On the third weekend of June each year circa 30 of Amsterdam’s most wealthy house owners throw open their private gardens to the public for the Open Garden Weekend.
All the ‘open gardens’ are situated in the Canal Belt and are 16th and 17th Century canal houses or canal house museums.
Buy your ‘ticket’ (15 euros and all proceeds go to charity) at any of the participating museums – Bijbel Museum, Van Loon House, Geelvinck Hinlopen House and Willet-Holthuysen museum. You will get a description of each garden and a map – then you can just stroll around at your leisure and visit whichever gardens you like.
It is truly fascinating to get a glimpse of hidden Amsterdam and to see what lies behind the beautiful canal house facades. Planting styles vary – romantic, formal, wildly extravagant, architect designed, free thinking…it’s all here. Some gardens are resplendent with ancient plant varieties – many recognisable in the paintings of the Golden Age.
The roses are particularly showy this year due to the rather unusual Spring and early Summer we’ve had. Perfume fills the air and the peacefulness is surprising, behind the towering canalhouses you’re cosseted away from the buzz of the city. This is the realm of the birds, the bees and the occasional, rather lucky house owner…
This is a must visit event for anyone interested in gardens – worth organising your trip around next year.