Hortus Botanicus Leiden – Leiden, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Hortus Botanicus Leiden

A 'living museum' in Leiden, the oldest of its kind in the Netherlands. 


It may not be as central or have as many celebrity specimens as the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, but Leiden’s Hortus Botanicus is a treasured haven for local students, and the keeper of flora from all four corners of the world.

The oldest botanical garden in the Nederlands, this beautiful natural science center was founded in 1590,  less than 50 years after the Botanical Garden of Pisa (Guinness Book of World Records holder for “oldest botanical garden”) was brought to life. It was installed by the University of Leiden by pioneer botanist and Flemish doctor Carolus Clusius, whose original garden behind the academy building contained over 1,000 different plant species and introduced several new specimen via the Dutch East India Company, including the much-loved tulip. 

Today, more than 10,000 species from all over the world reside in the garden’s various beds and greenhouses, including a significant carnivorous plant collection and an impressive selection of cycads. The university works alongside the NCB Naturalis (Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis) researching, preserving, and cultivating endangered species, and serious horticultural students flock here to study amongst some of the rarest and most captivating flora to be kept all in one serene oasis tucked away in the historical center, season after season.

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