The cherry blossom in Amsterdam often gets overlooked for tulipmania which hits Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands at roughly the same time. But while the tulips in Amsterdam last quite a while (late March, most of April and sometimes May) cherry blossom is much more of a blink (for a week or two) and you'll miss it. It also doesn't get quite as much press and Amsterdam is certainly not renowned for its abundance of blossom trees -which I think it should be! - so if you are coming to Amsterdam in spring, please do take lots of photos, put them up all over your social media and lets make Amsterdam's cherry blossom something everyone knows about!!!
Finding the best cherry blossom in Amsterdam
Since we moved to Amsterdam nearly six years ago (I KNOW!!!) I've been meaning to head out and about and find the best places for blossom in Amsterdam and likewise I've long wanted to get decent photos of the cherry blossom in the city but never quite get myself organised in time. I have some good excuses what with adding two young children to the mix over the last four years, but somehow even with a four-month-old baby this year was finally the year I got myself together and found arguably the best cherry blossom in Amsterdam at the special Kersenbloesempark (Cherry Blossom Park) in Amsterdamse Bos. But more on that in a mo...
Read on for more photos of this visit, plus some tips and advice for the the best time and the best places to find cherry blossom in Amsterdam. And also just take a moment to look at these amazing photos of cherry blossom Amsterdam style! Oh, and of course other trees have beautiful blossom flowers too, and magnolia blossom - let's not forget that treat!
Tips for finding cherry blossom in Amsterdam
I'll give you more detailed advice about when and where you can find cherry blossom in Amsterdam, but for now here are a few great tips to know so that you can make the most of any trip in or across town to see the cherry blossom in Amsterdam.
* Check the weather before you go! March and April are somewhat unpredictable weather-wise. March can have the coldest winter days and April can bring you all four seasons in one day. Be sure to keep a close eye on the forecast and get familiar with buienradar website which shows you when and where rain is forecast in the coming 24 hours. We never leave the house without checking it!
* Wrap up warm! Again because the weather can change and because there can be a lot more wind on the canals and in open spaces than down Amsterdam's narrow streets you should have layers on.
* Go to the most popular places early! Thanks to Instagram and bloggers like me, seeing and more importantly posing with/photographing the cherry blossom in Amsterdam is a very popular thing to do, so if you want to have fewer people in your photos and you want to have more space to admire it in peace, definitely set your alarm early if you are heading to Kersenbloesempark or Westerpark on a sunny, clear day.
* Prepare for a little unpredictability. Also on the topic of weather, if you are heading to Amsterdam in spring to admire the blossom especially, be mindful that the dates it is at its best will really vary depending on what kind of winter it has been (and also the summer before). Unfortunately if the weather has been windy in the run-up to your visit this may also have shaken the blossom off the trees earlier than is usual. Just keen an open mind and also have some back-up plans to go find tulips or enjoy other springtime things to do in Amsterdam.
When you can find cherry blossom in Amsterdam
This year I was very quick to make a note of when the first blossom came out on the trees nearest to us and believe it or not I saw some on some trees along a canal in late January. However, if you want to come to Amsterdam to see the spring blossom, do not come then! This was the exception to the rule as it then transpired most of the trees on the same canal and in the parks listed below didn't start to show blossom until late February and March. And the best time of all in general has been mid-March to early-April.
The most famous place to find cherry blossom in Amsterdam, Kersenbloesempark, as listed below, had its peak time in the first week of April this year (2019). It was the same story for all the cherry blossom trees in Westerpark, and others scattered around the city's parks and streets, so I would say if you book flights to come to Amsterdam for then or the week before or after that, you would almost certainly find plenty of cherry blossom in Amsterdam.
Until this year there was a regular cherry blossom festival in Kersenbloesempark but it wasn't held this year (2019) for some reason so I'm not sure if it will come back. If it does you can almost certainly put money on those dates being the best dates for visiting Amsterdam at peak cherry blossom season!
Where you can find cherry blossom in Amsterdam
The reason I didn't write this post for so long is because you can pretty much stumble upon blossom trees in Amsterdam everywhere. Once winter starts to fade it feels like everywhere in Amsterdam has spring flowers popping up out of the soil and a cherry blossom tree or two bursting into life.
There are also many magnolia trees in Amsterdam in parks and neighbourhoods though they are mostly all in private gardens so aren't quite so easily accessible. But you can still photograph them and fill your nostrils with their heady scent. One thing I will say for the magnolia blossom in Amsterdam is that they definitely shed their petals much quicker than the cherry blossom so be quick to catch them.
Cherry blossom in Kersenbloesempark
So yes, the very best place to find cherry blossom in Amsterdam is in the Kersenbloesempark in Amsterdamse Bos, aka Amsterdam Woods. Some would argue that this is actually more Amstelveen than Amsterdam, and they're right, but because they're considered part of the woods and because Amstelveen is a town that Amsterdam sort of spills into, let's just call it Amsterdam for the sake of this post, right?
Planted in 2000, the Kersenbloesempark is a collection of 400 cherry blossom sakura trees, gifted to Amsterdam from Japan. They were a gift from Japanese Women’s Club apparently each tree has its own name and half are Dutch, half are Japanese. You can read more about the Kersenbloesempark's history here.
The Kersenbloesempark is fairly easy to get to by public transport if you find a bus that goes to get to Amstelveen (the 347/348 leaves from Museumplein) but it does take around an hour to do the bus journey plus a 20-30 minute walk. It can be done a little quicker by bike (depending on where you are staying in Amsterdam) but if you do go by bike be prepared for it to be quite a long and bottom-aching bike ride. I took my 3-year-old early one Sunday morning (we set off at 9am and arrived around 9.45am where we definitely weren't the first by a long shot) and it was much harder work than I expected. Next time I will make my way to Amstelveen and walk there, and then enjoy a nice little stroll around Amstelveen itself which is quite pretty and makes you feel like you're a long way out of Amsterdam. You could also explore the rest of Amsterdamse Bos, which has lots of other trees with blossom, and spring flowers growing in the wild and in man-made beds.
The majority of the photos in this post are of the blossom in Kersenbloesempark so that should give you a good idea of what you can expect there, but you can also check out more photos from our Kersenbloesempark trip here.
Cherry Blossom in Westerpark
On the same day I took my son to Kersenbloesempark for the cherry blossom I happened to go on Instagram (to smugly share my cherry blossom photos of course!) and I saw more than a few of my Amsterdam friends had found cherry blossom themselves but this time in Westerpark.
The cherry blossom trees in Westerpark can be found lining the length of the long splash pool that will almost certainly be empty as it's not quite warm enough for kids to go paddling. Pitch up early to not only take your photos but to also claim one of the picnic tables for a lovely spring day.
Cherry blossom in Museumplein (Museum Square)
The above two are arguably the most popular and well-known places to find cherry blossom in Amsterdam, and now we have a small number of smaller or less famous places to find sakura in Amsterdam. The first of these is Museumplein, where you'll almost certainly end up if you want to go to either the Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum (and if you do head to either of these museum, please buy tickets online or risk a long wait in a long queue). Just next to the Van Gogh Museum is a small cluster of cherry blossom trees that are at their best in late March. You can have a picnic underneath them or just sit on a nerby bench and admire them.
You should also have a little wander around the free Rijksmuseum garden as there are a few trees in there that will be blossoming too. It's also just a lovely place to walk around as it combines art with greenery and flowers, oh and a giant chessboard!
Cherry blossom in De Pijp
I lived in De Pijp for over five years so I got to know the best places for cherry blossom there very well. If you're heading to De Pijp for a wonder around (and you definitely should - check out my De Pijp guide) then you can easily take in a few of these great places for cherry blossom. Firstly, seek out Jozef Israelkade which is lined with a variety of cherry blossom trees and then head into the residential area between there and Ceintuurbaan. Seek out Hendrick de Keijserplein (a big playground and outdoor sports park) and you will not be disappointed. You should look out for the tree that has both bright pink and white blossom.
Also if you want to have a drink under a sakura blossom tree head to the ground floor bar and restaurant of Hotel Okura. Unsurprisingly this Japanese hotel chain has two huge and beautiful cherry blossom trees outside providing the most beautiful shelter for anyone wanting a drink by the canal (where yes, there are more blossom trees lined up).
Cherry blossom in Hortus Botanicus
It will come as no surprise that Amsterdam's botanical gardens are home to a number of magnolia trees and others boasting beautiful blossoms. Look down to also see lots of spring flowers and if you time it all wrong and are disappointed on all the above fronts then you can still admire lots of amazing tropical plants, flowers, and cacti from around the world in their beautiful ornate greenhouses. (This is also my top tip for a cold day if that unpredictable spring Amsterdam weather lets you do!). And before you go, have a little wander around the canals of this area of Amsterdam, called Hermitage after the museum that is there, which also has a nice courtyard garden you can poke your head in to see if there's any blossom on the trees there.
Cherry blossom in and around Artis Zoo
While you may want to head to the Royal Artis Zoo (and I recommend you do, especially if you have children with you) for the animals you will get the unexpected bonus of spring flowers and blossom trees everywhere. If you're not fussed about animals, don't like zoos or don't want to pay the entry fee, you can walk around the external walls of Artis and will still find some blossom trees, especially if you head towards Entrepotdok an area hardly ever frequented by tourists so it should make for a nice quiet stroll too.
Buy your tickets for Artis Zoo online here to avoid the queues (which there almost always are, especially at weekends).
Cherry blossom in Amsterdam's other parks
While the best park for cherry blossom trees in Amsterdam is arguably Westerpark, most of Amsterdam's other parks have a number of them too. Vondelpark and Amstelpark are the larger parks so you may need to wander around or cycle a bit to find some, but smaller parks like Sarphatipark, Erasmuspark, Rembrantplein, Park Frankendael and Oosterpark will have some blossom trees.
Cherry blossom in Oud Zuid
Considered the most upmarket area of Amsterdam it makes sense that these leafy streets and private front gardens would boast a cherry blossom or magnolia tree or two.
Cherry blossom in Oud West
If you find yourself hunting for blossom trees in Amsterdam's Vondelpark, stretch your legs a little further into the so-called Helmerbuurt to the west of the park and you'll find many more blossom trees and other spring flowers too. This would make for a great walk on your way to De Foodhallen.
Cherry blossom in Oost
As well as Oosterpark and Park Frankendael, if you find yourself staying or heading out to the eastern side of Amsterdam, or Amsterdam Oost, then make a note of Marriotteplein, again a playground in a residential area that is surrounded by cherry blossom trees. And also think about heading out to Java Eiland where there is a lovely little park called Kratontuin which is surrounded by an almost circle of blossom trees.
So they are the best places to find blossom in Amsterdam, and I'll update this list as and when I find other places that are positively blooming with colour in spring.
If you're definitely planning on being in Amsterdam in spring, here are some posts you should bookmark to help you plan your trip:
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Frances M. Thompson
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