Amsterdam's Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. Thousands of plants from thousands of species grow here in the outdoor gardens and seven climactically controlled greenhouses.
Originally, the Hortus was a medicinal herb garden, founded in 1682 by the Amsterdam City Council. At that time, herbs were of vital importance as the basis of medicines and doctors and pharmacists trained in the preparation of prescriptions at the Hortus.
Thanks to the ships of the Dutch East India Company, the Hortus expanded quickly in the 18th century. The ships brought not only herbs and spices, but also exotic ornamental plants. A few of the Hortus' "crown jewels" date from that time - such as the 300-year-old Eastern Cape giant cycad.
The Orangery sits in the middle of the gardens and has one of the most beautiful outdoor cafés in Amsterdam.