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THE BOTANICAL GARDENS IN LEUVEN - A HIDDEN GEM
Location
Kapucijnenvoer 30, 3000 Leuven
  • BY ANN ENGLANDER 

    Tucked out of sight in a hidden corner but within walking distance of the city centre is the 2.2-hectare botanical garden of Leuven. It is the oldest botanical garden in the country, originally established in 1738 by Henri Rega, Professor of Medicine at the University of Leuven. Rega’s initial aim was to provide herbs for medical use. Nowadays, the garden has a much more extensive display of a large variety of plants, trees and flowers. The garden is also known for encouraging its scientific, educational and recreational aspects aimed at the general public. There is a large selection of plant varieties on display in the Orangerie and in the open air. 

    There are also many delightful and unexpected statues dotted about the garden. 

    The garden was seized by the State in 1797 but re-established in the 1820s. The site of the garden underwent various changes – a girls’ school, a park, etc. Nowadays, it has reverted to the creator’s original intention – a lovely garden in the middle of a busy university city. It comprises 450 square metres of glasshouses including a large collection of water plants and tropical and subtropical varieties. 

    The garden is a popular spot for picnics and relaxation, with numerous benches and beautiful flower displays to enjoy. The Sunken Garden is also worth a visit. There is a delightful pond full of water lilies providing a home for turtles and frogs. 

    The Orangerie was granted monument status by Royal Decree, and the entire garden was designated as a special landscape. Additionally, the garden is a member of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to uniting botanical gardens in a cooperative network to preserve biodiversity.

    Open weekdays: 8:00 AM-8:00 PM 

    Sundays & public holidays: 9:00 AM-8:00 PM

    Dogs are not allowed.

    Image from Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

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