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From April 9 up to and including November 26, 2020

Attention: due to the national corona measures, this exhibition can be seen temporarily online, see below.

In 2020 many parties in Leiden will pay attention to the fact that a ship called Mayflower left for America 400 years ago. All activities in the city of Leiden promise to offer a rich and nuanced picture of this event. In the Hortus botanicus Leiden we focus on the American plants that were known in our regions at that time.

The most famous botanists from the second half of the sixteenth century were Carolus Clusius, Rembert Dodoens and Mathias Lobelius. This "Botanical Renaissance" also included the establishment of university botanical gardens, such as Hortus botanicus Leiden (1590). The Hortus was already 30 years old when the first group of Pilgrims exchanged Leiden for the New World. There is no evidence of it, but they have undoubtedly have walked in our freely accessible garden.

From a list of possessions of a deceased Pilgrim we know that a book by herbalist Dodoens was on board, but we do not know which edition.

The Malines doctor Rembert Dodoens (1517 - 1585), also known as Rembertus Dodonaeus, was one of the most prominent botanists of his time. Dodoens was appointed professor at Leiden University in 1582. In his Cruydt-Boeck many plants are described on the basis of characteristics and divided into classes. The system of classification of plants and animals, as Linnaeus worked it out, took almost two centuries to come. In addition, the botanical work contains many clear images. The Cruydt-Boeck appeared in various languages ​​such as English, French and Latin. Over the years, the work was reprinted, but also supplemented and updated. The exhibition uses the Cruydt-Boeck, that was printed in Leiden in 1608, as a guideline. The botanical work also describes plants from the New World, including corn, tomato, tobacco, pumpkin and sunflower.

What can you expect:

  • A map that leads you past ten 'plants that have travelled';
  • A walking booklet that takes you through the Hortus, but also to the Pilgrim Garden;
  • With sufficient funding, a new comic book for children aged 8-14 (Dutch only);
  • A program of tours, lectures and workshops. 
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