Hortus Botanicus

by Tanja
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.  You can enjoy a nice stroll around the intimate garden (it’s not big), feel like you’re in the tropics in their tropical greenhouses and sit down for a coffee on their beautiful outdoor terrace.

Summer program at the Amsterdam Hortus

The Amsterdam botanical garden is open every day from 10 am till 5. at 14.00 (2 pm). In June, July and August there is a free tour every Saturday at 3 pm. Every Sunday in July and August the Amsterdam botanical garden is open till 19.00 (7 pm) and Dutch jazz musicians play live jazz on the outdoor terrace. 


Keep informed for their special occasions on their website. This includes the 2-nights blossoming of the giant water lily Victoria; a picnic in the garden; a nightly search for moths; dinner events inside the greenhouse and other special guided tours and events.

RECOMMENDED READ: Amsterdam Calendar of Events

The History of the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus

The Amsterdam Hortus Botanical gardens was founded in 1638 as a herb garden for doctors and apothecaries. On their large voyages to exotic places all over the world, seamen and sailing scientists on the ships of the Dutch East Indies Company and the West Indies Company brought back plants and seeds.

The Hortus Botanicus collected these and the collection quickly grew. The Amsterdam botanical gardens now contain over 6000 different tropical and indigenous trees and plants.

The Buildings

Outdoor terrace at Hortus Amsterdam.
Live jazz in July and August at the outdoor terrace of the Amsterdam botanical garden.

Strolling around the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus, you walk on lovely bridges, enter a pavilion from the late 1600s, and an entrance gate from the early 1700s.

The charming Orangery dates back from 1875. There are 2 examples of the Amsterdam School architecture: the Palm greenhouse and the Hugo de Vries Laboratory, dating back from 1912 and 1915. In three climate greenhouse, you can experience the warm damp air of the tropics. Children might enjoy the jungle trail or the treetop walk.

A small greenhouse where you can walk around is the butterfly greenhouse. The butterflies lie their eggs on many of the plants. It is then up to the garden staff to collect the eggs and caterpillars. In a small greenhouse, the caterpillars turn into butterflies and are returned to the butterfly greenhouses.

Carnivorous plants

Among the remarkable plants that the Hortus has collected over the years are plants that catch live insects and digest them. These carnivorous plants have their own ways to catch the bugs: from sticky traps to liquid-filed pitchers that drown the insects.

Amsterdam botanical garden

Interesting as well are many of the trees. There is an enormous Turkish hazel. This tree is more than 200 years old, the oldest and largest of its species in The Netherlands. You can ask for a special folder with a list of the special Amsterdam botanical garden trees.

Giant water lily Victoria

Giant water lily blooms only at night at Amsterdam botanical gardens
Giant water lily at Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus.

The Amsterdam Hortus is particularly proud of its giant water lily, the Victoria Amazonica. The leaves of this water plant grow as large as 2 meters. The edges of the leaves are turned up.

The flower of the giant water lily opens up during the evening. Each flower blooms for just 2 nights in a row. After the second night, the flower closes and disappears under the water surface.

How to get to the Amsterdam botanical garden

  • The Amsterdam botanical garden Hortus Botanicus is located in the centre in the old Jewish Quarter, walking distance from Waterloo Square and Rembrandt Square. The address is Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam
  • From Amsterdam Central Station you can take tram 9 or 14, get out at Mr. Visserplein.
    By metro you can take metro 51, 53 and 54. Get out at Waterlooplein stop (take exit Hortusplantsoen).
  • The Amsterdam botanical garden is open every day from 10 to 5.
  • The Hortus Botanical is also a venue for dinners and weddings and allows for wedding photos to be taken there.

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