New Plant Palace opens at Botanic Garden Meise

Summary

Flanders’ Botanic Garden has finally completed renovations on one of its star attractions, which now houses 10,000 varieties of tropical and sub-tropical plants

Tourist destination

The Botanic Garden Meise, just outside of Brussels, has opened its new Plant Palace following years of fundraising and renovations. The installation houses 10,000 tropical and sub-tropical plant species.

Flemish minister for tourism Ben Weyts and his colleague Philippe Muyters, in charge of science policy, inaugurated the new structure at the botanical garden yesterday, following renovation of the northern entrance and a complete makeover of two rainforest installations.

The development is part of a master plan for the garden, which involves a complete renovation by 2026. For years, the Botanic Garden was co-managed by the federal and Flemish governments, and the lack of investment saw the site fall into disrepair.

When the garden became a fully Flemish jurisdiction in 2014, the master plan for renovations was put into place. “I am enormously proud that the opening of the new Plant Palace represents the first major step in our master plan for the Botanical Gardens,” Muyters said. “Flanders is investing €100 million to turn this into the Botanical Garden of Europe.”

VisitFlanders is investing €3 million in a campaign centred on the garden. “We hope to attract visitors from all over the world,” said Weyts. “The Botanical Garden is an international attraction that will strengthen our position as a tourist destination.”

Photo: Minister Ben Weyts (left) and Philippe Muyters officially open Plant Palace on Sunday
©Courtesy Botanic Garden Meise

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Botanic Garden Meise

Located just outside Brussels in Meise, Flemish Brabant, the Botanic Garden Meise is one of the 10 most diverse botanical gardens in the world and one of the largest greenhouse complexes in Europe. Its history goes back to 1788.
Supervision - Starting in 2014, the administration of the formerly national garden was taken over by the Flemish region. The new Flemish government agency Agenstschap Plantentuin Meise is responsible for the garden.
Disrepair - Because of historical disagreements over which Belgian government would pay for repairs and upkeep of the garden, some of its terrains and facilities have famously fallen into disrepair. The cost of the major repair works has been estimated at €71 million.
Research - With a library of its own and one of the world’s largest herbaria, the gardens also include a research institution for tropical and European botany.
13

interconnecting greenhouses

92

surface area of garden in hectares

18 000

plant varieties