Fans of the more famous Spanish Riding School - or those who are closer to Amsterdam than to the Vienna and its celebrated school for Lipizzan horses - will want to scope out Amsterdam's own under-the-radar version of this Austrian tourist favorite. Situated on the northeastern corner of the Vondelpark, Amsterdam's most fabled urban park, the Hollandse Manege, established in 1744, is the oldest riding school in the country. In its monumental quarters, which date to 1882, visitors of all levels of experience can still ride the majestic horses housed at the school. Tourists who prefer a less hands-on experience can enjoy the manger in its capacity as a levend paardenmuseum - a living horse museum - and watch the horses in action amid the landmark 19th-century architecture.
If the airy space of the Hollandse Manege's main hall seems to evoke Amsterdam Central Station, it's with good reason: the building was designed by the remarkably prolific, Alkmaar-born architect Dolf van Gendt, who collaborated with P.J.H. Cuypers on the landmark Central Station. In addition, Van Gendt built numerous other buildings for public use, such as the concert halls and theaters Het Concertgebouw, a classical concert hall on Museumplein renowned for its rich acoustics; the neo-Renaissance Stadsschouwburg on Leidseplein; and Theater Frascati, an innovative Dutch theater. The Hollandse Manege is one of Van Gendt's most treasured works, despite the threat of demolition in the early '70s in favor of a successor in the Amsterdamse Bos of Amstelveen; the proposed demolition met with a storm of protest, and in 2007 the manger celebrated its 125th year of operation.
Hollandsche Manege Visitor Information:
Hollandsche Manege Location
1054 GT Amsterdam
- Daily, 10 - 5 p.m.
- Adults: € 8
- Children 3 to 12: € 4
- Children up to 3, "I amsterdam" card holder and Hollandpass holders: Free
- Take tram 1 to the Overtoom stop, one stop after Leidseplein; the tram stop is 100 meters from the back of the Hollandse Manege (entrance is from the front of the manger, on Vondelstraat).
Call +31 (0)20 618 0942, or visit the Hollandse Manege web site.