Today it is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places around city center but looking into its history, one can see that the Botanical Garden has faced many challenges and difficulties. In this post, we’ll tell a brief history of the botanical garden and highly recommend that you go and enjoy its beauties as well as its informing guided tours which can be pre-booked.
Founded 399 Years Ago
The botanical garden in the Herdern district is associated with the University of Freiburg as the “Garden for research and teaching” of the Faculty of Biology. It is an institution which is scientifically guided and maintained by dedicated gardeners. So apart from presenting a great variety of plants the garden also functions as an important scientific center.
First, the garden was founded in 1620. A building on the same property was rebuilt as a hospital for members of the university, which also served for anatomy training. Sharing the property with the Medical Faculty, the garden was still one of the first botanical gardens in Germany. During the Thirty Years‘ War, the garden was destroyed and this seems to be one of the first hardships that the garden had to face.
An Example of Enlightenment Age
The garden was rebuilt in 1766 but was forced to relocate to make room for the fortifications built by the Marquis de Vauban to protect the city. This time the botanic garden was laid out near Dreisam. Its design was heavily influenced by the Age of Enlightenment and thanks to the increased interest in botany during the second half of the 18th century it was a popular place again. Despite suffering damage from floods and the Napoleonic Wars, the garden included an impressive number of 3,000 plants by 1829, as well as the first greenhouses built in 1827 and 1828.
Almost the Last Move
In 1878 the garden at the Dreisam had to be abandoned, and the garden was relocated to what is now the Institutsviertel and it remained at this location until the First World War. Finally, in 1912 the garden moved to its current location in Herdern district of Freiburg when a new Institute for botany was built there. The garden sustained damage during World War II in the 1944 air raid on Freiburg but of course, it was repaired through the following years.
Finally, at Home
Today, the garden contains around 8.000 species, with the scientific and academic research centered on Black Forest fossil flora. Its collections that are open to the public for a free visit include plants from alpine regions, dunes, heaths, marshes, and bogs; as well as four exhibition greenhouses (900 m²) containing tropical plants, ferns, and cacti and succulents. So, if you are welcoming spring in Freiburg, do visit the botanical garden. It has not only witnessed the history of the city but also provides a beautiful environment to learn more about the plants, calm your mind and enjoy the sun.
Opening Hours*: 08:00 – 18:00 – Outdoor (greenhouses 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, last admission at 3:45 pm)
Address and Contact: Botanischer Garten der Universität Freiburg
Schänzlestraße 1, 79104 Freiburg
Phone +49 (0) 761 203-2872
How to go: If you prefer to by public transportation, take tram 4 to Zähringen direction. Get off in Hauptstraße stop, then walk for 3 minutes.
*hours are subject to change according to weather conditions or national holidays.