Situated in the excitement-filled Plantagebuurt in northeast Amsterdam, the Hortus Botanicus belongs to the world's oldest botanical gardens. Established in 1638, the Hortus was intended as an herbarium for medicinal plants, where doctors and pharmacists converted the herbs into prescription medication; in the later 17th and 18th centuries, the Hortus became a center for both commercially useful herbs and spices, as well as purely ornamental plants collected by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Now as a public attraction, it has become a notable tourist destination within Amsterdam. With a compact footprint of just 1.2 hectares (about 3 acres), the Hortus has a size befitting of an urban botanical garden, yet manages to accommodate over 4,000 species of plants in its garden and greenhouses - some 2% of plant species on Earth. Some of these date back to the specimens contributed by the VOC in the 17th and 18th centuries, and others which have been carefully collected over the course of the Hortus's nearly 400-year history.
Part of the Hortus's diversity is due to its seven greenhouses, each of which simulates special climactic conditions to sustain various forms of plant life. The succinctly-named Drieklimatenkas (Three-Climate Greenhouse), for example, houses a subtropical section, a desert section and a tropical section; a computer system maintains the optimal temperature and humidity level for plants in each of these climates to thrive. In addition to these indoor spaces, the outdoor section of the Hortus is carpeted with beds of plants, from the flora of the North Holland dunes due west of Amsterdam, to carnivorous plants from afar. In the so-called Orangery, however, visitors won't find any citrus plants, but a splendid, monumental museum cafe in which to sip coffee or have a bite to eat amid botanically-inspired art.
Hortus Botanicus Visitor Information:
Hortus Botanicus Location
Plantage Middenlaan 2a
1018 DD Amsterdam
- Daily, 10 - 5 p.m.
- Adults: € 7.50
- Children 5 to 14: € 3.50
- N.B.: "I amsterdam" cards and Hollandpasses are not honored at the Hortus Botanicus.
- Take tram 9 or 14 to the Mr. Visserplein stop, or the metro to the Waterlooplein stop (leave the station via the Hortusplantsoen exit).
Call +31 (0)20 625 9021 or 625 8411, or visit the Hortus Botanicus web site.