Thirty new drawings on view in the Flora Batava exhibition

August 16, 2023

Have you already visited the exhibition Stories Plants Tell: Flora Batava 1800-1934? Until 15 October, you can visit the sequel of the exhibition with 30 new drawings. We look forward to seeing you!

Flora Batava exhibition renewed

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WUR Library is proud to have over 1000 original drawings of the Flora Batava. The Flora Batava is a beautifully illustrated work with more than 2600 wild plant species from the 19th century. Because the drawings are unique and vulnerable, we decided to renew the drawings half way through the exhibition. From 17 August until 15 October 2023, 30 new illustrations are on view in the exhibition Stories Plants Tell: Flora Batava 1800-1934.

The Flora Batava is the key work of Dutch botany. It can be compared with the Flora Danica, Denmarks' flora and the Flora Londinensis from the London region, both published in the 18th century.

Visitors' reactions

Over 300 people have already visited the exhibition and their reactions are very positive:

Very special plant history stories!
Don't miss it! We have already bought the book (edition of 2023) and it's so nice to see the original drawings now.
Amazing expo and inspiring explanation.

The Flora Batava 2023 and WUR's contribution

In addition to the original volumes, a new publication in one volume has been published this year. It also contains 100 new stories by plant connoisseurs and admirers. Seven WUR employees and one former employee have contributed to the book. The wide variety of themes and insights illustrates the continuing importance of a publication such as the Flora Batava. This publication tells something about biodiversity and biogeography, but also about species, art history and the use of plants then and now.

The Flora Batava, published in June 2023, contains 12 stories by the following Wageningen contributors:

  • Tinde van Andel, Professor of Biosystematics. She also holds a chair in the History of Botany and Gardens at Leiden University
  • Anneke Groen, curator of Special Collections of WUR Library
  • Liesbeth Missel, former curator of Special Collections of WUR Library
  • Liesje Mommer, Professor of Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation and leading the Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative
  • Jose van Paassen, researcher in Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
  • Joop Schaminee, Professor of Vegetation Ecology
  • Anastasia Stefanaki, researcher at the Department of Plant Sciences, Group Biosystematics
  • Nils van Rooijen, researcher Vegetation, Forest and Landscape Ecology.

About the exhibition

The first part of the exhibition shows the history of botany in Western Europe. It starts with medicinal plants and their medical use, published in so-called herbals. The oldest book shown is the book “In commodorum ruralium” by Crescentius from around 1490. During the Enlightenment, flora from other countries was discovered, as can be seen in books by Maria Sybilla Merian and Berthe Hoola van Nooten.

The second part concentrates on the flora’s of the Netherlands. A number of botanical models from the Pantarijn in Wageningen are also on display.

Part three shows a selection of original drawings of the Flora Batava and the plants that were described in the stories of the Wageningen researchers.

Location & opening hours

The exhibition has been extended by two weeks and will now run until 15 October 2023.

Special Collections is open Monday to Friday, from 9.00 to 13.00 hours. If you would like to visit the exhibition in the afternoon or with a group, please send an e-mail to

Address: Special Collections Reading Room, WUR Library, Wageningen University & Research Forum, Building 102, Droevendaalsesteeg 2, 6706KN Wageningen. Please use the main entrance to the Library on the 2nd floor of the building.

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