Thursday, October 11, 2007

hortus of Linneaus

I finally had a chance to visit hortus botanicus. If you are visiting amsterdam, you might prefer to skip it as it is not particularly interested unless you like plants as such, but if you live here, it makes perfect sense to have an annual membership, and spend time reading there and looking at the quite impressive diversity that fits in such a small space. The Orangery is a beautiful building, and the fact that Linneaus was once there is exciting in itself.

"Hortus was founded in 1638 by the city to serve as herb garden for doctors and apothecaries. It contains more than six thousand tropical and indigenous trees and plants. The monumental Palm House dates from 1912 and is renowned for its collection of cycads. The 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. A single coffee plant, Coffea arabica, in Hortus's collection served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America."

What I liked most was the butterfly greenhouse, but also the feeling of being amused with the autumn the stillness of the place. I can imagine that in full bloom the garden would be much more impressive, and yet the tranquility in this town is something rather hard to find and therefore I regard it highly...

Have a look!

Some Info on The Hortus:
The Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. Today, there are more than 6,000 plants (>4,000 species) growing in the garden and greenhouses. The Hortus is located in the Plantage district on the edge of the hectic center of Amsterdam. Behind the 300-year-old gates, however, the bustle of the city seems to disappear.

Originally, the Hortus was a medicinal herb garden, founded in 1638 by the Amsterdam City Council. At that time, herbs were of vital importance as the basis of medicines and the city had just experienced a plague epidemic. Doctors and pharmacists trained in the preparation of prescriptions at the Hortus.

Thanks to the ships of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC), the Hortus expanded quickly in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The VOC ships brought not only herbs and spices, but also exotic ornamental plants. In fact, a few of the Hortus' 'crown jewels' date from that time, e.g. the 300-year-old Eastern Cape giant cycad.

The Orangery is located in the middle of this living museum and possesses one of the most beautiful outdoor cafés in Amsterdam. After an extensive renovation, it reopened late in 2003. Now, in addition to its function as café, the Orangery rents two assembly rooms for exclusive parties and meetings.

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