Behind the Scenes

A lot of things happened last year. A comprehensive report on 2021 can be found in our 2021 Annual Report. Suffice to say that despite all of the turbulence caused by COVID-19, we had a good year. It was a year of building, in fact. We built outside, inside, and organisationally.


As for 2022, a lot is going to happen and is currently in the works. An overview of these plans can be found at the back of our 2021 Annual Report. Within this article, we will highlight a couple of special Wester-Amstel developments, our own and those of others.


This year, we want to replace our public signs. This plan may sound simple, but it is far from being so. Over the past two years, we have been quietly updating various signs, as some of the information on them was outdated. In addition to the welcome sign in front of the gate and the two large information signs inside, we also have signs that outline the rules and regulations for visitors.


Despite each sign having its purpose, an entire forest of them is far from attractive. As a result, we have taken down a number of signs and swapped them out for new ones. For example, we replaced the ‘No Dogs' sign with an identical, but more modest sign at the bottom of our welcome board. Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit too modest. The same goes for our opening hours.


With the increased number of visitors, we see more people who need to be reminded of the rules guests must follow when they visit. So now, we are tasked with creating signage that remains inviting, but also clearly indicates what is and what isn’t allowed at Wester-Amstel. One thing is for sure, our designers have a lot of work to do.

Photos: Examples of park signs that may one day serve as inspiration for the future designs of Wester-Amstel's signs.

Volunteer jackets

Since early spring, it has been easier to spot most of our volunteers thanks to their new work jackets. Landschap Noord-Holland and the Nationale Postcode Loterij helped us purchase these jackets for a modest contribution as part of the 'Year of the Volunteer'. We knew that our park and garden group volunteers could use good jackets. At the time, we weren’t sure if they would want to walk around in them… But we decided to take a chance and ordered a wide range of sizes.

The enthusiasm they were met with was truly unexpected… As well as the matching outfits they inspired! Below you will see a photo that gives you a good idea of the available men’s sizes. (Do not try to look past the black bars too much, as some of our park group members value their digital anonymity.)


Projects and maintenance

The following projects and maintenance activities will keep the volunteers of Wester-Amstel busy:

Photo (Rinke van Zanden): Vrijwilligers in het grijs

The biggest project, the 'replacement of orchard avenue', is slowly, but steadily moving towards obtaining a permit. Once this has been obtained, the necessary fundraising can begin. Thus, the realisation of this project is now expected to occur in the winter of 2023-2024 – at the earliest.


The other big project, the Orangerie, is in the planning stage. The goal is to complete a feasibility study by the end of the year. We do not yet dare to give a year of completion.

The gazebo is the subject of a small, but fine project, with a correspondingly short timeline (fortunately). The concrete floor, which was poured when the gazebo was renovated in 1985, needs to be repaired. The idea is to do this with beautiful, matching weatherproofed 'Belle Epoque' tiles. The search for funds, for an amount of approximately €1,500 has already begun. Perhaps a report on a polished 'bonbon box' will grace our next newsletter.

Photo: 'Bonbon box’ with a (concrete) rotten bottom.

The Tea Pavilion will be enveloped in scaffolding for a few weeks at the beginning of June. It and the Chicken Palace will be repainted this year. Some planned periodical maintenance work will also be carried out on the facade of the house.


New reception group and other volunteers

We are going to start serving coffee, tea, and other goodies at our various meetings again. And thus, we are thinking long and hard about how we can breathe new life into the time-honoured and much-appreciated reception group. Fortunately, we already have a few volunteers, but we are looking for more. Not just for what is mentioned above, but also for other public activities, such as guided tours, indoor programming, and the recruitment of new friends. All of these activities are currently bundled under the heading 'reception'. This is also the working title for our new volunteer group, which operates under the administrative wings of Herma de Heer.


Expanding our communication team with a Dutch speaker is still high on our list. Tasks include contributing to our website, Facebook page, and newsletter. Our park and garden groups currently have a few spots open for new recruits. We’re still looking for an experienced gardener for our Stinzetuin and the park team is looking for someone to replace its youngest member, who recently left for London for paid work.


Please send an email to voorzitter@wester-amstel.nl. if you are interested or have any suggestions regarding the above.

By: Søren Ludvig Movig