The Darwinpark  in the center of  Zaandam        


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 , Last modification:    April 31, 2013






The Darwinpark emerged from the city extension around 1970.. It forms the link between the city and the countryside and has important ecological functions. Until recently the Darwinpark was not easily accessible because only bike and stroll paths from east to west existed in this elongated park. It was no more than a passage park; the Zaanstad municipality decided to take action.

First they constructed a North-South path; a for strolling over the entire length of the park. Subsequently, in the southern half of the park, alongside this North-South path, four theme    gardens: a forest garden, a swamp garden, a grass garden and a water garden are highlighted with matching pieces of arts. Every theme garden has its own atmosphere and character. They are self-supporting biological units, where plants and animals forms an entity. Also, the gardens has a clear ecological relation; They stay in perfect balance because of their placement.


photo google earth

Set seen from the Space


What is to do in the Darwinpark

The animal ranch for children in the Darwinpark, Zaandam

In 1967 Albert Heijn built the largest children's ranch in Holland for the youth of Zaandam. Young and old explore the wide variety of animals including small pet animals as well as the larger agricultural domesticated animals.

On the ranch is a nice children-playground. You can treat the children and yourself to an ice cream, relish, drinks etc. Of course real ranch-products are available for purchase; eggs, wool, honey, hay, straw and sometimes animals themselves. During a walkabout on the ranch territory you will see bee hives and  an ecological museum, all of which are very educational for children.                                                                                                                        
The Children's ranch at Darwin is an important recreational and learning service that yearly is visited by approximately 75,000 people. Also frequently the ranch is visited by school leagues. For more information see the year schedule of the biological lesson center.


Opening time ranch:

Daily: 09.00-17.00
Free entrance.
Address: De Weer 31, 1504 AH Zaandam
Phone: 075-6166906 Fax: 075-6312468
K.B.Darwinpark@nme-zaanstreek.nl          Website:        www.nme-zaanstreek.nl


The children's ranch lies in the southern section of the Darwinpark, near the residential district Poelenburg, in Zaandam-Southeast. It is located near the main entrance on "De Weer" where you can park your bike or your car. Via public transport it is accessible (from station Zaandam) by bus 65, station Smitsven, see also www.kaart.nl


E. Heimans Nature museum

The E. Heimans nature museum has mainly an educational purpose. Children will understand in this museum what nature means to them. So there is a setup of a "Peatland" scenery, a grounds, a hut and a chamber. A scenery of set up animals is used to show the public how life in both the house and the district is related to nature. A lot of school leagues visits this museum. Society Nature and Environmental Education Zaanstreek manages a number of recreational and educational welfare facilities in Zaanstad, including the E. Heimans Nature Museum, the petting farm in the Darwinpark, the botanical threaded school gardens and a biological educational center.

Opening times museum:
Wednesday's and Sunday's: 13.00-17.00 uur
More open during schoolholiday's, but closed during summer-holiday
Entrnce fee: 2,50 p.p.
Groups (from 15 p.): 2,- p.p.
Adress: Thijssestraat 1, 1504 LB Zaandam
Telephone: 075-6312020
Fax: 075-6312468
info@nme-zaanstreek.nl  Website:  www.nme-zaanstreek.nl


School gardens zaandam

Since 2005 it has been located in the Darwinpark towards the entrance of the Children's ranch in Zaandam. The School gardens lie in the southern broad of the Darwinpark, near the residential district Poelenburg, in Zaandam-Southeast.


Opening times for the school gardens: April to October: Monday to Friday: 09.00-16.00 hours; Wednesdays: 09.00-12.00 hours   Free entrance.                                                                                                                                   Address: De Weer 31 1504 AH Zaandam Phone: 075-6312468 Fax: 075-6312468                                                     Email: info@nme-zaanstreek.nl  Website:  www.nme-zaanstreek.nl History of the School gardens in Zaandam


Labyrinth in the amphitheatre

Installed in the amphitheater in the Darwinpark is a labyrinth; nice to look at and wonderful to wxplore. With your thoughts on zero, you flow from the outside inwards. There is a saying that navigating a labyrinth improves a better balance between the left - and the right part of the brain!

Labyrinth walking is a form of meditation that offers us the space to listen to ourselves. For many it is an experience that explains much about ourselves. In a maze, one must choose between different paths. A labyrinth has only one path that leads to its center and again to the outside. In a maze you miss the way, in a labyrinth you find the way.


It exists in many cultures and is not dependent on religions. In The French cathedral of Chartres lies a well known labyrinth and also in Italy, England and Scandinavia are found labyrinths. Outside Europe you can find Labyrinths in, for example, Pakistan, Tibet, Russia and in North American Indian reservations. A labyrinth is seen as a symbol for life with all height - and depth points.


Pieces of art

There are various pieces of arts in the southern broad of the Darwin park


The Darwinpark is the 'green lung' for the crowded Zaandam South-eastern part. The original set-up of the park (From 1970) satisfied no more. The park had little social function, it had not become a place where people walk a while with pleasure, or meet each other.

Four theme gardens on the east side of it Darwin Park were constructed, densely set against the living blocks of the district Poelenburg. Four particular places in the park emerged, each with their own atmosphere. Every garden is designed around a piece of art, that specially was created for that place, and changes with the season.

The four pieces of art have been created by Kees Bierman, a artist fascinated by the operation of time in a growing nature. His work seems often to emerge from the surrounding of nature, but simultaneously easily recognizable as people work, an interval in the natural environment.
The pieces of art are made of open construction concrete reinforced with iron. Nature dictates the constructions. Every change in nature gives, during the changing of the seasons a different picture.



Wood garden

A dense parade of park plants; a paradise for little birds, create probably the best looks in autumn and winter. The access gate to this beautiful wood garden is an 8 meters high construction in the form of an arc. An impressive high gate (possibly a symbol of human over-courage) leads into the garden. The trees hold their leaves for a long time without nourishment so the bows maintain till the spring a nice light brown color.

Grass Garden

In the high meadow-like growth of the Grass Garden, the paths are mowed perpendicular to each other. In between there is enough place for the wild flowers which are beautiful in the spring. The Grass Garden must be a lustful location for butterflies and bumblebees. In the center of the lawns stands on top of a slight incline a Megalithic tomb. This construction of Kees Beerman is crowded with ivy stays, and it stays green the whole year.

Swamp garden

A notable sculpture forms the central pool enclosure in the Swamp-Garden, where bullfrogs and pull salamanders live. The pavilion is planted with wild grape-vines, a friendly but stubborn vine which in the autumn sports beautiful flamed colors. In Winter the grape-vine looses their leaves and the Iron construction is again visible. 

Water garden

The most notable place in the Darwinpark is the Water Garden located in the most southern point of the park. Two islands are connected by a long wooden jetty that goes under a 'water gate'. In this water gate grows green conifers which offer for the whole year long approximately the same view of this piece of art.
Accessible from Zaandam CS with: Bus 92 (Amsterdam CS) or 87 (Poelenburg South), station Twiskeweg/Thijssehof.


New art in the Darwinpark

Three metal figurative sculptures called "Man-Woman" created by the artist Theo Schepers are placed in the northern part of the Darwinpark, opposite the Koopvaardijstraat.


In the northern part of the Darwinpark, three stimulating art works have been realized. The pictures catch the eye by their striking design and the particular body-expressions of man and woman. The design came about by means of scanned hand molding work in combination with an animation program. In the animation series the pictures change their movements, emotion, expression and style continuously. By fixing these movements at several moments, characters show different styles and expression. The styles vary from amorphously and minimum figurative to a realistic and exact reproduction of a 3D human body scan. The result is a picture group of three pictures whose elaboration, emotion and sexuality are mutually related to each other. The pictures are a translation of the inner female and male side of an individual. The female side you could call emotional, communicative and variable.. The male side is putting things into perspective, being independent and guiding. In the pictures it appears that the female is able to express herself emotionally freely, where the male side in a gentle manner has the control. The merging of female and male qualities stands for the ever changing processes of emotions and ideas where at the same time direction and focus are stipulated. For the artist Theo Schepens, the link of two inner ideas produces the following, “female in people that had too many aims becomes productive whereas males with no aims find one where he can lose some energy'. The animation process of the picture group can be seen as from beginning 2010 on.  http://www.darwinpark.nl/

Artist: Theo Schepens
Tecnical realisation: Theo Schepens
Titel: 'Man-Vrouw'
Location: Darwinpark Noord,
Koopvaardijstraat opposite nr. 90 in Zaandam

Delivery: Oktober 2009
Format 290x120x60cm, 140x150x20cm, 53x39X14cm
Technical construction: stainless steel

Sponsor: Gemeente Zaanstad




Keep The Darwin park green