In our spring newsletter, we told you about the Friends of Wester-Amstel Foundation’s plans for 2020 and beyond. Our focus has shifted from inside to outside. Our main priorities are providing access to the public and ensuring the maintenance and beautification of our park and gardens.
It’s been a good six months. We’ve never seen so many visitors in the park. This, of course, has everything to do with the pandemic. Our gates were open to anyone needing a breath of fresh air or a break from city life and people certainly took advantage of this. Long gone are the days of Wester-Amstel being a haven for only the most privileged of Amsterdammers.
Monitoring and following up on the latest coronavirus regulations was and still is an important activity for the board, our gatekeepers and other volunteers. And fortunately, it’s been going well.
Besides COVID-19, there have been a number of other important developments:
Interest in our park and garden groups has been at an all-time high. And while our volunteer group has grown, due to the unusual circumstances of 2020… there were several times when we had to close our vacancies to adhere to COVID-19 measurements. Nevertheless, we are very pleased with the growth and rejuvenation of our garden group. The park group also received a boost from three "summer guests"; sturdy guys who - again because of the coronavirus - had plenty of time and energy to spare during the summer. We definitely enjoy having temporary reinforcements year round, so we’ll be adding new vacancies to the Volunteer Central Amsterdam’s database once coronavirus measures have been scaled back.
Our Gatekeepers Guild is going strong. With their help, opening and closing the park on weekends has been going smoothly and we've been able to make subtle changes to our “welcome sign” and website. We’ll now be open on public holidays (as well as Saturdays and Sundays) from 12:00-16:30. Another important update: we've put a cap on the size of groups visiting us (six people max). For larger groups, including those taking wedding photos, permission must be requested in advance. One thing's for sure, we now know exactly what happens when a country estate goes 'viral' with bridal parties.
In other news, an Iranian-Armenian volunteer has joined our communications team. He’s working hard, alongside the rest of us, to merge WA’s two websites "wester-amstel.nl" and "westeramstel.com" together. The intention is that our new website will be live by the time you read this.
Look here to see if we accomplished our mission! For the tech-savvy friends among us: we switched from Weebly and ModX at Transip to WordPress at Transip.EU. We’re excited to have a "digital engineer" on our team, as well as a new editorial member of De Buitenplaats, Judith Hoekstra!
Last season we made several new friends, which we are very happy about. Of course, we also lost some friends due to deaths or other priorities. And once again “thanks” to the coronavirus, all of the extra friends activities we had promised did not materialize. We weren’t able to organize any special gatherings or exclusive tours of the remodelled house. Nor could we offer apples or pears due to 2020’s poor harvest. However, we do have faith that 2021 will be better! Incidentally, we’re still looking for individuals to fill two volunteer positions. One being a “friends keeper", aka someone who wants to help us improve our communication with people like you. To find out more about this role, please visit this link.
We're also looking for an all-around board member who can help us work on the development of our orangery plans and/or various secretarial activities. If you’re interested, please send an email to 'firstname.lastname@example.org’.
By: Søren Ludvig Movig