February 18th, 5-8 pm: Opening, public discussion and launch of an online community platform The opening will bring together local interest groups regarding the Hortus Malabaricus. All are invited to contribute their knowledge, participation is encouraged and refreshments will be served.

Mrs Mariella van Miltenburg, Head of the Department of Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy of the Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi, will officially open the exhibition.

Hortus Malabaricus is an online community platform serving an interest group around the Hortus Malabaricus, a 17th century 12-volume book illustrating around 700 indigenous plants in the Malabar region of Kerala, India that explains their medicinal properties, with captions in 5 different languages. The content will focus on not only the creation of the Hortus Malabaricus but its artistic, botanical, medicinal and political importance in anno 2012 by interested parties (Dutch, Indian and an international diaspora). Contributions will be determined by the participants who are invited to upload personal archives, images, videos and comments to the site, along with video and audio clips. This website will also bring together Indian as well as Dutch experts in the fields of history, botany, medicine, philology, sociology, culture, anthropology and medicine who will who contribute their knowledge, enabling the research to be continued and built upon by others. Like the Hortus Malabaricus itself, this website works beyond its depicted material; it is a compendium of knowledge and experience ordered and extended.
The platform will visualise the way in which the Hortus Malabaricus still affects societies and its influence of today. It will also investigate one of the underlying mysteries surrounding the book: whose knowledge has been preserved within its pages and how was it gathered? Who made the magnificent drawings in the book? In which way did Carl Linneaus apply the Hortus Malabaricus to develop his theory of binomial nomenclature? How is traditional knowledge in the form of local medicine being co-opted by the pharmaceutical industry? Here the past will collide with the present through various streams: comparing oral and written histories- the former organic and evolving, the latter systematized archives full of documents, some translated, others not yet remaining incomplete.