Botanical Garden München-Nymphenburg

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The Munich Botanical Garden, 1909 to 2009

The preservation of its art, architecture, and landscaping

The first Botanical Garden in Munich, founded in 1812, was located in what is now downtown Munich. About 100 years later, the location was moved to a 22 ha large area next to the Nymphenburg castle park; it was officially opened on 10 May 1914, still under the reign of King Ludwig III.
Open to the public are 18 ha, of which about 5,000 m² are under glass. The Garden cultivates 16,000 species and has 102 employees (2009). Visitors number around 350,000 a year (2002 – 2009).

As an institution the Munich Botanical Garden is part of the Bavarian Natural History Collections, and whoever holds the chair of Systematic Botany and Mycology at the University of Munich is also the director of the Garden.

Mosaic (LITTERIS ET FLORIBVS) in the foyer of the botanical institute

The garden’s predominant style of architecture and landscaping is best described as Baroque Revival, a style widely adopted also in Great Britain, the British Empire, and the United States from about 1885 until World War I, particularly for government, municipal and commercial buildings. The official list of “Protected Public Spaces and Art in Bavaria” includes a long entry about buildings and works of sculpture in the Garden. Of note are especially the garden administration buildings (1910) and the botanical institute (1910 – 1913) with numerous Art Nouveau details.

Ara by Joseph Wackerle

Bust of Franz von Paula Schrank

Majolica figures by Joseph Wackerle from the Nymphenburg porcelain factory, especially the colorful birds, are well-known symbols of the Munich Botanical Garden. Other important sculptures are busts of the previous directors Schrank (c. 1830) and Martius (1905).

North view of the Café

A centrally located pavilion opened as a garden café in 1936 and was enlarged in 1970 – 72; it is currently much in need of renovation.

Wooden pavilion

Pump house

An octagonal wooden pavilion (1910) in the systematic part of the garden was renovated for the Linnaeus year 2007. A likewise octagonal stone building with beautiful Baroque Revival details (from 1910) houses the garden’s major water pumps and was restored in 2009.

Viktoria house in winter 1913

Victoria house in summer 2003

The greenhouses (1910 – 1912) have gradually been renovated, beginning in 1974. The rainwater collection system was greatly improved with the construction of a large cistern in 2008, and the central heating system was partly renovated in 2005.

With its 100 years of history in its current location, the Munich Botanical Garden is a cultural monument of great importance not only for the Nymphenburg area, but for the entire city.

Text: Susanne S. Renner, Botanical Garden München-Nymphenburg

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