Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Parks In Arnhem - Immerloo Park

Over the past months starting during the summer I have been visiting the many parks
Arnhem was and is known for. In centuries gone by Arnhem was called Park City or "Genoeglijkste" which is Dutch for (most) Pleasant. It's certainly a reputation that was well deserved at the time and to my pleasure it's began living up to that reputation once more.

In days long gone by wealthy industrialist from cities like The Hague and Amsterdam enjoyed their holidays to the verdant city Arnhem was in those days. And it still is a very green city which is especially noticable when entering from the highways
in the west and north of Arnhem.
The estates surrounding Arnhem, in particular those near Schaarsbergen and towards Oosterbeek and the rolling hills inside that part of the city boundaries still give great pleasure. For those who like their wildlife a little less managed and a little wilder the surrounding area gives great escape into the National Parks "De Hoge Veluwe" and "Veluwezoom" as well as the heaths and moors there I have also had the pleasure of visiting.

So where does one start in this park filled city? I'll start with the one I grew up near to and move my way around town till we have seen them all.
Immerloo Park seems a great place to start. When we first moved to Arnhem after leaving Ireland (and Katwijk aan Zee & Alkmaar here in the Netherlands)
we lived in "Het Duifje," a rather dull suburb in Arnhem-south which lived up to it's name: "the Pigeon," it was that grey there.
However about 50 metres from where our house stood Immerloo Park begins and I had the pleasure of spending some time there the other week on one of my Out & About cycling trips.

Has it changed much throughout the years? I haven't been back there in well over 15 years if not longer and it has and yet hasn't.
It has in the trees that have matured, died and been replanted, and the part of it that now has a busy motorway along its border connecting "het Duifje" to Kronenburg Shopping Mall and the changed view over the lake and 'Castle' flats in the neighbouring suburb of Vredenburg on the other side of the park
In that regard the change has become less appealing but on the whole the park is still the same. It still has the same structure it always had.
Walking lanes still bend and double back, bridges over water lanes still look very much the same as they always have and can feel the change in the park.

Part of that change is the change in me. Like the park I too have matured. Parts of me have died and been replanted. My views in life have changed, some of the change
is good, some of it less appealing.
My appreciation and understanding of the park has grown like I have. I finally understand it's a living, breathing organism that has been allowed to control it's self, to maintain itself and to find it's own balance. It seems like the days of industrious and hard pruning, preening, mowing and clipping have gone and the park has been allowed to be wilderness again, managed wilderness, that I will grant, and only in certain areas but still...the difference is hard to explain and quite subtle in many ways, but it's there and I've seen it. The park has grown and has moved out of itself bringing in other connecting areas, becoming greener by allowing diversity to be part of it's nature.

I hope I'm like that park in allowing diversity to be part of my nature as well.

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