Amsterdam’s botanical garden, the Hortus Botanicus, was established in 1638 as a medical garden, and is now one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It’s a fairly small botanical garden, but it still houses over 4,000 plant species (about 2% of all plant species growing on Earth), amongst which a good selection of carnivorous plants (that my kids find absolutely fascinating), cycads or ‘dinosaur plants’ and a giant water lily.
Children can see how rice grows, learn where cinnamon comes from, and study the transition from caterpillar to butterfly in the butterfly greenhouse. The old orangerie has been renovated and now houses a restaurant with purely organic dishes (high chairs present), and there’s a small gift shop with a cute selection of toys and books.
All in all, a lovely and educational escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and, thanks to the greenhouses, a chance to enjoy nature even when it’s raining cats and dogs.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
Plantage Middenlaan 2a
1018 DD Amsterdam
tel 020 – 625 90 21 or 020 – 625 84 11 (recorded message)
fax 020 – 625 70 06
The Hortus is open:
Monday thru Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday and holidays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Dogs and other pets are not allowed in the Hortus.