Ons Buiten (literally ‘Our Outside’) is the name for a collective of garden parks across the Netherlands, whose Amsterdam branch is on the southern outskirts of the city: situated along the northern edge of the Nieuwe Meer, opposite the Amsterdamse Bos which progresses down into Amstelveen. It is a collection of cottages and allotments, which allow members to spend the spring and summer months gardening and fishing and engaging one another in field sports or on fete days. Residency is exceedingly hard to come by, and even an allotment alone is difficult to acquire and maintain. New gardeners find themselves enrolled in a mentorship programme lasting two years – an onerous undertaking, so that it is perhaps better not to commit, and to appreciate instead one’s liberty on a simple stroll around the gardens.
The following eighteen pictures are from back when my partner and I lived in Amsterdam. They show the gardens, lakes, waterways, and a swing within Ons Buiten; and some of the surrounding area by the Nieuwe Meer, including a heron, bulls, and coots, either side of a moment’s respite inside our old apartment.