An old Chinese saying is that “Paradise is in heaven, on Earth we have Hangzhou and Suzhou”. The centuries-old gardens of Suzhou, considered the most beautiful of China, served as the model for the Chinese Garden in the Hortus.
During the Ming Dynasty rich merchants and government officials commissioned large, private gardens. The gardens served as a place of retreat, a place to experience nature, paint, or compose poetry. The Chinese Garden in Haren is also such a garden; a place where you can lose yourself in the carefully composed natural beauty. The garden is designed so that flowers bloom in every season, making it beautiful in winter as well as summer.
In a western garden, you generally have an immediate overview of the garden. But Chinese gardens expressly avoid this. Wandering through the Chinese Garden is like wandering through a Chinese painting. Galleries with surprising vantage points, pavilions, winding paths with changing viewpoints, a pond and an island with a waterfall are designed for daydreams in which thoughts are led by the imagination.
A Chinese garden is packed with symbolism. In addition to plants, water, stones and architecture, written texts play an important role in how the garden is experienced. The names given to things are of particular importance, and this is reflected in the names given to the pavilions and other landmarks in the garden. Thus we find “The Garden of Tea Brewing”, “The Pavilion of a Thousand Things”, “The Cry of the Dragon Teahouse”, “The Path Through the Forest of Eternal Bamboo” and the “Lake of the Red Carp” with its “Island of the Lovers”. The Chinese Garden was opened in 1995 by H.M. Queen Beatrix, who gave it the name “The Hidden Kingdom of Ming”. The garden extends across 6200 square meters.
Guided tours of the Chinese Garden are given throughout the year.
Discover the garden for yourself with the app audiotour of the Chinese garden in Dutch, English or German (Hortus Haren EN/DE), available free in the app store (see also free WiFi).
The Chinese garden also features beautiful and impressive Penjing, miniature landscapes in special containers. Some of these are more than 60 years old. The more well-known Bonsai are derived from this artform.