Cécile Verburg: Singelpark x IPFL

member of the Stichting Vrienden van het Singelpark (Friends of the Singelpark Foundation). She joined this foundation because she wants to contribute something to the city of Leiden. As an art historian, Verburg is not only committed to a green environment but also to art. We asked Cécile Verburg about the Singelpark, art and the collaboration with IPFL.

The Singelpark: a successful collaboration

The Singelpark in Leiden is a park that was realized thanks to a collaboration between citizens and the municipality. According to many, the park is a great success: it won the LoopAward and attracts a large number of visitors. Cecile Verburg: “The Singelpark is originally an initiative from 2012 by citizens of Leiden. The municipality joined them later on. The park connects all parks of Leiden to the largest consecutive park in The Netherlands: 6,3 kilometres. The Singelpark consists of three areas, each with its own theme. Five new bridges were constructed to realize the park. The Singelparkroute travels through five neighbourhoods. Some parts are still under construction.

Verburg is closely connected to the maintenance and development of the Singelpark. Weekly, she works with a group of volunteers in the Huigpark. “As volunteers, we are busy with different tasks: maintaining the flowerbeds, cleaning up carbage, hanging nest boxes, insect hotels and beehives and taking care of the biodiversity by planting different species. We also created wooden seats in collaboration with Herman Vermey of Boom en Staal.” Verburg also helped to design the fruit garden and participated in planting the Pilgrimstuin by Erfgoed Leiden. “From this garden, the Pilgrims would leave for America. There is a statue of a Pilgrim and a stone with the names of the Pilgrims.” A historical spot.

Art and Photography in the Singelpark

History, nature and art work well together in the Singelpark,” explains Verburg. During the pandemic, thousands of people walked through the park. Since the Singelpark stimulates different art forms, many people get in touch with art while walking through the park.

With the workgroup Kunst in het Singelpark (Kis), Cecile Verburg realized a sculpture exhibition in the park. The sculptures will be on view for three years. Artists and members of the foundation decided upon the locations in the park where the sculptures have been placed. Verburg: “We didn’t want permanent sculptures, because the park would be full immediately. We also wanted to give different artists the opportunity to create new sculptures.”

Next to exhibiting sculptural work, the Singelpark is also open to exhibiting other art forms like music, dance and theatre. The initiative of the International Photo Festival Leiden fits in well. “We hope that a great variation of artworks will be exhibited in the Singelpark in the future.”