Sarphatipark in Amsterdam
Named after the Jewish doctor and philanthropist Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866) whose marvelous 19th century monument dominates the park, this small (it stretches for only two blocks) rectangle of green in the middle of trendy De Pijp area, is one of the nicest in Amsterdam.
History of the Sarphatipark
In the 60-ties of the 19th century, Amsterdam chief architect J.G. van Niftrik had ambitious plans for the city development. He subsequently believed, that city centre will move the South West, and that Central Station (at that time not yet constructed) had to be placed just where the Sarphatipark is located today. The whole area around has not been yet urbanized, it was a rather damp space full of windmills and small country estates. When these grand plans failed, the same architect drafted first plans for the future park, in a free English landscape park style. Its name was to be Prins Hendrikpark. In 1870, because of the signature collection among the inhabitants of Amsterdam, the park was named the late Dr. Sarphati.
As the houses were built around the park, so grew the opposition against it. Much lower than the rest of the neighborhood, the park has been accused of destroying a flow of ground waters in the area by pumping the water to its lake, and subsequently causing construction faults of the houses around, and even worse - to be a source of malaria. However, the park survived, a special pomp to regulate the level of the ground waters was built, parts of the park were raised higher (in 1908), and since then, the Sarphatipark served well its neighborhood.
During the World II, the bust of S.Sarphati was removed from the monument, because of the doctor’s non-Aryan origins, and the park has been renamed after the Dutch philosopher Gerardus Bolland (1854-1922), who suitably was under the influence of the German philosopher Hegel, and seemed to the Nazis racially more appropriate. Only 12 days Amsterdam has been liberated, on May 18, 1945, these changes were overturned.
In 1972, some corrections were done to the park, and in 2004, during the major renovation, the park has been rearranged, its lake got better water, two of its three small bridges were remade, modern gym and playground installations created.
The feel - Sarphatipark today
While it may feel empty in some of its parts, because of the loss of big trees through the severe winters and diseases, it is still one of nicest parks in town. Many people come here with their dogs, but the public is friendly, atmosphere relaxed and the park very clean. The monument of Dr. Sarphati (from 1886, designed by J.R.Kruyff) is an attraction on its own – it symbolizes the 19th century in the Netherlands. If you are in the area - see it.
How to get there
By foot: 20 minutes walk from the Rijksmuseum.
By tram: lines 3 and 25; exit on a stop Tweede van der Helstraat.
Two star hotel located just across the street from the park, this budget hotel offers well furnished rooms, with decent beds, telephone, shower and toilet, TV.