Otterdam opens on 5 July

in Amstelpark

After one year of water gardening in Westerpark, the second artwork Otterdam opens in Amstelpark. Artist Theun Karelse introduces a design of a “floating allotment” customized for the location, to stimulate a city where nature, humans, and animals can all flourish. In 2021, after 50 years of absence, the otter returned to Amsterdam. Amsterdam, the city of water, didn’t preserve the biodiversity it used to have back in the days when it still was a swamp. With the return of the otter, we need to partly reshape the city, gardens and parks, in order to facilitate space to the otter and other kinds of animals and plants.

In the project Otterdam, we experiment with swamp -and water plants that are now lacking in our city, parks and gardens. The starting point is to let the otter be our guide to city landscape architecture and garden design. Otterdam will house in Amstelpark with its running water, large ponds, canals, and extensive gardens.

The Amstelpark is an area that symbolizes ‘the nature constructed by humans’, because it is the former Floriade built in 1972. What if we approach the park not only as a human-built environment, but as the collaboration between different forms of life that can flourish?  Can animals like Otters be our guides in urban area development?

The artist supports the park ecology that is not exclusively focused on human use, but on the general well-being of (water) plants and animals by adding a floating garden with native plants to the park landscape. This floating structure provides a home for all kinds of insects and amphibians. Like a floating coral, small fish, spiders, snails, dragonflies, water beetles, and all kinds of other creatures will inhabit the allotment, that form the food chain for larger animals, such as the otter.

Otterdam also offers different kinds of workshops for otter and plant lovers to gather more insights on a future-proof city. Otterdam will open on Friday 5th of July at 17.00h.

Opening: Friday 5 July 2024, 17.00h.
Open to visit: everyday till July 2025
Location: Amstelpark, Amsterdam (in front of the Japanese garden, at the large pond)

For participation to one of the workshops, please contact us via

Supported by
Transnatural Label, Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industrie, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Cultuurfonds, VriendenLoterij Fonds, Mondriaan fonds , Gemeente Amsterdam

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