Image credit: Feenstra Fotografie
Almere in the Netherlands is the stage for the next International Horticultural Exhibition, Floriade Expo 2022, opening its gates from 14 April to 9 October 2022. Countries from around the world and partners from the horticultural sector will present innovations and solutions for sustainable and liveable cities. The entire 60-hectare site will focus on the theme “Growing Green Cities”, and is set to offer visitors spectacles, green inspiration and unforgettable experiences. As the final touches are being made to the site of the Horticultural Expo, the CEO of Floriade Expo 2022, Hans Bakker, reflects on his expectations for the Expo as a global platform for the green city of the future.
Hans Bakker: The Netherlands is extremely proud of having the opportunity to host a Horticultural Expo every ten years. Floriade Expo 2022 is a platform for the Netherlands, Flevoland and Amsterdam-Almere to welcome the world and to come into the global picture. This is thanks to the strength of Dutch horticulture, which is world renowned. All the people contributing to the Expo work hard, with passion and professionalism, to make the Floriade a success. We all are dedicated to the job!
I am excited that soon everyone will come to the Expo with a cheerful heart. As hosts, we are doing it for the visitors, and for the participants who want to show to everyone what they are working on.
Hans Bakker: The Arboretum, which has been completed, will be great for the future of the city. In total, the Expo has 192 plots, for all kinds of national and international entries. After the Expo, the City of Almere plans to have houses built on these plots. Each plot is surrounded by different varieties of trees with several layers of vegetation. This has been a huge job: a total of 2,500 trees of 650 different species have been planted, alongside 50,000 shrubs, 180,000 perennials and a great diversity of flower bulbs. This enduring greenery is an alphabetical tree and plant library that visitors will be able to walk through. It will be a wonderful experience of greenery. What makes this arboretum so unique is that all the trees and plants contribute to a healthy, green city. Construction of the green urban district and the Expo’s structuring go hand in hand which makes this project even more interesting!
An important part of the Expo is the permanent substantiation of the new, green urban district. For instance, Aeres Hogeschool Almere (the Almere university of applied science) is already in operation as a healthy, inspiring learning and working environment for both students and staff. Additionally, the Flevoland ‘Food Forum’ pavilion will be a meeting place where, among others, producers, students and researchers will collaborate on innovations for sustainable future food production. The Flores tower, an eyecatcher during the Expo, will fulfil a number of commercial functions and will be converted into an apartment block after the event is over.
"Aeres Hogeschool Almere is already in operation on the Expo site as a healthy, inspiring learning and working environment"
Hans Bakker: “Growing Green Cities” aims to present creative, green solutions that will make urban living more fun, healthy, and liveable as we move into the future. Think of an eco-friendly life in the city: sustainably grown foods, clean energy, a healthy living environment. Increasing numbers of people are interested in these themes and try to live accordingly in their everyday lives. These themes have even more undiscovered options and opportunities.
Floriade Expo 2022 will show us an optimistic future. It provides a stage for those that think big both nationally and internationally, innovators and experts with green solutions that will make our cities increasingly liveable and sustainable as well as more fun. The Expo will, for instance, let visitors discover crickets, a protein source for the future, a building made from the residual flows from horticulture (a tiny house of bell pepper stems), and a growing pavilion made from mycelium.
The Almere – Amsterdam pavilion, themed “The voice of urban nature”, shows what the city of the future will look like and how we give nature a voice. The Green House will be the stage for Dutch horticulture industry with product submissions of vegetables, fruit, flowers and plants. In the Technical Innovation Centre, visitors gain insights into future cultivation methods, including a robotised vertical farm, drones and other types of robots. The cable car, a form of sustainable urban mobility, provides a wonderful view of the bio-based bridges, the Arboretum, the country pavilions as well as the enormous floral splendour.
The Dutch Government is contributing to the Green House, but also to knowledge development and to the Floriade Dialogues, agroforestry (the prime example of sustainable agriculture) and The Dutch Innovation Experience, a showcase for the most circular and bio-based building and living. This ties in with the Expo’s theme of “Growing Green Cities” and aims to inspire visitors how we, as a society, can design nature-inclusive living and working. The Dutch Innovation Experience consists of 95 per cent of bio-based materials that largely originate in the Netherlands. In addition to the use of Dutch wood, cultivated materials, residual flows from agriculture and horticulture, and residual flows from the food industry will also be used.
"The Dutch Innovation Experience aims to inspire visitors how we, as a society, can design nature-inclusive living and working"
Hans Bakker: All the participants are presenting exhibitions that fit in with “Growing Green Cities”, each one offering its own unique viewpoint and contribution to the overall theme.
For instance, with the theme “Biotopia – Growing Community”, Germany is presenting innovative solutions for a sustainable interaction between nature and the city. The German garden will feature vivid examples of modern resource-saving horticulture, showcasing the possibilities for the green cities of the future in a playful manner. Visitors will receive a smart bracelet to activate exhibitions and to create their own vision. Whether about urban gardening, edible cities, hydroponics or algae, the exhibition shares ideas from modern horticulture in a playful way, without losing sight of the seriousness of the subject.
Meanwhile, Japan presents the typical horticultural and agricultural techniques that define the country. Japanese floral splendour and culture are also exhibited by, among other things, bringing ikebana to Floriade Expo 2022.
In France’s participation, the garden features so-called corollas; a disruptive and autonomous green solution to cool down cities where trees cannot be planted. The concept combines horticultural knowledge about climbing plants and engineering expertise about lightweight structures.
Additionally, we are happy to have recently signed the participation agreement with China, host country of Horticultural Expo 2019 Beijing, which will be the largest international participant at Floriade Expo 2022. A Growing Chinese Bamboo Garden is the theme of the China’s outdoor garden, presenting a Chinese garden with flowers and bamboo, featuring harmony and the beauty of Chinese culture. Fitting in with the Expo’s overall theme and subthemes of greening and healthying the city, China’s participation pursues the harmonious coexistence of man with nature and the collective sustainable development and prosperity of humankind.
Hans Bakker: The theme of Floriade, “Growing Green Cities”, is an urgent topic, especially when you consider that 68 per cent of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. Covid-19 has reaffirmed this: people flocked to parks and green spaces when the pandemic hit. We started to think more about our environment and where our food comes from. Floriade Expo 2022 is therefore particularly relevant in this context.
Hans Bakker: Floriade will have a six-month run and expects to receive some 2 million visitors, of whom 72 per cent will be from the Netherlands and 28 per cent will be from neighbouring countries. It will be an exceptional project both for the horticultural sector and visitors. Within the theme “Growing Green Cities”, national and international participants showcase their latest green innovations, solutions and applications. From state-of-the-art solar roof tiles to amazing vertical façade gardens; from the best ways to grow tomatoes to the latest pruning techniques.
Beside all the inspiring gadgets and innovations, visitors can also simply enjoy the natural splendour. You can see, taste and experience it all at Floriade. There is something for everyone. Children can go on an expedition, entrepreneurs can exchange their biodegradable business cards and lay the foundation for fruitful collaborations. Families in particular will be able to have an educational, fun green day out: walking from country to country, feasting on exciting dishes, enjoying the extensive art and culture programme, the ornamental gardens, the inspiring Arboretum, circular pavilions and the experiential greenhouse.
"After a day at Floriade Expo 2022, visitors will go home inspired and full of ideas"
Floriade Expo 2022 inspires people to live greener and healthier. After a day at the Expo, visitors will go home inspired and full of ideas. For example, how you can enrich your own garden, balcony or living room. In this way, you too can contribute to the green city of the future!
We show visitors that living in a green city is a good life, a green life. The Green Life is a life full of health, comfort, happiness, energy and fun.