Secret Garden: the Hortus

On my list of magical places to visit in this town has always been the Hortus Botanicus. By a strike of pure luck the lovely igersamsterdam & the Hortus themselves gave me that chance on a warm sunny evening in July.

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There are many botanical gardens but Amsterdam’s is drenched in history. It is one of the oldest in the world and for nearly 400 years it has dedicated itself to the study of plants and all it’s aspects in our daily life. In between Amsterdam it’s history merged in to it’s core.
It was founded in 1638 by the city to serve as a herb garden for doctors and apothecaries. It contains more than six thousand tropical and indigenous trees and plants.

Fun Facts

Architecture
The hexagonal pavilion dates from the late 1600s.
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The entrance gate was built in the early 1700s.
The Orangery dates from 1875, and the Palm House and Hugo de Vries Laboratory – both created in Amsterdam School expressionist architecture – date from 1912 and 1915.

History
Hortus Botanicus’s initial collection was amassed during the 17th century through plants and seeds brought back by traders of the East India Company (VOC) for use as medicines and for their possibilities for commerce. One of our most common products now a days is coffee but back in the day coffee was only available to the elite and access to a viable plant was nearly impossible in fact the Dutch were the first of the superpowers whose spies successfully stole a viable plant in 1616 from Mocha, the bustling port city and center of coffee trading in Yemen.
This little viable plant changed the course of history. This single coffee plant, Coffea arabica, in the Hortus’s collection served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America.

Home brewn:

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They have their own beehive which produces honey which is sold at the hortus. So you can take a special taste of Amsterdam home with you.

Things you definitely should not miss:

The ‘hothouse’ that emulates three different tropical environments.
imageGet surrounded by hundreds of majestic butterflies and see how they grow inside the Botanicus’ Butterfly Greenhouse.

Unique plant species:
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The Victoria, the garden’s giant water lily. When in bloom, the 154-year-old lily opens its flower every night around dusk.

Also the Bontanicus’ centuries-old agave cactus that dates back to the Roman era.

How to get there & more:
Visiting address: Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam

Public Transport
Tram: 9 and 14: Mr. Visserplein stop.
Metro: 51, 53 en 54: Waterlooplein stop (exit Hortusplantsoen).

Price
Adult: € 8,50
Student card: € 5,-
Senior / Youth <26 Card: € 4,50
Children (5-14 years old): € 4,50

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