Amsterdam has LOTS of awesome playgrounds. It’s one of the things that we love about the city. There’s a great little playground right outside our front door and another just one block up. In fact, we are surrounded by playgrounds. We can ride our bikes in any direction and every block or two we’ll find playgrounds. Each one is different but all feature well-maintained equipment. Unlike today’s America, where the lawyers and helicopter parents would never allow such things, there are zip lines, 30 foot slides, spinning teacups, good old monkey bars, and lots of things to climb. Things that challenge kids, and that kids love.
You’ll also find lots of kids making their own fun (often without parents or other adult “guardians” around). Kids who can climb, run, jump, balance, and who know how to play. Kids who’ve developed physical skills, confidence, a sense of ownership of their neighborhood, a place in their community, and independence. Kids who are well on their way to becoming good citizens. They are lucky to be living in a modern city that was built with them in mind.
Few people know it, but all of us who enjoyed good playgrounds when we were growing up have a Dutchman named Aldo van Eyck to thank. He’s the man who built over 700 playgrounds in Amsterdam from 1947-1978 and inspired others here and around the world. You can find out more about Aldo the architect and his work here, here, and here.
Whatever space and time mean,
place and occasion mean more.
-Aldo van Eyck