Floriade, Keukenhof 
and Amsterdam 2002


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Day 2 Tour of Amsterdam and Hortus Botanicus
 
amsterdam1.jpg (164132 bytes) We set out on our first day for a tour of Amsterdam…we had a wonderful guide who went out of her way to show us the special charm of Amsterdam. The canals are simply beautiful and the architecture!

Amsterdam got it’s name from the dam in the river Amstel. This dam was built to keep the outer water from flooding the town. To enable ships to enter the town a lock was built that was closed when the outer water reached a certain height. This water level seems to be the origin of the Amsterdam ordnance datum. This ordnance datum was and is the referral point for all construction in the Netherlands. I have some pictures of the different levels that our group is standing beside and our guide is speaking about. It was interesting to note that as we were standing next to the concrete pile, that we were actually below sea level!

Amsterdam was originally built on wooden piles. In medieval times these round piles rested on an upper layer of sand. Today concrete square piles are used.

In the afternoon, we visited Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden in Amsterdam and one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. What a treat. It is what I would call almost an enclosed garden so everything is very sheltered and in the middle of this city a real gem.

This living museum dates from 1638 and was established at its present location as far back as 1682. The glasshouses (there are three) are filled with plants, including a cycad palm that is over 300 years old. Did you know that a Dutch merchant sneaked a coffee plant out of Ethiopia, which ended up in the Amsterdam botanical garden in 1706? It was the first coffee plant in Europe, and this tiny plant would eventually be the progenitor of the coffee cultures of Brazil, for decades the largest coffee producer in the world.

The Hortus Botanicus presently houses around 8,000 different sorts of plants. A plant must have been collected from it’s natural environment to be part of this collection….a wonderful and quiet place to visit!

If you see a picture of a bridge with trees hanging over it, it is an 18th century bridge just behind one of the glasshouses that I just happened to see when I took a wrong turn…what luck!
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Hope you enjoyed this tour and I look forward to seeing you on one of our future tours ... Donna

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row