Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. Today the Hortus houses more than 4,000 different species of plants, which is about 2% of all plant species growing on Earth.
The plants grow in the gardens and greenhouses of Hortus as they occur in nature. Frequently they are cultivated from seeds that were collected in the field and therefor definitely belong to the pure natural form of the species. By cultivating and propagating these plants, the Hortus contributes to the conservation of the species and acts as a gene bank. The Hortus is located in the Plantage district on the edge of the hectic center of Amsterdam.
Behind the 300-year-old gates, 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 Century. The VOC ships brought not only herbs and spices, but also exotic ornamental plants. In fact, few of the Hortus' 'crown jewels' date from that time, e.g. the 300-year old Eastern Cape giant cycad.
Café 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 in late 2003. Now, in addition to it’s function as a café, the Orangery rents two assembly rooms for exclusive parties and meetings.
Location: Plantage Middenlaan 2 A
Hortus Botanicus website