The Tree That Saw Everything
Have you seen enough leafy canals, humpback bridges and ornate canal houses? A visit to Amsterdam south-east will show you a different Amsterdam. This part of Amsterdam is also referred to as Amsterdam-Bijlmer. It stretches from spectacular architecture at ArenA via green residential areas to the original high-rise housing estates built in the 1970s.
True to say, there is not a lot to see. If you want to indulge in Surinam roti, Antilean cactus soup or Turkish kebab, take the metro to Bijlmer station.(map) Here you will find the ArenA football stadium (map), the Heineken Music Hall (map) and the headquarters of many multinationals.
But this is also the area where in 1992 a Boeing 747 crashed – killing 43 people officially and a countless number of illegal and not registered people. After lengthy investigations, it was never found out why the El Al Cargo plane crashed and what was on board.
Stop for a moment at De Boom Die Alles Zag – the tree that saw everything. This monument commemorates those who died in the crash and at the same time it honours Amsterdam’s new immigrants. The memorial consists of a tree and a simple wall inscribed with moving poems and forty-three names.
The Tree That Saw Everything is in an open area between a clutch of high-rise apartment buildings between Gooioord, Kruidberg and Groeneveen. The nearest Metro station is Kraaiennest. Alternatively you can go to Amsterdam-Bijlmer station. The memorial is a fifteen-minute walk away.
photo credit: personal collection