Giant water lilies, carnivorous pitcher plants, rare and endangered plants and a host of colorful flowers await at Leiden’s botanical garden.
Stop and smell the roses and other blossoms in Hortus Botanicus, the Netherland’s oldest botanical gardens. It was begun in the 1590s and includes plants brought back from around the world by the Dutch East India Company. Wander through greenhouses full of tropical plants, see the Japanese garden and learn about the properties of medicinal plants used over many centuries.
Your first stop in this beautiful spot is the Clusius Garden, which mirrors the landscaping and planting planned by botanist Carolus Clusius in the 16th century.
The Asian orchid collection of Leiden’s Hortus Botanicus is one of the world’s largest. Many have been brought back from Papua New Guinea. You’ll also find a fantastic collection of about 250 types of carnivorous pitcher plants from Southeast Asia.
Enjoy the Japanese Gardens planted in honor of the German doctor who worked in Japan for the Dutch East India Company and who provided the Hortus Botanicus with many of its Japanese plant species. The giant water lilies in the Victoria Glasshouse, the jade flowers from the Philippines and a ginkgo biloba tree planted in 1785 are highlights of the gardens. There are also several extremely rare plants here, such as the Wollemi pine, seen only in fossils until its discovery in Sydney in 1994.
Savor the sights and smells of the Hortus Botanicus from a sunny café table, with a glass of beer and some fried Dutch croquettes or bitterballen, or just have a a fresh mint tea in the garden. Through summer the garden is open daily. In winter Hortus Botanicus is open every day but Monday. There is a fee for entry but a Netherlands Museum Card (Museumkaart) will get you in for free.