Artis is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands (since 1838) and it’s located in our neighbourhood, Amsterdam East. Home to 700 species, from giraffes to wildebeests but it is more than a zoo – with a botanical garden, aquarium, planetarium and monumental museum.
Stroll through the park, study the zoological museum, travel through space, check out the giraffes, surround yourself with butterflies. During June, July and August the zoo hosts ‘summer nights’ where they play live music and stay open till sunset.
« You can be outside or inside, on a rainy day you can visit the aquarium, on a sunny day you can relax in the beautiful park and it really is suitable for everyone. » Heleen has been there several times, to escape with her son. « When it’s a nice sunny evening, I take him to go and say goodnight to the animals. He loves it ».
Artis is also very rich in history. Situated in a once Jewish neighbourhood, during the second world war the park gave shelter to dozens of Jewish citizens and staff members. People hid amongst various animal shelters amongst the bears, wolves and lions.
Heleen (30) is our money machine – dealing with all the financial stuff. « I like my job because everyone comes together in my office, it’s where all routes meet. » She explains with justifiable pride.
And she’s one busy lady; a workaholic with a toddler, a child on the way, and an active social life, but its the way she likes it. When asked to describe any quirky habits she replies « there’s a long list, call my husband… here’s his number ».
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
1018 CZ Amsterdam
How to get there from Volkshotel
Walk up Wibautstraat (direction city centre), turn right onto Sarphatistraat, turn left onto Roetersstraat, continue onto Plantage Kerklaan (20 minute walk).