In the 17th century, medicinal herbs were vital to the city’s health care. Therefore, when the Hortus was founded in 1638, medicinal plants made up the core of the plant collection. The plants were used for the education of doctors and pharmacists in the 17th century.
In 1646, Johannes Snippendaal was appointed as prefect (director) of the Hortus Medicus Amsterdam. In that same, year he managed to catalogue the entire collection of the Hortus. By the end of that year, he counted 796 different plant species, the majority of which were medicinal plants, but special ornamental plants were also included. By making this list, he wrote the first catalogue of the Hortus Medicus Amsterdam.
In 2007, the Hortus completed a unique project: a translation of Snippendaal’s catalogue and the realization of a garden containing the plants described in the catalogue. The plants growing in this Snippendaal Garden were also being cultivated in the Hortus Medicus in 1646. Nothing is known about the layout of the Hortus Medicus. Bureau SB4 (Wageningen) made a contemporary design, reminiscent of the straight rectangular beds of 17th century gardens.
The plants in the Snippendaal Catalogue can be found here (PDF)