Napoleon and botany: between science and landscaping, online
On 5 May 2023, the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities - Destination Napoleon inaugurated its second exhibition in collaboration with Europeana. Part of the Destination Napoleon European Week, the theme of this year's exhibition is "Napoleon and botany: between science and landscaping".
Botany and the natural sciences underwent important developments in Napoleon's time. His contemporaries discovered new plants and trees during scientific and military expeditions to Africa and Australia. They were brought back to Europe, acclimatised in nurseries and finally planted in botanical and private gardens, often forming collections of botanical curiosities. Botanists described new plants, flowers and trees for scientific purposes and dedicated their discoveries to the Emperor. Painters added flowers and other plant elements to portraits of Napoleon and his family, giving them allegorical and symbolic meaning.
The importance of plants and trees also increased in public spaces, such as city parks and cemeteries. Napoleon ordered the planting of long rows of plane and lime trees along the roads used by his troops in France, Italy and Croatia. He also contributed to the development of agriculture, with the Napoleonic cadastre providing a better understanding of the division of rural landscapes and production patterns across Europe.
Many thanks to all those who helped make this exhibition possible, especially our cities members, the heart of our Federation. The exhibition is currently available in English and French, but Europeana supports more than 20 European languages. If you would like to translate the exhibition into your language or have any questions, please do not hesitate to write to us.