De Hortus Botanicus is located just east of Amsterdam centre and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.
With its garden and special greenhouses it has a collection of over 4,000 plant species. It is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours and connect with nature.
The Hortus was opened by the city council in 1638 – originally as a medicinal herb garden to help combat plague-type illnesses which gripped Europe at the time. Its collection then expanded as Dutch traders bought back exotic plants from all over the world, particularly from South Africa and Asia.
Today the Hortus organisation does important work ranging from education to the preservation of plant species.
It specialises in the care of cycads and other rare plants from the African Cape region. You will also find an excellent collection of medicinal plants, carnivorous plants and palms.
The Hortus is spread over 1.2 hectares and is split into 29 sections for different types of plant species.
There are 7 greenhouses on site – including the monumental Palm Greenhouse (1912), a butterfly greenhouse and the modern Three-climate greenhouse (1993) which has desert, sub-tropical and tropical climates. Walking from outside into the hot and humid tropical section is certainly an experience!
There are leaflets at the entrance (Dutch and English) with info and maps – including the Tree Route which highlights 24 trees in the garden, some over 200 years old.
Alternatively, the Hortus app offers the Highlights Route and Tree Route through your smartphone.
The Orangery (built in 1875 as a lecture hall) hosts the Hortus cafe inside the grounds – this is a great spot for a drink / snack with outdoor terrace – products served are organically and locally sourced.
There is a large Hortus store onsite located in the former director’s chalet-style home which was rebuilt in 1862. It sells plants, garden-related products, books, fair-trade food and various gifts. The store is also accessible to the public without an entry ticket.
If you wish to visit the gardens during a quieter moment then the hours 1000-1100 and 1600-1700 are normally the least busy.
Of further interest in Amsterdam: the small Zuidas Botanic Garden in Amsterdam Zuid offers free entrance.
It is recommended to pre-book a ticket and timeslot.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 1000-1700. (Closes 2100 on Thu & Sun between 21 Jun – 21 Sep)|
|Admission Prices (2022)||€12.00 for adults, €6.50 for children 5-14, students and CJP cultural youth pass holders. FREE entry for children 0-4 and Iamsterdam City Card holders. Note, Museumkaart is NOT valid.|
An annual pass costs €40 (one person) or €80 (family).
You can order the Iamsterdam City Card online here which gives free entrance to the Hortus.
|Getting There||De Hortus can easily be reached from the centre of Amsterdam on foot – head towards Waterlooplein and continue further east along the Plantage Middenlaan. From Amsterdam Central take tram 14 to the Mr. Visserplein stop. Metro lines 51, 53 and 54 serve Waterlooplein.|
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, Plantage Middenlaan 2A, 1018 DD Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 625 9021, dehortus.nl
Last updated 15 September 2022. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.