It's lush greenhouses and exotic herbs and plants have been attracting visitors from all over the world for nearly four centuries. Founded in 1638 to accommodate pharmacists and doctors for medicinal and healing herbs, the Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.
At the time, the Hortus Botanicus was literally a life-saver. The plague epidemic in the 1600s cost thousands of people their lives. In the second half of the 17th century, the Hortus Botanicus had an extensive collection of plants, brought from all over the world by the Dutch East India company (VOC).
Today, the Hortus Botanicus has more than 6000 different plants, flowers, herbs, trees and even a butterfly garden. A beautiful café with a large terrace, the Orangery, has been established at the entrance of the park, which overlooks the exotic hothouse. A perfect place to relax on a summer's day! From 19-27 July, the Hortus Festival celebrates summer, giving an exotic stage to various Dutch classical artists.
Artist Maarten van Veen by Anne Meyer
Local tip: The first Dutch vermouth brand 'Willems Wermoed' was inspired by the extensive choice of herbs at Hortus Botanicus. 24 hand-picked botanicals including pine tops, wild thyme and womwood were infused in a Spanish white wine to create the perfect culmination of this classic drink, reinvented in the Netherlands. Click here to find out more.
Like to stay near the Hortus Botanicus? Yays Oostenburgergracht is only a short walk from this beautiful sanctuary.