“My glasses and camera fog up for ten minutes when I step into the first greenhouse of Hortus Botanicus in Leiden. This sure feels like I’m in a tropical place. The explosion of beautiful green palm trees also adds to the illusion. Welcome to the jungle!”
Only a 20 minute train ride from Amsterdam, Leiden is definitely a must visit when you’re in the country. The best way to describe Leiden would be ‘a miniature Amsterdam’. There are plenty of beautiful canals to see.
Not only that, Leiden also has a beautiful botanical garden in the centre of the city. Dating from 1590 the Hortus Botanicus is the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands and Western Europe. It has several tropical greenhouses with big palm trees or small, colourful orchids, cacti tucked in a corner, carnivorous plants just hanging around: basically all kinds of exotic plants.
You’ll feel like you’re walking in the jungle in these warm greenhouses. The warmest of them all is the Victoria greenhouse, which accommodates the famous Victoria Amazonica (great water lily) in summer time. With giant butterflies flying around you’ll really feel like you’re in a tropical place.
Tired of the warm greenhouses and want to get some fresh air? There’s enough to see outside, like the Japanese garden or the Chinese herbal garden.