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Three Climate Greenhouse

The Three Climate Greenhouse is a genuine eye-catcher. It was designed in 1993 by Zwarts & Jansma Architects as a huge, ultramodern construction. In this greenhouse one can find three different zones with different climates, representing the subtropics, the desert, and the tropics. Each zone has its own temperature, humidity, and air circulation. Different routes take you through dry scrubland, desert, or jungle.

Palm Greenhouse

The Palm Greenhouse is an official monument, and a very important part of our cultural heritage. It was designed in 1911 by architect Johan Melchior van der Mey (1878-1949), ordered by professor Hugo de Vries. In winter, the monumental  Palm Greenhouse (built in 1912) accommodates a large collection of palms, cycads, and container plants. While most of the container plants are moved outside in summer, some, like the famous 350-year-old Eastern Cape giant cycad (Encephalartos altensteinii), remain in the Palm Greenhouse all year round. Naturally, this also applies to the few plants growing in beds in the greenhouse. It is said that Hugo de Vries himself planted the cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum burmannii) and the two ficus trees (F. macrophylla and F. lyrata) in the Palm Greenhouse for teaching purposes. The lacy tree philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum), with its long aerial roots, is one of the most conspicuous plants in the greenhouse.

Butterfly Greenhouse

Hundreds of tropical butterflies frolic around the small Butterfly Greenhouse. They lay their eggs on the leafs of the plants. Each day, Hortus employees collect the eggs and young larvae. Subsequently they are raised in a separate greenhouse to the pupal stage. When they are about to emerge, the pupae are taken back to the Butterfly Greenhouse, where they are hung in a special pupal cabinet. As soon as the butterflies emerge, they can fly freely in the greenhouse.

The tropical plants that grow here are mostly economic crop plants. They are eaten, used for their fibers, or used as medicine. The large coffee plant in this greenhouse is a good example of such a plant. You will also find cacao trees, tea, rice, pepper plants, and sugarcane. These plants have an important role in the educational program of the Hortus.


The Glassroom is the education space of the Hortus, for school visits, drawing courses, lectures and microscopic research for students. If not in use for eductaion, the Glassroom is also open to visitors. There is a permament exhibition that explains how botanic collections are gathered and structured, how plants are used in our daily lives, and you can experience plants with all your senses.

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You can reach us on our general number: +31 20 625 9021