
One of the coolest things to do in Amsterdamse Bos is to go kayaking. There are so many waterways, interconnected streams. ponds and lakes where you can explore some of the most beautiful parts of the forest. You could explore alone or as a group of three by renting a kayak. Look out for signs that says ‘‘Kanoverhuur’ where you could rent one.
7 | Feed baby goats and/or take horse riding lessons at Amsterdamse Bos.
A fun activity for children as well as for adults is to feed baby goats at Ridammerhoeve. Explore this biodynamic farm situated at the centre of Amsterdamse Bos and learn more of its living ecosystem and sustainable farming by chatting to their staff while they work. You could also purchase products made on the farm from the shop. Riddammerhoeve is famous for its goat milk ice-cream which you may wish to try when visiting the farm.
8 | Ride the Museumtram to Amsterdamse Bos
Travel back in time and take the Museum Tram from Haarlemmermeer Station all the way to Amsterdamse Bos. The tram stops at the entrance of Amsterdamse Bos if you wish to disembark. However, if you continue a little further along on the tram journey, you will be rewarded with some beautiful sights.
The Museum Tram service runs a route of 7 kilometres, on the last remaining section of the Haarlemmermeer railways via Amsterdamse Bos and several wildlife gardens in Amstelveen.
Route: Haarlemmermeer station to Amstelveen-Bovenkerk
Availability: This popular ride only runs on a Sunday, from Easter Sunday till the end of October.
The service runs every 20 to 30 minutes between 10:00 and 17:00
Costs: Return tickets for adults costs €4 and for children + seniors is €2
9 | Enjoy Magical moments at Amsterdamse Bos Outdoor Theatre
Enjoy a magical evening of special theatrical performances in a stunning atmosphere every evening in July and August. For timeless memories, you could select to have pre-theatre dinner on stage. Performances are subject to weather conditions. Peruse options by navigating to their official website > bostheatre
10 | Unwind at Zuiver | Place to stay at Amsterdam Bos
Immerse in a world of peace and luxury, amidst a beautiful environment to rejuvenate – the ultimate in wellness experience. Select from modern guest rooms to luxurious suites to suit your trip. From 24-hour front desk, you could come and go as you please.
Located at just 450 yards from Amsterdamse Bos.
Other activities at Amsterdamse Bos
There are other activities you could indulge in such as swimming or horse riding. The lakes are said to have clean clear waters and safe for a dip in the summer. There are two riding schools where you could hire the horses on the condition that you are a good rider.
For those who are into adventure and discovery, you could explore Amsterdamse Bos by undertaking a group activity (up to 5 persons) involving a self-guided discovery game to explore Amsterdam’s Forest. You will solve a trail of riddles and unlock the forest’s best-kept secrets while immersing in the tranquility, and serenity of this wonderland.
Practical information when exploring Amsterdamse Bos
Amsterdamse Bos is great for everyone, young and old alike. Kids would thoroughly enjoy their interactions with farm animals.
Amsterdamse Bos Address:
The Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest),
1182 AG AMSTELVEEN
Open All year round
Entrance to Amsterdamse Bos is Free.
Visitor Centre at Amsterdamse Bos
There is a Visitor Centre, ‘De Boswinkel’ for information which is open from Tuesday through to Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00
How to get to Amsterdamse Bos
There are 4 ways to get to Amsterdam Bos:
1 | Historic Museum Tram
Take the historic tram from Haarlemmermeer Station to Amstelveen and disembark at Amsterdamse Bos – see #8 above.
2 | By Bicycle
Amsterdam is a green city and cycling is a way of life for Amsterdammers. There are well laid out cycle lanes on both sides of the road. If you intend to explore Amsterdamse Bos with a two-wheeler, then follow the route to go there via Amstelveenseweg, in the southwest of the city and on the first big crossing in Amstelveen turn right to the park.
3 | By Public Transport – Bus
Amsterdamse Bos is easily accessible by public transport.
From Centraal Station:
Take Bus #21, operated by GVB, journey time is 15 minutes.
You could also take bus #170, #172 or #174.
From RAI Station: Take bus #66 and #199
Peruse your public transportation options before leaving home. Amsterdam has a cashless system in place and it is worthwhile to pre-order the correct tickets for your journeys. Take a look at:
From Amsterdam, drive away from the city, head southwest towards Amstelveenseweg. Exit the ring A10 at S103 and turn left into the Amstelveenseweg. After about 2 miles, Amstelveenseweg enters the municipality of Amstelveen. At the third crossing from A10, turn right to the park. There will be a small blue sign marking the turn. You may park your car on one of the 30 car parks. Parking at Amsterdamse Bos is free.
Things to do around Amsterdam Bos
Things to do are aplenty in and around Amsterdam Bos! A great start is Amsterdam city where you explore beyond the best of the beaten track – use this great guide on the Unmissable 28 best things to do in Amsterdam that has some off-the beaten path destinations. Look-up also places where you can have the best stroopwafels in town – the time-honoured Gouda waffles are indeed a must-try! Plan ahead and book your activities in time so you don’t miss out on best experiences.
Places to stay around Amsterdam Bos
From fully furnished rental apartments to high-end 5-star hotels Amsterdam – you are spoilt for choice! However, these beautiful places may help you in your quest for a place to stay.
On a final note…
Amsterdamse Bos is located close to Amsterdam city and yet not many visitors to the city are aware of its existence, as was I on my first visit. Most visitors stay within the city centre and hardly explore the hidden gems that surrounds the city. It is worth spending a day in this glorious wonderland of man-made natural forest and explore it as unhurried, slow-side of travel.
Sincerely hope that this guide has been valuable in your search for Amsterdamse Bos and travel to Amsterdam generally. If so, use the links embedded in this article to book your travels, place to stay or activities you intend to do. TTS earns a commission from qualified bookings/purchases at no cost to you. As always your support is highly appreciated to keep this blog going. Do get in touch if you have any questions about our trusted partners.
Quick facts on Amsterdam, Netherlands
City: Capital of Netherlands
Mayor: Femke Halsema (since 2018)
Elevation: -2m (-7ft) – Dam Square
Nearest Airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
Train Station: Amsterdam Centraal Station
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Amsterdamse Bos 10 things to do in this glorious forest of wonderland first published at timelesstravelsteps.com