Pakhuis Seedmix

Pakhuis Seedmix. Photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Pakhuis Seedmix. Photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

So what is Pakhuis Seed mix?
Pakhuis seedmix is made up of dozens of seed vareties. It was created at our launch event at Pakhuis de Zwijger in February 2014. About 120 people attended and a great number of them kindly poured surplus herb seed in to a big wooden pot as they entered the meeting room. We bulked it up with some De Bolster bee friendly seedmix, gave it a big stir and packaged it up in our signature seed packets.

How can I get some?

What can I do with it?
Try to plant the seed before June 2014.
Plant the Pakhuis Seedmix in disused space such as tree pits, pavement gardens, disused land, plant pots or a sunny corner of your garden.
The most important thing is that you plant the seeds and don’t let them age in a drawer at home.

How to plant seeds.
Simply remove the top layer of soil at your plot (with the shoe, a stick, a spoon or trowel etc),
Sprinkle the seeds in the bare earth,
Cover with the top layer of soil (not too deep as they may struggle but don’t leave them visible to birds).
Sprinkle with some water (or plant when the soil is moist from rain).
Leave and let nature do it’s work.

Map your Herb Meadows
Please send us photos and addresses of your urban herb meadows, so we can add them to our map.
We are trying to plant a River of Herbs through Amsterdam but we are happy for you to plant herbs anywhere!
Tell us what grows from your Pakhuis Seedmix – every packet will be slightly different.
Save some seed from your Pakhuis herbs, share them with freinds and plant them next year.


What else can I do?
Help us create urban herb meadows for pollinating insects and people!

  • Plant flowering herbs in a pot.
  • Make your street a more beautiful and wildlife freindly place by adopting a treepit or requesting a pavement garden from the local council.
  • Create a green group in your street, adopt all the treepits and fill the soil with flowering herbs.
  • Check out our events page for what’s coming up in your area and join in!
  • Suggest a location and we will help you gather green volunteers to plan, plant and care for it.
  • Tell us about other green projects going on in the city – we love to collaborate.

Which herbs grow well in Amsterdam?
Here are a few herbs which can grow really well in Amsterdam’s sandy soil. They look great and are helpful to people and pollinators. See our herb list for a greater selection. These are excellent for treepits and pavement gardens.

Goudsebloem (Calendula officinalis) Calendula
Druifhyacint (Muscari neglectum) Grape hyacynth
Viooltje (Viola tricolor) Pansies
Absinth-alsem (Artemisia absinthum) Wormwood
Stockroos (Alcea rosea) Hollyhock
Citroenmelisse (Melissa officinalis) Lemonbalm
Rozemarijn (Rosamarinus officinalis) Rosemary
Tijm (Thymus spp) Thyme
Bonenkruid (Satureja montana) Winter savoury
Lavendel (Lavendula spp.) Lavender

Happy planting and we hope to see you soon!

Posted in About, Geveltuin/pavement garden, Growing, Herb Swaps, Seeds, Tree pits

Get planting!


Now is a great time to plant herbs which are insect and people freindly in any vacant spaces near you.

Here’s a treepit on the corner my street which I began caring for late last summer. The ground was totally bare at the start. I added a few spare seeds, seedlings and cuttings from plants I was growing on my balcony. Things like Horseradish, Calendula, Poppy, Grape Hyacynth and Wormwood.

It’s now doing well, there is still space to add new herb plants and today it needed a little weeding but it is now home to wildlife that was not present before (see those ladybirds?).

Today I added markers to a few of my adopted treepits, to hopefully encourage more of my neighbours to join the project and plant useful herbs in urban spaces. It’s easy and rewarding. You can choose to adopt a location (or not), you can request a geveltuin from your stadsdeel or maybe join a group project somewhere in the city. See our events page for what’s going on – it’s all free!

The Frankendael River of Herbs Orchard project begins this week. Maybe that’s interesting to you? Or join the treepit planting on Lijnbaansgracht this Saturday and learn gardening tips from some of the team.

Whether you join us or not, I hope you will begin to think of small unused spaces in the city as herbal oases opportunities – where we can help people, plants and pollinators!

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Posted in Growing, Tree pits

Workshop with Ann and Val


River of Herbs workshop planting Van Beuningenplein, Amsterdam

River of Herbs workshop planting Van Beuningenplein, Amsterdam

Ann Doherty and Val Turner ran a ROH workshop recently to help share valuable knowledge with volunteer gardeners in Amsterdam West. We greatly apprecaite their support and hope you will check out the other activies they offer through City Plot and Know Your Onions! Here’s their report…

Ann Doherty River of Herbs workshop

The River of Herbs workshop on Saturday March 15th filled up very quickly as it was held shortly after the launch of the RoH in Pakhuis de Zwijger. We welcomed 14 people in the Westerpark, and over a cup of herbal tea talked a bit about the why’s, where’s and how’s of creating an edible herbal corridor in Amsterdam. Val led the group around the mini-urban farm at Proef, identifying different herbs and talking about different ways that they can be propagated.

Val Turner River of Herbs workshop

We then walked a few minutes to the van Beuningenplein, where we had previously identified a perfect spot for a tributary of the RoH with our bee-friendly friend Carol Poye.

Van Beuningenplein River of Herbs Amsterdam

It is a barren little bit of soil next to a vibrant playground, surrounded by a low fence. We hopped the fence and set to work planting comfrey, chamomile, lemon balm and feverfew in the little plot, and marked the plants with sticks saying River of Herbs.

River of Herbs placemark version one!

We had positive feedback from the group, and they also wanted to come back for more in May!

Proeftuin Amsterdam River of Herbs

Please note: The next workshop run by Ann and Val (May 2014) will be offered firstly to the people who attended this one. If spaces remain then we will advertise it on this website.

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Posted in Workshops

Volunteer Teams Needed!

Hazelnut Spiral UH
We are getting a spiralling number of enquiries about the River of Herbs these days so it’s a perfect time to set up some teams of willing and talented people to focus on particular areas.
The areas we urgently need teams for are:
  • Education (improving and translating the training course and workshops, certificates, getting accreditation, links with training organisations, recording who does what course for future references/certificates)
  • Schools (helping schools, colleges, universities get involved, coordinating workshops/courses/worms/bug hotels etc by volunteers with goedgedragverklaringen)
  • Finance (seeking out and applying for grants/subsidies/prizes/sponsorship etc)
  • Social (Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, unemployed, returners to job market.. Contacting and liaison with related organisations, coordinating courses, workshops and support)
  • Buurt Projects (Coordination of which project needs what support and involvement, courses, workshops, seed packets, liaison with companies and stadsdeel etc as required)
  • Volunteers (Updating mailing list, sending updates to volunteers and directing offers of help to the different RoH teams to link offers with needs)
  • Green Partnerships (Communicating what we will offer for free, what we won’t offer, what can be gained and what we request in return, to involved or propective partners)
  • Stadsdeel/Gemeente liaison (Seeking out council projects along route, contacting project managers and DRO to forge links and influence planning, planting schemes and turn council projects into RoH training opportunities and herbal locations)
  • Community Food Forests/Orchards (Turning existing public and private orchards into herbal food forests. Collaboration with DRO, Stadsdelen, businesses and coordinating volunteers. Encouraging sustained community action).
  • Marketing (Writing or arranging articles, press releases, publicising, social media etc)

If you are interested in volunteering some time and enthusiasm to one or more of these teams then please contact us straight away! Email

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Posted in About

Seed Swap at Frontier Gezondheidsdag

Visit the River of Herbs seed swap at Frontier Gezondheidsdag to swap herb, vegetable and flower seeds or plants with other people in the community who have some spare to share!

€ 5 in advance (€7.50 on the door)
Tickets available here
Monday 21st April – Paasmaandag (Easter Monday)
Rhone Congres and Party Centrum
Rhoneweg 12-14,
1043 AH Amsterdam

River of Herbs ran last year’s Frontier Symposium Seed Swap and is delighted to be invited back. Please come and see us at the event and bring along your spare seeds to swap or donate.

Pakhuis Seedmix. Photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Pakhuis Seedmix. Photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn


Why Swap Seed and Plants?

  • Save money whilst growing more plant varieties.
  • Less wasted seed
  • Preserve more plant varieties in our community, especially heritage/heirloom varieties.
  • Increase biodiversity for local wildlife
  • Meet other seed savers and swappers in this community

What to Exchange?

  • Seeds, beans, tubers, plug plants etc.
  • Herb, vegetable or flowering plant material, that is healthy and viable.
  • “Bring some, Take some.”
  • True breeding, non-hybrid and organic is preferred – but not essential.
  • Seed from packets or seed collected from plants in your garden or ethically collected from treepits, wasteground etc.


  • Name label your seed/beans/plantlets clearly (common name and variety if you know it, e.g. Runner bean, Scarlet Emperor).
    We will have some spare seed packets and labels if needed.
  • It is important to mark whether the seeds are Open Pollinated or F1 hybrids because seed from such plants will not breed true. If unsure, bring along the original seed packet if you can and ask us about it.
  • Label growing tips – Do they like shade, or full sun? Do they like a lot of water? Best time to plant them?
Posted in Herb Swaps, Seeds

Launch Meeting Videos

Click on the links below to see videos of the presentations and discussions at the Amsterdam River of Herbs launch meeting. This took place at Pakhuis de Zwijger on Monday 3rd February 2013. Thanks to Guillermo who kindly made these for us.

Lynn Shore – River of Herbs & Urbanherbology

Natascha Hagenbeek – I Can Change The World With My Two Hands

Bee Panel Discussion – Carol Poye, Rene Genet & Maurice Maarssen (and Bambi Bogert)

Theun Karelse – Fo.Am & Boskio

Urban Food Security Discussion – Vrouw en Vaart and De Stoelen Project

Ann Doherty & Suzanne Oommen – City Plot Amsterdam

Posted in About, Amsterdam River

At The Farm – 2014 Course Begins

River of Herbs at Kinderboerderij de Werf

Today our latest course for green volunteers began at a popular children’s farm in Oost Watergraafsmeer. Kinderboerderij de Werf has a trampled strip of land which we are going to turn into a herb garden. Here is that strip of land and above you can see some of the green fingered group.
Kinderboerderij de Werf Herb Garden to be

At present the land is open, regularly foraged by free range chickens and is home to three well nibbled trees and some stinging nettle plants. The soil seems rich but quite sandy. It is flat, well drained and is bordered by a slab path and a fence which goats can reach partly over. The metal fence seperating it from the goats and sheep is to the West. We considered which plants could be useful for the farm animals and workers, which would be robust enough for the location, which could be poisonous, which could provide shelter and which herbs would be particularly appealing to young visitors. We also thought about some possible designs which would be easy to manage.

We will discuss our plans during the month via the River of Herbs Facebook group and will post the final plan on this website in March. If you have any tips for us then please let us know via the comments box or the Facebook group.

De Werf has it’s own team of volunteers who will be building a fence to protect the land from wandering farm animals. We plan to return for our third meeting which will be in May. If the fence is erected quickly then some of the River of Herbs team will return before May to begin planting the garden (probably with a green manure) and keeping the space tidy.

The course group also need to plan herb gardens for their own plots of land during this month, using the principles we talked about today. Their next session will be at a completely different location in Amsterdam Nieuwe West.

This course is full (with a waiting list) but there is a separate River of Herbs workshop hosted by City Plot on Saturday 15th March. Please contact if you would like a place.


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Posted in Course

Next River Bridge Course

Ivy in bloom Hedera helix

Thanks for all the interest in our River Bridge Course. This is a two workshop course for green fingered folk who already have some experience at leading or playing a part in, green community initiatives and want to offer free River of Herbs training to others (and be added to our website). See here for further details of who this course is aimed at. Lynn Shore will lead this course, in English (with Dutch where needed). If you need the printed materials to be in Dutch, please say when booking a place.

The course is free. It will take place at two sites in Amsterdam. The exact locations will be arranged nearer the time but the first will be in Amsterdam Oost and the second in Amsterdam Nieuwe West. So please only sign up if you are happy to travel to the two areas and if you are happy to feedback afterwards with your plans/evidence etc.

To apply, please email Lynn via and tell her something about any projects you are/have been involved with and why you want to do this course.

Here are the dates:

Session 1
Wednesday 19th March 2014
9.30 – 11.30
Location – Amsterdam Oost

Session 2
Monday 7th April 2014
13.30 – 15.30
Location – Amsterdam (Nieuwe)West




Posted in River Bridge Course

Great to see you!

photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Over a hundred people joined us at Pakhuis de Zwijger last night, to hear about the collective effort to create a herbal wildlife corridor through Amsterdam.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along to speak, help and join the conversation. There was great energy, enthusiasm and willingness to share. We are delighted by the response!

Ideas arose such as:
Obtaining metal signs to mark herb gardens in public spaces.
Mapping areas of vacant urban land with Boskoi.
Including Amsterdam Noord, Ijburg, Zuid and Nieuwe West.
Linking with communities centres.
Connecting areas most in need of green spaces and free training.
Partnering with high schools.
Creating a bee page on the website with advice from Maurice Maarssen, Rene Genet and Carol Poye and other local experts.
What to discuss with the local council when setting up green partnerships.

The presentations and discussions from the evening (are now) placed on YouTube as soon as possible. In the meantime here are a few photos:

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Seed sharing at the entrance…

Pakhuis Seedmix. Photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Pakhuis Seedmix. Photo credit Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Delicious Amsterdam grown food from Vrouw en Vaart

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Map time…

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Lynn Shore outlines the River of Herbs project…

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

I Can Change The World With My Two Hands

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

City Plot

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Mapping for edible city corridors with Theun Karelse from Boskoi

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Green networking…

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Food security discussion with Vrouw en Vaart and De Stoelenproject

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

Photo credit: Jolanda Hoogendoorn

We would love to know what you think about:

  • Which locations should be included
  • Tips for funding
  • Organising green partnerships with the local authorities
  • Offering River of Herbs training
  • How the River of Herbs project should progress
  • Anything else!

Here is the last slide that was shown:

Proposed Phases and Layers

Layer 1: Connect key locations
(start, midpoint, end, eco passages, soup kitchens)
Layer 2: Community Orchards, Community Gardens and Schools.
Layer 3: Care homes and Hospitals.

All at once or One step at a time?

4 year plan

  • What do you think of organising the project in this way?
  • Which part could you get involved with?

Please make contact by leaving a comment here, or emailing or join our Facebook group.

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Posted in Amsterdam River

River Bridge Courses – For Green Leaders

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Recently, we have received offers of help from lots of green volunteers. Many are experienced in leading local green projects, so we are keen for them to lead River of Herbs courses and actions as soon as possible. We will offer some River Bridge Courses very soon, to help them join the RoH Elders team. River Bridge Courses will be on Wednesday mornings and will enable existing green leaders to offer and advertise free courses.

Two Wednesday mornings (one month apart) – dates to be arranged.

Each workshop we will plan, plant and maintain herbs in public spaces for people and pollinators.
You will learn about our project, methods and materials.
Between sessions you will work on your own patch and send us photos and addresses of your work.
When you complete the River Bridge Course, you will be added to the RoH trainers list and will be able to offer our free courses.

Is this for you?

  • Do you have experience of running (or helping teach at) other green community projects?
  • Can you provide some evidence of green projects that you have worked on?
  • Do you want to help us create the River of Herbs by helping local people plan, plant and maintain wildlife-friendly herb gardens?
  • Did you miss out on the latest River of Herbs training course?

If so, please contact us and we will let you the dates very soon.

Don’t have green experience yet?
Contact us to find out what’s going on in your area.
Join the next advertised training course.
Get together with some freinds, download our free booklets and get planning and planting!

Posted in Course