The gloom is a lie

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in April 2017, so this post may not be representative of this site today.

Do not be fooled by these cloudy skies! The white soon gave way to blue and cleared almost completely. Not that gloomy and cloudy weather isn’t also something I love, or that doesn’t suit Amsterdam splendidly. There’s something about that Dutch architecture that screams rain, and clouds, and even fog, if you get lucky (I did not), and so while blue skies will be closer the farther down you scroll… let us enjoy this bright gloom while it lasts.

Ivy and Bros

We found a lot of really cute places at which to eat (though unfortunately I didn’t take that many pictures), but this one was my favorite. I’m going to tell you a secret: I did not love Amsterdam, but I would return for another slice of this cheesecake. My actual meal was great too, don’t get me wrong, but whenever I think of Amsterdam, I think of this cheesecake first and of everything else later ❤

Hortus Botanicus

I grew up seeing greenhouses in movies and on TV, but had never had a chance to visit one — until I went to Amsterdam.

Originally called the Hortus Medicus (“Hortus Botanicus” just means “Botanical Garden,” so this translates to “Medical Garden”), the garden was founded by the city council as an herb garden for doctors and apothecaries. It served as well as a place for education for the city’s future physicians.

Most of its initial collection was gathered by the Dutch East India Company for medicinal and commercial use and brought back to Amsterdam. The garden was even part of history — the history of coffee in Europe, that is. There was apparently such a thing as a race to get coffee plants to grow back in Europe, and the Dutch were victorious above the rest after Pieter van den Broecke, a Dutch merchant, acquired some from Mocha, Yemen, and brought them back to the Hortus Botanicus. These were later used in the Dutch colonies around the world to start coffee plantations.

The Dutch did the same with oil palms brought from Mauritius, which were left at the garden for a while, producing seeds that were later taken to Southeast Asia and used to establish plantations that provided the Netherlands with a great source of profit.

Hugo de Vries, a Dutch botanist and geneticist, and who introduced the idea of mutation to the theory of evolution, became its director in 1885, which brought international attention to the garden.

A hundred years later, the garden nearly went bankrupt after the University of Amsterdam stopped paying its expenses, but individuals joined together to prevent its closure. Today, the Hortus Botanicus is partly supported by the Amsterdam City Council.

The Hortus Botanicus was the first time I visited a greenhouse, and it definitely started a beautiful love affair with all the wonders to be found inside these lovely glass structures (if you’re curious, you can see other botanic gardens I’ve visited here).

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