The Tree that Saw Everything

Have you seen enough leafy canals, humpback bridges and ornate canal houses? A visit to Amsterdam south-east will show you a different Amsterdam. This part of Amsterdam is also referred to as Amsterdam-Bijlmer. It stretches from spectacular architecture at ArenA via green residential areas to the original high-rise housing estates built in the 1970s.

High-rise housing estates in Amsterdam South-East

What to do in Amsterdam South-East

True to say, there is not a lot to see in Amsterdam-South-East. If you want to indulge in Surinam roti, Antillean cactus soup or Turkish kebab, take the metro to Bijlmer station. Here you will find the ArenA football stadium, the Heinekens Music Hall and the headquarters of many multinationals. Arena Shopping Boulevard is worth checking out. Visit Media Markt if electronics are your passion.

The Tree that Saw Everything

But this is also the area where in 1992 a Boeing 747 crashed – killing 43 people officially and a countless number of illegal and not registered people. After lengthy investigations, it was never found out why the El Al Cargo plane crashed and what was on board. Stop for a moment at De Boom Die Alles Zag – the tree that saw everything. This monument commemorates those who died in the crash and at the same time it honours Amsterdam’s new immigrants. The memorial consists of a tree and a simple wall inscribed with moving poetry and forty-three names.

photo credit Marianne Crone

A wall inscribed with forty-three names

How to get there

The Tree That Saw Everything is in an open area between a clutch of high-rise apartment buildings between Gooioord, Kruidberg and Groeneveen. The nearest Metro station is Kraaiennest. Alternatively you can go to Amsterdam-Bijlmer station. The memorial is a fifteen-minute walk away.