University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden
The University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden , usually referred to simply as Copenhagen Botanical Garden, is a botanical garden
Botanical garden
A botanical garden The terms botanic and botanical, and garden or gardens are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word botanic is generally reserved for the earlier, more traditional gardens. is a well-tended area displaying a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names...

 located in the centre of Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. It covers an area of 10 hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

s and is particularly noted for its extensive complex of historical glasshouse
A greenhouse is a building in which plants are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to very large buildings...

s dating from 1874.

The garden is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, which is itself part of the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen consists of both mathematical and natural sciences, and is divided into 11 institutes including the Natural History Museum of Denmark...

. It serves both research, educational and recreational purposes.


The botanical garden was first established in 1600 but it was moved twice before it was ultimately given its current location in 1870. It was probably founded to secure a collection of Danish medicinal plants after the Reformation had seen many convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

s and their gardens abandoned or demolished.

The first garden: Hortus Medicus

The first garden, known as Hortus Medicus, was created on 2 August 1600 by royal charter on a piece of land donated by the king, Christian IV
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

. It was located in Skidenstraede (present-day Krystalgad) and a residence for one of the professors of the university was also built at the site. It rested upon the professor in residence to maintain the garden, irrespective of which chair he held. In 1621 Ole Worm
Ole Worm
Ole Worm , who often went by the Latinized form of his name Olaus Wormius, was a Danish physician and antiquary.-Life:...

 personally took over the responsibility for the garden and he enriched it with a great number of Danish medicinal plants as well as rare foreign species he received from his many professional contacts abroad.

Oeder's Garden

A second botanical garden was laid out by Georg Christian Oeder
Georg Christian Oeder
Georg Christian Edler von Oldenburg Oeder was a German-Danish botanist, medical doctor, economist and social reformer. His name is particularly associated with the initiation of the plate work Flora Danica.-Life and work:Oeder was the son of a Bavarian parish minister, Georg Ludwig Oeder...

 in 1752 in the newly founded Frederiksstaden
Frederiksstaden is a district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Constructed during the reign of Frederick V in the second half of the 18th century and it is considered to be one of the most important rococo complexes in Europe....

 district at the request of Frederik V
Frederick V of Denmark
Frederick V was king of Denmark and Norway from 1746, son of Christian VI of Denmark and Sophia Magdalen of Brandenburg-Kulmbach.-Early life:...

 at a site bisected by Amaliegade
Amaliegade is a street in central Copenhagen, Denmark, which makes up the longer of the two axes on which the Rococo district Frederiksstaden is centred...

 just north of Frederik's Hospital
Frederiks Hospital
The royal Frederiks Hospital was Denmark's first hospital in the present-day meaning of the word. It was founded by king Frederik V and financed by the earnings from the Norwegian Postal Service....

. The smaller western section, covering just under half a hectare, was equipped with a greenhouse while the eastern section remained largely unplanted. The garden was opened to the public in 1763.

In 1770 part of Oeder's Garden was put at the disposal of the University's botanical garden. The preceding year Christian VII
Christian VII of Denmark
Christian VII was King of Denmark and Norway and Duke of Schleswig and Holstein from 1766 until his death. He was the son of Danish King Frederick V and his first consort Louisa, daughter of King George II of Great Britain....

 had donated 2,500 thaler
The Thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in various currencies as the dollar or tolar. Etymologically, "Thaler" is an abbreviation of "Joachimsthaler", a coin type from the city of Joachimsthal in Bohemia, where some of the first such...

 to the University, the interest from which would be used for the Botanical Garden. This had created the economical foundation for an enlargement but since there was no space for it at its original address, the off-site solution was ultimately opted for.

Oeder became the Botanical Garden's first director. In order to emphasise its economic significance, as well as in the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, he began a work in progress which was to become Flora Danica
Flora Danica
A product of The Age of Enlightenment, Flora Danica is a comprehensive atlas of botany, containing folio-sized pictures of all the wild plants native to Denmark, in the period from 1761-1883....

, an illustrated work describing all Danish and Norwegian plants. Oeder was fired in 1771 in connection with the Johann Friedrich Struensee
Johann Friedrich Struensee
Count Johann Friedrich Struensee was a German doctor. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government. He rose in power to a position of “de facto” regent of the country, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms...


The Charlottenborg Garden

In 1778 both gardens were closed when the king reacquired the land at Amaliegade and at the same time donated a tract of land behind Charlottenborg Palace
Charlottenborg Palace
Charlottenborg Palace is a large town mansion located on the corner of Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally built as a residence for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve, it has served as the base of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts since its foundation in 1754...

 for the establishment of a new and larger botanical garden. Plans for this garden received royal approval on 22 July 1778. It was to have two directors, one appointed by the University and the other by the King. The first University appointment to this post was Christian Friis Rottbøll, who had already managed the garden since Oeder's retirement, and the first royal appointment was Johan Theodor Holmskjold
Johan Theodor Holmskjold
Johan Theodor Holmskiold was a Danish botanist, courtier and administrator.-Early life and career:Johan Theodor was born 14 June 1731 in Nyborg on the Danish island of Funen as the oldest of eight children to Nicolai Holm and Cathrine Lucie née v. Lengerchen...

. At the same event, an associate professor was employed at the garden. The first to hold this chair was Martin Vahl, who played a large part in moving the plants from Oeder's Garden to Charlottenborg Garden.

In 1817, the model with a double directorship was abandoned when Jens Wilken Hornemann
Jens Wilken Hornemann
Jens Wilken Hornemann was a Danish botanist.-Biography:He was a lecturer at the University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden from 1801. After the death of Martin Vahl in 1804, the task of publishing the Flora Danica was given to Hornemann, who subsequently issued fasc. 22-39 with a total of 1080...

 was made the sole director of the garden. At this stage the garden encompassed approximately 1.6 hectares in a low, waterlogged area that was bounded by Charlottenborg, Nyhavn
Nyhavn is a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants...

, the Mint and Bremerholm. A main building was erected along the Nyhavn cabal, housing both a botanical museum, a library and residences for the director and a botanical gardener. There were also facilities for the storage of sensitive plants during winter. The garden's first greenhouse, Guiones Koldhus (Guione's Coolhouse), was erected in 1784. In 1803 the king funded of a new 200 sqm complex of greenhouses and nore were added in 1837.

In 1841 Joakim Frederik Schouw
Joakim Frederik Schouw
Joakim Frederik Schouw was a Danish lawyer, botanist and politician. From 1821, professor in botany at the University of Copenhagen - first extraordinary professor, but after the death of J.W. Hornemann in 1841 ordinary...

 replaced Hornemann as director and the garden. Among his initiatives was the establishment of a new section dedicated to Danish species, holding 570 species, and improved cataloguing of plants and seeds. His tenure lasted until 1852. During this phase the garden became still more cramped and it became evident that another expansion was needed.

The current garden

The botanical gardens got its current location in 1870. Four years later in 1874 the gardens got its large complex of glasshouses at the initiative of Carlsberg founder J. C. Jacobsen who also funded it. His inspiration was that of the glass building the Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in...

 that was erected for the Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1851.

In 1977, the gardens including the greenhouses became listed by the Danish conservation authorities.

Copenhagen Botanical Garden today

Copenhagen Botanical Garden is an informal garden with free admission. There are conservatories
Conservatory (greenhouse)
A conservatory is a room having glass roof and walls, typically attached to a house on only one side, used as a greenhouse or a sunroom...

, a museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 and herbarium
In botany, a herbarium – sometimes known by the Anglicized term herbar – is a collection of preserved plant specimens. These specimens may be whole plants or plant parts: these will usually be in a dried form, mounted on a sheet, but depending upon the material may also be kept in...

, a library (admission by appointment only) a shop
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 plants, seeds and a small selection of garden equipment and eating place.


The botanical gardens contain more than 13,000 species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, almost all of which have been collected in the wild. The garden is arranged in different sections including: Danish plants (600 species), perennial plant
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

s (1,100 species), annual plant
Annual plant
An annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. True annuals will only live longer than a year if they are prevented from setting seed...

s (1,100 species), rock gardens with plants from mountaineous areas in Central and Southern Europe and Conifer Hill which is planted with coniferous trees. One of the newest inclusions is a rhododendron
Rhododendron is a genus of over 1 000 species of woody plants in the heath family, most with showy flowers...


The garden has many handsome specimen trees. The oldest tree in the gardens is a taxodium from 1806 that was moved along from the old location at an age of 60 years.


The Gardens have 27 glasshouses. The most notable are the 3000 sqm conservatory complex from 1874. The Palm House at its centre is 16 metres tall and has narrow, cast-iron spiral stairs leading to a passageway at the top. Plants include a palm from 1824 and a fine collection of cycad
Cycads are seed plants typically characterized by a stout and woody trunk with a crown of large, hard and stiff, evergreen leaves. They usually have pinnate leaves. The individual plants are either all male or all female . Cycads vary in size from having a trunk that is only a few centimeters...

s, some ogf which are more than 100 years old. A fifty metres long glasshouse house an extensive collection of cacti
A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae. Their distinctive appearance is a result of adaptations to conserve water in dry and/or hot environments. In most species, the stem has evolved to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have evolved into spines...

 and other succulent
Succulent plant
Succulent plants, also known as succulents or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climates or soil conditions. Succulent plants store water in their leaves, stems, and also in roots...

s whilst another one houses orchids and begonia
Begonia is a genus in the flowering plant family Begoniaceae and is a perennial. The only other members of the family Begoniaceae are Hillebrandia, a genus with a single species in the Hawaiian Islands, and the genus Symbegonia which more recently was included in Begonia...

s. A modern glasshouse is dedicated to caudiciform
A caudex is a form of stem morphology appearing as a thickened, short, perennial stem that is either underground or near ground level . It may be swollen for the purpose of water storage, especially in xerophytes...

s. The garden also has a special air-conditioned greenhouse that can re-create environments suitable for Arctic plants.

Museum and seed bank

The university’s botanical museum and herbarium
In botany, a herbarium – sometimes known by the Anglicized term herbar – is a collection of preserved plant specimens. These specimens may be whole plants or plant parts: these will usually be in a dried form, mounted on a sheet, but depending upon the material may also be kept in...

 are housed in a building situated within the garden, giving the garden staff ready access to reference works and more than 2 million dried plant specimens.

Surrounding buildings

Social Sciences Faculty Library

Located at 140 Gothersgade, the building was designed by Johan Daniel Herholdt  and built from 1888 to 1890 as botanical Laboratory. It is a Historicist building inspired by Italian palazze, a style which Herholt had previously relied on in his now demolished National Bank at Holmens Kanal
Holmens Kanal
Holmens Kanal is a short street in central Copenhagen. Part of the main thoroughfare of the city centre, it extends from Kongens Nytorv for one block to a junction with a statue of Niels Juel where it turns right towards Holmens Bro while the through traffic continues straight along Niels Juels...

. The building has housed the faculty library of the Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Copenhagen Faculty of Social Sciences
The University of Copenhagen Faculty of Social Sciences is divided into five departments, where research and teaching are carried out in the fields of Economics, Political Science, International Politics, Management, Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology. The faculty prepares students for the...

 since 2011.

Institute of Psychology

Institute of Psychology, at 2A Øster Farimagsgade, is based in a building which was built on 1957 to the design of Kai Gottlob for the Institute of Biology at University of Copenhagen.

External links

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