The Hortus Botanicus (or the Botanical Gardens of Amsterdam University) provide a quiet recluse from the hustle and bustle of hectic Amsterdam. Those looking for a peaceful afternoon or a nice relaxing stroll should visit the garden. Originally, the botanical garden was a medieval monastery herb garden, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The collection grew in the seventeenth century through the trading of plants and seeds for medicinal purposes. The Hortus Botanicus houses over six thousand trees and plants. This includes a two thousand year old Agave cactus! A huge hothouse with three different tropical climates (tropic, sub-tropic, and desert) was recently added to the seven climate-controlled greenhouses. Some of the greenhouses are home to beautiful butterfly gardens that will amaze the most serene of visitors.
The greenhouses, butterfly gardens, and rock ponds make for an intimate and fascinating travel destination. Speaking of intimate, in the middle of the garden is the café. Claimed to be the most beautiful and serene café in Amsterdam! Patrons claim the food is as enjoyable as the scenery. The garden also hosts a variety of children's activities throughout the year. There are guided tours for visitors who are interested in the history and science of the beautiful botanical garden.