Organising press event


Garden and landscape architect Ronald van der Hilst had his garden bottled as perfume 'Hortus Conclusus Tulipa' by fragrance artist Laura de Coninck. An exceptional fragrance that pays tribute to his 3 decades of work and residence in Antwerp, but especially to the tulips from his Hortus Conclusus garden in the city center. A beautiful enclosed city gem that touches with the special aromas of various flowers and plants. On Thursday, April 27, the perfume will be presented to the public at Ronald van der Hilst at the Mechelseplein in Antwerp.


Fragrance has always been central to the work of garden and landscape architect Ronald van der Hilst, and it was surprisingly the modest, but special, tulip that so captured his heart. He was inspired by the no less than 6,000 existing tulip varieties, of which 350 varieties can be found in his Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed city garden on the Sint Joriskerk (Mechelseplein).


When he broke through the corona rut of beauty journalist and perfume expert Sofie Albrecht in the spring of 2021 with a box of fragrant tulips from his garden, she informed scent artist (olfactory artist) Laura de Coninck about the possibilities of these aromatic treasures. Laura went on a scent journey past the blooming tulips and plants of Ronalds Hortus Conclusus and was surprised by the aromas of honey, flower nectar and elderflower, emanating from the many tulips.


At Ronald's invitation, Laura boarded the Thalys to Paris with a bunch of freshly picked tulips from the Hortus Conclusus garden. The target? To develop a perfume that pays homage to the tulips from Ronald's masterpiece. Partner in crime was her mentor and master perfumer Sonia Constant and the established perfume laboratory Givaudan. There they dived into the incredible fragrance archive together, where they discovered the formula of the Tulipa Sylvestris. Coincidentally or not, also Ronald's favorite fragrant tulip. And although Sonia Constant was initially not convinced of the potential of the tulip as a basis for a perfume, Laura convinced her otherwise with a successful molecular reconstruction.


The result is a special layered perfume that takes us on a walk through Ronald van der Hilst's Hortus Conclusus. Naturally with tulips as a base, supplemented with notes of elderflower, fig, orange blossom, sandalwood and amber for a creamy undertone, enveloped by the green aromas of vetiver and enhanced with patchouli for deep earthy scents. And as the crowning glory: a pronounced saffron note, a translation of the sensual scent that makes the flower so characteristic in the last stages of its bloom.


This perfume (500 bottle edition) has a number of characteristics of natural wine: Ronald and Laura have chosen not to fix the perfume, made with high-quality ingredients, as is usually the case. This gives the perfume the opportunity to mature and develop further in the bottle, analogous to the life cycle of a garden, which becomes more and more beautiful through acquired maturity. Visual artist Marcel Lennartz took on the design, in which he strives for purity and simplicity because it has to be about what's in the bottle.


It is not the first time that the Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed urban garden at the Sint Joriskerk in Antwerp, enchants people with its special scents and imaginative setting. The garden was also part of the Finnis Terrae exhibition tour last winter and Ronald previously inspired the city of Antwerp for the tulip year in 2006. The tulips themselves also have a rich history in these regions and play a leading role in work by Maarten, among others. The fox and in the garden of the Rubens House.