The Amstelpark - the trees narrate their story

In this project, the trees of this Amsterdam city park take center stage. The trees, which were planted in 1972 on the occasion of the Floriade, are silent witnesses to global warming. They record changes in their tree rings. The project consists of a LivingLab, the Parliament of Trees, and a speculative Trial in which the trees of this city-park call local polluters to account. In the LivingLab, tree biologist Ute Sass-Klaassen, together with students from Wageningen University & Research, reveals a comparative wood and tree ring study on the trees of the Amstelpark. In the exhibition in the Orangerie, visitors can experience how tree ring research works and the researchers will demonstrate the vitality of the trees in the Amstelpark. The study will again feature in the speculative court case Trial in the park – the trees speak out, in which Ute Sass-Klaasen will be heard as an expert.

In the installation Parliament of Trees, artist Elmo Vermijs explores how we can represent non-human entities such as trees and thus better defend their rights, in collaboration with environmental lawyers Jessica den Outer and Jan van de Venis and various artists. Artistic and legal research and education come together in this installation.

Can trees become legal entities and how can this legal status contribute to better protection of forests and urban parks? This results in Trial in the park – the trees speak out, the closing event of The Amstelpark – the trees narrate their story.

The website unlocks all information from the project; LivingLab (dendrochronological research) with interviews, data, and outcomes; Parliament of Trees; Sanne Bloemink's essay and the entire file of Trial in the park - the trees speak out including the documentary, pleadings, roles, verdict and podcast.

Interested in screening (+intro and after-talk) the documentary or want more information about the project? Send an email to