The Botanical Garden of the University of Strasbourg is a botanical garden founded in 1619 in the former Protestant Academy of the city, which became Strasbourg University two years later. Its creation by professors of the faculty of medicine of Strasbourg is due to the need of training of their students.
Originally located in the district of Krutenau, it moved in 1884 to the heart of the historic campus in the Neustadt at the rear of the university palace after the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine.
The University of Strasbourg has its origins in the creation of the Jean-Sturm Gymnasium, which became an Academy in 1566 with four faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine and Philosophy. The Academy wants the creation of a botanical garden. Negotiations between the Senate of the city, the rector Storck and the convent of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Ondes allow to obtain a part of the cemetery located in the current Krutenau market garden district. It is then arranged in the French style and its collections are gradually enriched with the creation of greenhouses and successive enlargements to reach almost one hectare. In 1622, the garden was described as “splendissimus” by Professor of Botany and Anatomy Gaspard Bauhin.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 prevents access to extramural cemeteries. The Botanical Garden is then used as a burial place. From his coronation as Emperor of Germany (in 1871), William I launched an ambitious program for the reconstruction of Strasbourg, including the creation of the Imperial University in 1880. The garden, under the direction of botanist Anton de Bary, is then annexed to this imperial university. Inaugurated on November 26, 1884, an arboretum and monumental greenhouses are installed.
Today the botanical garden serves as a park for the locals. Entrance is free, and greenhouses, plants and frogs are worth seeing.
Text and photography by Claudiu C. CREȚU
© The Bunget Arts & Culture