Three expeditions to start-out in life...

Jean Linden steps into history at the young age of eighteen years old. As one of the first students of the Université libre de Belgique in 1834, he volunteers - along with Nicolas Funck and Auguste Ghiesbregth, two peers slightly older than he -, for an expedition in Brazil to collect plants and animals.

Exploration missions, whose economic spin-offs enriched the promoting country, had become a recurring means for western countries to widen their import/export markets. They were also a considerable lever for the development of nature and social sciences, ranging from geography to the anthropology of primal societies. All three expeditions led by Jean Linden in southern America will be conducted under the auspices of the Belgian government.

In December 1835, the threesome begins its exploration of Brazilian inlands, from Rio de Janeiro to the forests of the Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais. The voyage will last for a little under two years: in March 1837, the three men triumphantly come back to Brussels, but, very soon, they are invited to organize a second expedition in Latin America.

In September, they go back to Cuba before exploring more than half of the Mexican territory, from Veracruz to the tip of Yucatan. They contribute to major botanical and geological discoveries: along with Henri Galeotti, they are the first to climb mount Orizaba, the highest point in Mexico (5.754 meters).

Back in Belgium, Jean Linden waits for six more months, during which he completes the arrangements for a third expedition. Indeed, he must make up for the cutback of government subsidies to charter the resources necessary for several years of exploring and regular shipping of boxes and collections. In September 1841, Linden leaves for Venezuela with his stepbrother Louis-Joseph Schlim, who replaces Ghiesbreght.

Without a doubt, this third expedition will give Jean Linden his vocation as a horticulturist. Furthermore, he will henceforth concentrate his interest on the orchid’s family, to which he will express all his passion. Epic episodes are commonplace and testify of this exotic adventure. The tale recalling the discovery of the Uropedium lindenii somewhat marks a milestone in the path of the orchid lover.