|The Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. Today, there are more than 6,000 plants (>4,000 species) growing in the garden and greenhouses.
The Hortus is located in the Plantage district on the edge of the hectic center of Amsterdam. Behind the 300-year-old gates, however, the bustle of the city seems to disappear.
Originally, the Hortus was a medicinal herb garden, founded in 1638 by the Amsterdam City Council. At that time, herbs were of vital importance as the basis of medicines and the city had just experienced a plague epidemic. Doctors and pharmacists trained in the preparation of prescriptions at the Hortus.
Thanks to the ships of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC), the Hortus expanded quickly in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The VOC ships brought not only herbs and spices, but also exotic ornamental plants. In fact, a few of the Hortus' 'crown jewels' date from that time, e.g. the 300-year-old Eastern Cape giant cycad.
The Orangery is located in the middle of this living museum and possesses one of the most beautiful outdoor cafés in Amsterdam. After an extensive renovation, it reopened late in 2003. Now, in addition to its function as café, the Orangery rents two assembly rooms for exclusive parties and meetings.