Meise Botanic Garden welcomes record number of visitors
In 2021, 227,689 people, individuals, families or groups, passed through the gates of the estate, a figure that also reflects the growing need of the public to reconnect with nature during the health crisis.
The good figure, which is growing year by year, is also the result of the numerous renovations carried out as part of the ambitious master plan that increases the attractiveness of the Botanic Garden.
Thus, the Botanical Garden inaugurated two brand new reception buildings in 2021, including one at the main entrance "Empress Charlotte", which also houses a tourist information point and a garden shop. Visitors could also discover new gardens, such as the Culinary Garden, the Medieval Garden and the Garden of Scents and Colours. But also fascinating exhibitions attracted visitors, such as 'Nature in Miniature' in the castle with the works of the well-known botanical illustrator Marijke Meersman and the exhibition 'Straffe Koffie' in the renovated Vlaamse Hoeve. In 2021, the first half of the Green Ark has been put into use: a new greenhouse complex in which the gardeners will cherish the frost-sensitive collection plants.
Steven Dessein, the Director-General, is delighted with the growing success: "This is not only the result of the investments but also of the unceasing efforts of staff and volunteers. Together, they work day in and day out to organise attractive activities and events in the Botanic Garden, such as the traditional 'Winter Floridylle' (until 8 January) for which 27,000 tickets were sold.
The past year was also exceptional on a scientific level: the digitisation of the herbarium was completed, which means that more than three million specimens can now be consulted online. Researchers from the Botanical Garden described no less than 53 species that are new to science. Research on groups such as the coffee family, wild beans and bananas also made good progress."
2022 promises to be a very colourful year: the Botanic Garden will be 225 years old! There are some great projects in the pipeline again: an exhibition about 'Treasures in the Attic', a total makeover of the Castle Garden and the opening of the Island Garden to the public. The Green Ark will also be ready in the course of 2022. There, the Botanic Garden will show the public the efforts it makes every day to conserve plant species. But of course, the public is still welcome to walk around and enjoy the beauty of the plants in the 92 ha domain every day.