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Peaceful gem in Amsterdam stone desert

There’s building sites with moving cranes. There’s traffic, electric saw and ramming noise. There’s asphalt, corporate buildings, a hospital and university institutes. In the middle of all that business and grayness, the botanic garden Zuidas of Amsterdam is a peaceful gem.

For a few years I lived quite close by and had been passing it a lot of times, but never realised it was there – for forty years already. Now I found the time to visit this garden of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – actually I was lollygagging a bit in between two appointments in the area.

It is a small lot, but very charming and you could spend a few hours here. Just take your time and enjoy, have a coffee and go for some green shopping.

The garden that is surrounded by little canals.

In the middle is a greenhouse complex with various climates.

Peaceful spot

In the cactus and succulent greenhouse stays the largest collection in the Netherlands, with plants that might be older than a century!

Peaceful spot

A peaceful gem? There’s quite some wicked and aggressive species over here…

Peaceful spot

Even a (small!) Chinese miniature landscape garden, The Penjing Garden, is incorporated.

You’ll encounter many types of bamboo along the paths.

Approximately 40 large trees grow here, like fruit trees, the famous handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata) and a gingko biloba.

Peaceful gem

The rich plant collection counts more than 6.000 species.

An interesting story is… the plants that are taken into custody at Schiphol Airport are sent here to be taken care of.

These asylum plants are on the red list of endangered species and may not be transported to other botanical gardens, even not within The Netherlands. They are legally protected and no property of the University. The plants are adding to the biological diversity of the earth and give researchers the unique chance to examine them and their DNA.

Peaceful spot

Bee house in red.

Those yellow building site offices might do well as a tiny house.

peaceful gem

Nice little corners to sit and enjoy the surroundings, or to read a chapter of your book.

Patients, staff and visitors of the nearby hospital are often found here. They are filling their lungs with the sweet smells of the garden and very happy to have a garden so close by. Also university students and employees are taking a break here. “It has been shown that plants in the work environment improve worker’s performances and well-being”, I read on the website.

peaceful gem

A large group of dedicated volunteers assists the garden staff and helps in the shop.

Peaceful spot

Shop for groceries, seeds, plants or pots. There’s also a collection of small presents with a green theme.

peaceful gem

The city is never far away, but in the garden, busy everyday life seems to disappear.

peaceful gem

The garden is open to the public throughout the year every day. You do not have to pay an entrance fee, but feel free to donate something for the maintenance.


Information about this peaceful gem in Amsterdam

  • The garden is called Botanische Tuin Zuidas and the address is Van Der Boechorststraat 8 Amsterdam.
  • There’s bus, metro and tram lines with a stop nearby.
  • The website of the garden provides more info on opening hours, news and activities, like concerts, lectures, guided tours, yoga or painting workshops.
  • Every year the garden participates in an international seed exchange with seeds from the garden’s own plants. The seeds are collected with much expertise, cleaned, sorted and packaged, and later for sale to visitors.

More reads about green Amsterdam on this website