31202Hortus Botanicus: An Ancient Oasis in Amsterdam

The wonderful city of Amsterdam famously has a world of culture to explore. It is one of Europe’s most progressive and important cities, moulded by liberalism and tolerance.

Unsurprisingly the fascinating and fun culture attracts people from all around the world, so sometimes you will feel the need to escape the crowds and take a breath. Fortunately there are many excellent places to do this here, including the fabulous Hortus Botanicus where you can also soak up some culture and history at the same time.

Hortus Botanicus is a beautiful botanical garden located in the centre of the city which dates back to 1638, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It was originally established as a herb garden with medicinal plants for the doctors and phar-macists of the city. This was important at this time as the plague epidemic in Leiden and Utrecht was claiming thousands of victims. Today it is a peaceful tourist attraction which is ideal for a leisurely afternoon stroll on a warm day. Here is what you can expect to find on your visit:

Greenhouses: Hortus Botanicus features over 6,000 different plant species, including rare specimens such as a 2,000-year-old agave cactus. These are all contained within four stunning greenhouses, including a unique three-climate structure allowing for scrub-land, desert and jungle species all to be kept under one roof. There is also a butterfly greenhouse containing hundreds of tropical butterflies, a palm greenhouse and a glas-sroom which is used as an educational space.

The Garden: Strolling around the garden is a lovely experience that will showcase an enormous range of important plants that were used for the city’s healthcare along with flowers, trees and other species. The garden also features an idyllic large pond with a nearby Rhododendron collection that bursts into life during spring.

Key Collections: Hortus Botanicus is home to a few key collections which any nature lover will enjoy. These include the wide range of important medicinal plants, the South African collection, carnivorous species, cycads, palms, container plants and many un-usual and/or old trees.

The Crown Jewels: A few of the items found here are considered Crown Jewels due to their beauty, historical significance or rarity. This includes the remarkable giant water lily with the largest flower in the world (Victoria amazonica) and a group of primitive plants that evolved over 300 million years ago known as cycads, which are protected by inter-national law.

How to Get to Amsterdam

Flights from the UK into Schipol airport take under an hour and are made regularly by many of the major carriers throughout the week. You will not want to queue for a cab or use public transport – it’s best to pre-book an airport taxi. Schipol airport is just a 20-minute drive from the city centre, so you will be at your hotel in no time at all. When booking, always use a reputable transfer company for a fast, efficient and safe airport taxi. Schipol airport can be busy, but the driver should be waiting for you upon arrival to help you get your trip off to a smooth start.

Amsterdam is a fabulous destination for culture vultures, but when you want to avoid the busy city centre then you cannot beat the wonderful Hortus Botanicus, which holds an important place in the city’s history.

Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an affordable airport taxi, Schipol drivers are ready and waiting to ensure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport in Amsterdam swiftly and safely.

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