In a city as prominent as Amsterdam, you would expect to find a Botanical Garden and this city's inner garden will certainly not disappoint. It contains one of the oldest Botanical Gardens, not only in the Netherlands, but in the world.
It was first established in 1638 and, over the centuries, it has grown and diversified into the beautiful green oasis we see today. Many wonderful and exotic plants were added to the collection during the 17th and 18th centuries due to the rich ship cargoes of the Dutch East India Company.
The gardens now consist of over 4000 different species of plants, ranging from desert dwellers to colorful tropical wonders. Some plants are over 300 years old.
A prominent feature within the gardens is the 'Three climate greenhouse'. This modern structure created in 1993 is cleverly designed to accommodate three different climatic zones, sub-tropical, desert and tropical.
Another highlight is the Butterfly Greenhouse where you are surrounded by hundreds of colorful butterflies. Look closely and you may be able to see a butterfly emerge from its pupae.
The Palm Greenhouse, as the name suggests, contains a variety of palm and cycad species, many of which are decades old. Most are grown in containers and are taken out of the greenhouse when the weather improves. Look for the 300 year old Eastern Cape giant cycad, which is a permanent resident in the greenhouse.
When the Botanical Garden was first developed in 1638, it was to promote the knowledge, research and use of medicinal herbs. Shortly after it was opened, Johannes Snippendaal catalogued the whole plant collection. In his honor, the Snippendaal Garden was created and named. It contains all the plants and herbs described in his catalogue.
Another interesting and beautiful garden, especially in the flowering season, is the 'Semicircle'. Here plants are confined to beds surrounded by box hedges. They are sorted within these beds by their genetic characteristics.
As you stroll through the gardens, you will come across the Orangery, a lovely elegant building constructed in 1875 as a lecture hall. It has now been converted into a café, serving light refreshments including sandwiches and cakes.
Most visitors stroll through the gardens by themselves but tours are offered every Sunday at 14:00hrs. No booking is required and the tours last about 1 one hour. There is a small fee to take this tour which you can pay for at the main entrance.
The gardens are open every day of the week but opening and closing times vary depending on the time of year. They also close on some public holidays.
Several hours can be spent exploring the gardens but even longer may be required if you are a plant lover.
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