The Amstelpark: The trees narrate their story by Elmo Vermijs

Orangerie | September 4 – October 16, 2022 | Part of the Shadow Floriade


The trees of municipal park Amstelpark take centre stage in The Amstelpark – The trees narrate their story. Initially planted for the occasion of the 1972 Floriade, the trees have been the silent witnesses to global warming. The tree rings register changes in the local climate. The project consists of a LivingLab and the Parliament for Trees.


WIP Parliament of Trees by Elmo Vermijs.



The LivingLab, led by tree biologist Ute Sass-Klaassen, initiates the project together with Wageningen University & Research students with comparative wood and annual ring studies of the Amstelpark trees. In an exhibition in the Orangerie, visitors can see how yearly ring research works and the researchers show how the vitality of the trees has progressed since 1972.


Parliament for Trees

The Parliament for Trees is a project led by Elmo Vermijs and environmental lawyers Jessica den Outer and Jan van de Venis. The project investigates how other-than-human entities, such as trees, can become legal persons and how this legal status can help improve the protection of forests and city parks. This investigation results in Lawsuit in the Park – the trees speak out. In the speculative lawsuit, the trees sue five local polluters, introducing the public to the Rights of Nature (or Earth Rights) movement. Five people represent the trees in verbal and non-verbal ways; the group consists of activists, scientists and artists who are each involved in the fight for climate justice in their own way.

Vermijs will borrow tree trunks from sawmill Stadshout, which stood in the Amstelpark, to build the Parliament for Trees.

The project The Amstelpark – The trees narrate their story concludes with a publication containing a (pictorial) report and essays with questions and goals for the future.


Supported by

Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunsten, CLICK NL/ SIA Regieorgaan, DendroLab (Wageningen University & Research), Houtzagerij Stadshout,  Iona Stichting, Stadsdeel Zuid, Stichting Niemeijer Fonds en het Amstelpark.


Exhibitions, Shadow Floriade, Upcoming