In the span of ten years, the Orchideeën Hoeve has expanded into the largest tropical attraction in Europe. By highlighting the ingenuity of nature in a thematic way, we give more than 230,000 people the opportunity every year to experience and observe how plants and animals survive, seduce, and cooperate.
The Orchideeën Hoeve is more than 25,000 square metres large. It consists of the Orchid Garden, the Amazonian Rainforest, the Lory Garden, the Butterfly Valley, the ‘Suspended’ Flower Garden, the Mangrove Forest Play Paradise, the Citrus Avenue, the Jungle Theatre, a modern shop, a cosy greenhouse restaurant, and the orchid nursery. It is a family business run by two brothers, Thomas and Jeroen Maarssen - the fourth generation of the Maarssen family of gardeners. For several consecutive years, it has been crowned by the Royal Dutch Touring Club (Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijdersbond, ANWB) as the ‘most fun outing in Flevoland’.
In 1915, grandfather Maarssen decided to strike out on his own. He bought acreage in Aalsmeer, on which he grew carnations, chrysanthemums, and lilac, together with his son. In 1930, the first greenhouse was built by a friend who was a carpenter. This greenhouse became the foundation for the Orchideeën Hoeve.
The small horticultural business survived the Second World War as well as a number of financially challenging years. Thomas Maarssen Sr (the father of the current owners) took over the reins of the family business together with his brother. Thomas Sr soon aspired to take on another challenge: orchids. However, his father rejected the plan. He believed that growing orchids was something for specialists. Yet, this did not prevent the young horticulturist from buying his first orchids in 1957, namely one hundred cymbidiums in a box of violets for ten guilders. It turned out to be a success.
In the 1970s, the business ‘Orchideeën Maarssen’ - which has moved since then to Haarlemmermeerpolder in Aalsmeerderbrug - evolved into a well-known name in the world of orchids. The nursery became a leader in breeding and the family won many awards at shows and exhibitions.
In 1979, Thomas Maarssen Sr moved his family and orchid nursery to the North-East Polder. The former farm to which the company relocated served as an inspiration to the family, and they called the business ‘De Orchideeën Hoeve’. By participating in ‘Kom in de Kas’ (annual event of the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector), Maarssen discovered that there was a significant interest in the orchid nursery. They started receiving requests for guided tours and the family increasingly frequently welcomed local groups and associations. Initially, the family members provided a guided tour in return for a cake or apple pie. After a few years and with attendance growing, they decided to ask a fee for their services. In 1984, the nursery officially opened to the public.
The public turned out to be interested. This was a reason for the family Maarssen to convert the business in 1989 and to invest more in the recreational activity. A shop and a restaurant were added and the collection of orchid species accumulated over the years received a unique spot in the Tropical Garden. These 1,000 square meters of jungle garden can still be admired at the Orchideeën Hoeve and has since been converted into the Orchid Garden.
In 1991, the Taiwanese garden was built and the brothers Thomas Jr and Jeroen Maarssen assumed the leadership of the business. The following years, the Orchideeën Hoeve was expanded with new theme gardens and started focusing entirely on the tourism market.
The orchid nursery - the foundation of the business - is still operating at the Orchideeën Hoeve. In the first months of the year, you can visit the nursery sections to enjoy magnificent fields filled with various species of orchids. While the Orchideeën Hoeve no longer sells the flowers at auction, it does process them into fresh floral arrangements sold in the modern shop.
1989: Addition of shop, restaurant, and tropical garden (currently referred to as the Orchid Garden)
1991: Opening Taiwan Garden (currently referred to as the Lory Garden)
2000: Expansion of car park, addition of halls for parties and festivities and the opening of the Malaysian garden (currently referred to as the Amazonian Rainforest)
2008: Opening Butterfly Garden
2010: Opening Play Paradise
2012: Opening Lori Garden
2014 Zoo license
2014: Opening Citrus Avenue
2016: Reopening Play Paradise
2016: Opening ‘Suspended’ Flower Garden
2017: Opening Jungle Theatre
The Orchideeën Hoeve is continuously innovating and developing to ensure that each visit to its premises remains a unique experience. For example, a brand-new nature experience was launched in October 2016: the ‘Suspended’ Flower Garden. In April 2017, the tropical Park inaugurated the Jungle Theatre. Furthermore, thanks to its zoo license and the AAP foundation, the Orchideeën Hoeve provides a home for a multitude of animal species such as monkeys, ducks, fish, tropical birds, butterflies and reptiles.