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Clusius Garden

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One of the three oldest modern botanical gardens in the world , the Clusius Garden at the Hortus Botanicus of the University of Leiden in Holland is a reproduction of the garden as it was at the end of the 16th century

The Clusius Garden in Leiden follows the founder, Carolus Clusius' original 16th century concept.

1 review about Clusius Garden

The Clusius Garden at the University of Leiden: What You Get When Make Good Choices

  • Aug 18, 2009
  • by
When the people of Leiden in Holland rose up against the forces of  of Spain in 1572, they opened the dikes so that the city and surrounding country-side were flooded and help could arrive by ship.  As a reward for their self-sacrifice and courage, they were offered a choice between a partial tax exemption or the establishment of a university.  They chose the latter, and the University of Leiden   opened its doors in 1575.  A smart choice, it seems to me. 

The photo is of the charming reproduction of one of the first modern botanical gardens, the Clusius Garden   one of the splendors of the new university and now part of the University's larger Hortus Botanicus..

Carolus Clusius was engaged in 1590 by the directors of the  university to set up a garden where plants could be studied in a systematic fashion. At the time only two others existed, in Padua and Pisa in Italy. The garden eventually outgrew its walls, as the Hortus became a well-respected centre for botanical study. But in 1931 the original garden was reconstructed following Clusius's plans. It was renovated in the 1990s for its 400th anniversary, and now is a true delight to visit.

We went there when we visited our daugher Elin when she was studying at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague, and I was researching Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens. At the time I hadn't intended to include the garden in the book, but seeing it convinced me any book about the history of botanical gardens wouldn't be complete without a chapter on it. The memories of the time we spent there remain very fresh.

So is the lesson about what to you should do if you're offered a choice between taxes and a university. But then what would you expect from a city which also sheltered the Pilgrims before they
got enough money together to hire The Mayflower!

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August 21, 2009
Thanks for adding the book. I hadn't notice that it was you!
August 18, 2009
What a very interesting history.  I can't help but wonder what it was like to study botany in the 1500's.  That photo is amazing, by the way.  I'd love to live in a house covered by plants!

By the way, I added your book as a data point!
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