The Hortus botanicus of Laiden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, and the oldest in the Netherlands. Located in Amsterdam, the gardens were created in 1590 by members of the Leiden University, but naturally there have been many changes since this time. A first major change came in 1594 when the entire garden was made into an herb garden for medicinal plants by Carolus Clusius. Plants with medicinal properties were not the only thing introduced to the garden. Tobacco, potatoes and even tulips were also brought in during this time.
Things to See
Visiting The Hortus botanicus is like walking through a museum of nature. The botanical garden has over 10, 000 species of flora, as well as many types of birds. There is an orangery of mammoth proportions that was installed in 1744, as well as a nut field, a Japanese-themed garden, a fern garden, and a rose garden.
The oldest remaining section is the Front Garden. This actually remains from 1590, and now hosts a reconstructed version of the 1594 garden that was introduced by Clusius. From the early days of construction, the garden has been a hub of research, display and education. Visitors can enjoy a range of native plants, including many that were introduced from overseas, such as the extensive collection of Japanese plants that are still present today.
The garden is known for a range of exhibitions, such as the “Tulips in the Hortus” exhibition. There is also “Polder day,” where the local agricultural facilities are opened to the public, allowing them to see farms, gardens and mills of the area. There is generally something fun and educational happening at the Hortus botanical, but exhibition dates are limited, so be sure to enquire before attending.
Access and Visiting
There is public transportation available for visitors, and private vehicles can also access the nearby area. Please keep in mind that this destination is outdoors, so some visitors might be uncomfortable during colder months. This is an ideal location for those who love nature as well as people who are interested in history.