Open Garden Days

Amsterdam canal houses face the street and have no front gardens. But did you know that secluded gardens lie hidden behind these houses? Many of these are not open to the public, however, during Open Garden Days in June, visitors are allowed in to have a peek.

Garden of Museum Willet-Holtuysen in Amsterdam

Canal House Gardens

Canal house gardens are surprisingly large and always at the back of the houses. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they were mainly decorative gardens and meant to be looked at not to sit in or to work in. Gardeners kept them in shape so that the lady of the house could enjoy the view of her garden through the windows.

Winter Gardens

The flowers, plants and trees had to look their best in the winter months because this was the time of year that the owners lived in their town houses. The rest of the year they enjoyed life in their countryside manor. Today most canal house gardens have maintained their seventeenth-century lay-out, but these days they look good both in winter and summer.


Hidden Gardens

These canal house gardens are so large that they can easily accommodate a coach house at the back. The gardens create a vast green space inside each block of houses, enclosed on four sides and invisible from the street. Many of the big trees in the gardens are hundreds of years old and listed as heritage monuments, meaning they cannot be chopped down.


Open Garden Days

This is your opportunity to visit some 30 Amsterdam canal house gardens that are usually not open to the public. Open Garden Days is a three-day festival held each June.