A new vision and development plan for Sonsbeek, Zijpendaal and Gulden Bodem

A landscape theatre and green haven for city dwellers

In consultation with the local authority, managers and various interest groups and other interested parties, we are working on a vision and development plan for three parks in Arnhem: Sonsbeek, Zijpendaal and Gulden Bodem. The objective is to make the parks resistant to the effects of climate change, to organise them sustainably for intensive use, and to contribute to a greater biodiversity.



Gemeente Arnhem


Gemeente Arnhem

Surface Area

200 ha

Design Year



2022 -

The present times show how important greenery is for people: to be able to go out of doors, to move, for refreshment and for recreation – all reasons to be sparing with the unique greenery in and around the city. Arnhem finds itself in the fortunate situation that in 1899 the local authority was far-seeing enough to purchase Sonsbeek, and later Zijpendaal and Gulden Bodem as well. As a result, the people of Arnhem can now enjoy a unique green zone extending to the city centre. It also a splendid green link with the natural scenery of the Veluwe.

The parks are a constantly changing theatre, devised by the many owners, architects, managers and users in the area. The players (users and vegetation) are subject to change. Vegetation dies off, paths and objects wear out, and the needs of the visitors change. That calls for constant renewal and strict management. In addition, the area plays an important role in helping the city to resist the consequences of climate change and in promoting the desire for biodiversity. This imposes new demands on the organisation of parks and woods. That is why the Arnhem local authority has commissioned Strootman Landschapsarchitecten to draw up a new vision and development plan for the parks Sonsbeek, Gulden Bodem and Zijpendaal.

The unique combination of nature and cultural history in the parks, gardens and woods has made Sonsbeek, Zijpendaal and Gulden Bodem very popular for more than a century. The steadily increasing numbers of visitors are evidence of that. The plan seeks to strike a balance between the architecture of the historic park structure and the natural values. The park architecture is particularly prominent in the brook valley, where there is a play of panoramic views and surprise, unusual objects, framing, closed areas and open spaces. Our ambition is to strive for maximal biodiversity within the framework of the park architecture. The development plan also pays attention to the hydrological system, the network of paths, improving the connections between the parks and their surroundings, the distribution of zones, the role of art and the place of events in the parks.

Parks are dynamic. Modifications or new additions need time to develop further. In consultation with residents in and around the parks and other parties involved, we have drawn up a new vision and development plan for the three parks for the next ten years. By coming up with proposals for the improvement of the parks now, we can safeguard the present qualities of Sonsbeek, Zijpendaal and Gulden Bodem for future generations too and develop new qualities.

Related projects