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Amsterdam: Schiphol's new 'Airport Park' alive with greenery, chirping birds

May 12, 2011|By Deborah Netburn | Los Angeles Times
  • Kids play at the new "Airport Park" in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
Kids play at the new "Airport Park" in Amsterdam's Schiphol… (Schiphol Group )

Here's a breath of fresh air for people flying through Amsterdam: a new park-like space at the city's Schiphol Airport, where travelers waiting for takeoff can sit at picnic tables amid real and fake plants, listen to birds sing and grab organic snacks.

The "Airport Park," opened Wednesday, occupies more than 2,100 square feet in the middle of the airport. Part art installation and part airport lounge, it displays pictures of parks from around the world, projects images of butterflies onto walls and floors and pipes in recorded sounds of birds chirping and children playing.

PHOTOS: 'Airport Park' at Amsterdam's Schiphol

Fake tree stumps resting on the ground can be used as benches, and there is even a real trunk of a 130-year-old copper beech tree that had been destined to be chopped down until the airport "adopted" it. Officials call the trunk the "spiritual center" of the park.

At the Park Cafe, travelers can buy organic sandwiches and fair-trade coffee to eat at picnic tables arranged in the park. Then they can work off the calories by pedaling stationary bicycles to generate electricity that can be used to recharge cellphones.

All this sounds neat, but after hours of breathing stale air in airplanes and airports, a traveler might want to get outside for real. Airport Park offers that too, in the form of a terrace.

Although Schiphol bills its new space as the world's first airport park, some other airports, including San Francisco's new Terminal 2, offer airy spaces. Singapore's airport is dotted with greenery and even has a pay-to-use lounge decorated like a tropical rain forest.


San Francisco: A look inside airport's new eco-friendly Terminal 2

Photos: Terminal 2 travelers at San Francisco International Airport

Singapore's Changi Airport a welcome departure

Photos: Changi Airport in Singapore

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