The characteristic Amsterdam canal houses were built over four hundred years ago. Starting with the ’Singel’ canal and three horseshoe-shaped channels around it, the canal system was built in the Amstel river. Along the canals, who served as important supply route, private palaces arised, built by wealthy West Indian Trading Company merchants. Today the area is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage.

Many of these secret gardens are inspired by Versailles, with perfectly trimmed box hedges and white gravel paths, complete with a classical statue or fountain. But just as often, the facade conceals a modern landscaped Chelsea-inspired garden with wild and colorful splendor. The older gardens were decorated to look at, not to live in. After all, the summers were spent on the estate in the country side.

The idea to let the public enjoy these secret gardens is imported from New York and aims to raise some money for the maintenance. This year marks the thirty-year anniversary. More gardens than ever open up to anyone who wants inspiration - or who wants to catch a glimpse of these otherwise closed gardens of the rich and famous.