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The beautiful hortus botanicus in Amsterdam

Hortus botanicus: the palmhouse from 1912

Time to relax?

The beautiful hortus botanicus in Amsterdam is the best place to just relax during your stay in Amsterdam. There are plenty of places where you can sit quietly and smell the fragrant flowers in this beautiful garden. I prefer to take a coffee-to-go from the hortus cafe, the Orangery, along the curving paths of the hortus.

What is it all about?

The hortus botanicus was founded in 1638 by the Amsterdam City Council. Back then, herbs were the most important ingredients for treatment for pain, disease and plagues. The more exotic plants and trees were only added in the 17th and 18th century.  The Dutch East India Company ships brought them back with them from their ‘trade missions’. The entrance gate, from 1715, is the oldest element of the hortus.

The hortus houses three greenhouses with different climate zones: tropical, sub-tropical and desert. The warm and humid jungle greenhouse is my favorite, particularly in winter. It even sounds like you are in a jungle. And stop by at the butterfly house where butterflies fly around freely. To the left at the entrance you will find a special pupal cabinet. In the far back of the hortus you will find a small section with carnivorous plants. Somehow these plants intrigue me. If you are really lucky you will see the Gunnera plant bloom in the hortus’ pond.


Free guided tours

The hortus offers free guided tours. From 1 February to 31 October free tours are offered every Sunday starting at 2pm. During summer, from 1 June to 31 August, additional free tours are offered on every Saturday starting at 3pm. You will find more information on guided tours on their website.

Tips for drinks

The hortus botanicus has its own cafe, the Orangery. You will find it right at the entrance (to the right). This is where I pick up my coffee-to-go and find a quiet place in the garden. they serve breakfast from 10.00 and lunch from 11.00. Try their fine selection of pastries, always hard to resist. It is actually one of my favorite spots for lunch. In 2018, on my birthday, I invited my family here for lunch.

How do you get there?

It’s quite centrally located so once you are in the centre you can easily walk over to the hortus. From Central Station you can take metro 51 (direction Isolatorweg), metro 53 (direction Gaasperplas) or metro 54 (direction Gein) and get off at Waterlooplein. From here it is a 9-minute walk. Alternatively, you take tram 14 from Central Station and stop at Mr. Visserplein. From here is it is 3-minutewalk to the hortus.

About the author: Laura Danielle is a co-founder of Comedy Walks: stand-up comedy shows with the city as a stage, or, if you like, city tours with a professional stand-up comedian as a guide. We currently run Comedy Walks in Amsterdam, Washington DC, Berlin and Utrecht. By far the most fun way to explore a city!

All information in the blog posts is based on personal experiences and commission free (“I rather drink coffee with inspiring entrepreneurs than compete with them for 20 cents commission for our customers’ coffee” – Laura Danielle).