Many botanical gardens in Europe developed from collections of medicinal plants, which the first universities began to assemble from 1500. Initially, botanical gardens were exclusively scientific establishments. In the 19th century, they became a part of the universities’ general mission to educate the public.
The HHU botanical garden was created alongside the university itself as a component of the open-air concept for the southern part of the campus. Franz Joseph Greup, the landscape architect tasked with its design, incorporated all the various functions of a modern botanical garden into his plans.
The formal plots, such as the medicinal garden and the section for useful plants, are reserved for teaching and professional training purposes. Areas intended for leisure visitors, such as the geographical section, are designed close to nature.
Experimental research areas were built outside of the public zone. Once the University successfully acquired the plants it had sought from nearly all regions of the planet, the garden finally opened in 1979.