Universiteit Leiden

The Ginkgo
The Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba, Japanese maidenhair tree, 1785

This extremely old species, with its characteristic leaves, is considered to be a living fossil and is no longer found in the wild. The tree is worshipped as a god in Asia. The Ginkgo in the Hortus was planted in 1785 and is one of the oldest specimens in the Netherlands. The tree symbolises hope, love, timelessness and a long life. Like this Japanese maidenhair tree, Carel Stolker has firm roots in Leiden. For inspiration, he spent midsummer night in the Hortus in 2013, on a bed in the open air, near the much-loved Ginkgo.

Garden for the whole city
Garden for the whole city With Queen Máxima at the opening of the new tropical greenhouse at the Hortus botanicus, 4 September 2013 (photo Petra Sonius).

Royal visit to the Hortus: Queen Máxima opens the new tropical greenhouse with Carel Stolker. The renovation has made the greenhouses more suitable for research. The Hortus was founded in 1590 and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Western Europe. It is one of the few academic gardens where scientific research is still being conducted and new plants still being planted. ‘The Hortus is not just an experimental garden for the University; it is a garden for the whole city,’ said Carel Stolker at the opening.