VU Hortus


Threatened Botanical Oasis
when ongoing battle to preserve this rare ‘free haven’  where Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam  with An intertational collaboration with over 500 Botanical gardens and the VU-Hortus also has contact with numerous Biblical and physic plant gardens worldwide. Commissioned by: actiecomité VU Hortus  link http://www.vriendenvuhortus.nl  

The Hortus VU is a hidden treasure, founded by the University of Amsterdam in 1967 on an island of approximately one hectare of former polderland next to the VU Hospital in Amsterdam South. Now the existence of these beautiful gardens are being threatened and could be lost forever. It must be possible to intergrate this compact Hortus as a unique city park in future developments, saving it’s botanical, cultural and social value to enrich the future diversity and connect the soul and living memory not only for the patients of the existing hospital, but also of the local residents. It’s a sad misconception that places like this cannot add economic value to a development.

Over the years the Hortus built up an extensive plant collection of more than 10.000 species. The four glasshouses accommodate a stunning collection of numerous varieties of hardy ferns, cacti and succulents, as well as a unique selection of carnivorous plants, Clivia’s and orchids. In the middle of the jungle of the tropical section you will find a small pond with terrapins.

The main part of the garden has an informal layout with narrow meandering paths leading you through overgrown borders. The garden also features an unusual collection of trees and shrubs, lush groups of waving bamboo, a wide range of annual, biennial and perennial plants such as Salvia’s, Euphorbia, Hellebori and Pelargonium’s. Furthermore there is a beautiful rock garden with plants from the Alpine region and a small glasshouse with Mediterranean vegetation. In the core of the garden is a formal, more geometrical, part with many special tub plants, a Japanese Bonsai collection, rare Australian shrubs and a surreal Chinese Penjing display.

The botanical garden is well worth a visit, and not only during the summer months, also throughout the winter, when the structure and textures of various plants become more visible.

And surprisingly there is no entry fee to this free haven. Among the visitors are patients taking refuge from the neighbouring hospital. They are welcome to shelter in the glasshouse, wander along the many footpaths and enjoy the garden and rest or contemplate on one of the many well placed benches.