In the course of the next 6 months the entrance area to the Hortus and the Winter Garden will be given a complete makeover; the design is the work of the architect Gerard Smit. The changes are necessary because visitor numbers have increased dramatically. In 2010 there were 100,000 visitors to the Hortus and by 2017 this number had increased to an amazing 178,536. The Hortus has to rebuild if it is to cope with the increasing stream of visitors in the coming years. The new entrance area will be ready for use in May 2019; until that time the cash desk, shop and restaurant will have a temporary home in the splendid Orangery.
The Hortus will continue to be accessible via the current entrance on the Rapenburg for the duration of the project; the Singelpark trail around the Winter Garden will be diverted from Tuesday 13 November onwards.
The emphasis of this project is on improving access and improving the public facilities: the entrance, the cash-desk area, the museum shop and the toilets. In addition, the Winter Garden will become a meeting place, featuring a flexible layout with plenty of room for people to meet each other, learn, relax and make discoveries. It will be a space in which the ‘crown jewels’ from the collection of prehistoric plants can be displayed in beautiful surroundings and where visitors can enjoy the peace and quiet.
Bridge of discovery
If finances permit, a 6.6 metre (21 foot) high ‘bridge of discovery’ will be constructed in the Winter Garden. From this bridge, the visitor will be able to experience the plants in the glasshouse from tip to crown. Tales of the origin and the history of plants and prehistoric plants will be told here. Funds are still being raised for the construction of this bridge.