Growing Green Cities

Interview with Peter Verdaasdonk, CEO of Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere

Growing Green Cities

Bureau International des Expositions


In 2022, the Netherlands will host its seventh Horticultural Expo (‘Floriade’) in the city of Almere, in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, under the theme “Growing Green Cities”. With preparations now well underway, and with the Holland Garden at Expo 2019 Beijing currently showcasing this theme, Peter Verdaasdonk, CEO of Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere, outlines his vision for the event.

“Growing Green Cities” is at the heart of Floriade Expo 2022. Why this theme and in what ways will it be reflected in the Expo’s content?

Peter Verdaasdonk: This seventh edition of the International Horticultural Expo to be hosted by the Netherlands will focus on the main theme of “Growing Green Cities”, a theme that is more urgent than ever and combines:

  • The mission of the Dutch horticultural sector to find creative solutions in order to produce green that will help make cities greener, resilient and healthier and to produce more food with less impact on energy and the environment in general;
  • The ambition of the City of Almere to create a model of a city where the population enjoys solutions concerning health and sustainable urban living.

The urgency of these themes increases by the day. At present, more than fifty percent of the world’s population of more than seven billion people live in cities and that number will increase to seventy percent by the year 2050. The themes of Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam – Almere are urgent and exist worldwide.

"Floriade Expo 2022 will demonstrate the crucial role that green solutions play in making our future cities both liveable and sustainable"

As a result, cities have to find solutions in order to remain safe, healthy and attractive. To support this theme, we have developed four sub-themes: Green in the City, Food in the City, Energy in the City and Health in the City. We want to contribute to a world where the urban population lives in a green, healthy and sustainable habitat and a diverse and inclusive community is an integral part of this.

The International Horticultural Expo will demonstrate the crucial role “green” solutions play in making our future cities both liveable and sustainable.

In terms of its site and legacy, how will Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam – Almere stand out from previous Horticultural Expos held in the Netherlands?

Peter Verdaasdonk: After the last guests of the International Horticultural Expo have left, the Green City of the Future will be its lasting legacy. Here, the population will live the dream of the Green City of the Future and witness the realisation of the vision of a Green City Almere, as well as the innovative and creative power of the Dutch horticultural sector. This District will be an engine for further development and innovation. This momentum, generated by the dynamics of Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere, cannot lose its impact and pace. It will enable the region and the industry to keep contributing to a green, healthy and sustainable urban life for many millions of world citizens.

What do you expect visitors will take away from Floriade Expo 2022?

Peter Verdaasdonk: Floriade Expo 2022 promises to be an extraordinary event. Visitors will enjoy a unique and meaningful experience, as the Expo will invite and challenge them to ‘Explore. Touch. Change.’.

Diverse international participation is at the core of all Expo experiences. What do you hope Countries will bring to Floriade Expo 2022?

Peter Verdaasdonk: All exhibitions are situated in the ‘green city arboretum’: a catalogue of trees enriched with plants, crops and flower bulbs, arranged in alphabetical order. Each item has a demonstrable function in the context of a green city. For example, some will lower a city’s temperature, others will store water, clean the air, or create energy.

The pavilions with gardens from countries that are so called 'Green Embassies', reflect those countries’ vision on life in a city of the future. Built from sustainable materials with surprising designs and solutions, these displays will also be part of the future city district after the Expo.

In the Best Practices area, experiences and solutions are shared for specific issues under the themes of the Floriade. Countries, cities, companies and knowledge institutions all combine and share their strengths and knowledge here. In the covered greenhouse, visitors can wander into a tropical oasis, both colourful and appealing to the imagination.

"What does the Green City of the Future look like? This is the question that Floriade Expo 2022 wants to answer"

Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam – Almere is present in Horticultural Expo 2019 in Beijing, China. What are you showcasing there and how will it help you prepare for 2022?

Peter Verdaasdonk: What exactly does the ‘Green City of the Future’ look like? This is a question being asked around the world and one that the Floriade Expo 2022 wants to answer. Niek Roozen, landscape architect for Floriade Expo 2022, has responded to this with the Dutch entry for Expo 2019 Beijing, which offers visitors a kaleidoscopic ‘green experience’ in anticipation of the Floriade Expo 2022.

Holland Garden

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality asked Niek Roozen to create a design for the Dutch entry for the Horticultural Expo in Beijing. In Beijing, the theme is the same as for Floriade Expo 2022: The Green City of the Future. This is reflected in the ‘Holland Garden’, as the Dutch entry is called. Like at Floriade Expo 2022, the Holland Garden is designed as an arboretum, allowing the Netherlands to present the diversity of the Dutch agricultural and horticultural sector. The focus is twofold: the diversity of plants and the possibility to make the city more colourful with an improved quality of life on the one hand and, on the other, a response to such current themes as ‘Sponge Cities’ (cities that are prepared for climate change) and a sustainable food supply.

On Tuesday 18 June 2019, Floriade Expo 2022 is organising it’s third edition of the Floriade Dialogue at Horticultural Expo 2019 in Beijing. The dialogue will cover implementation of blue-green measures that use the power of natural infrastructure to solve drainage and heat problems; creating ‘Sponge Cities’.

Kaleidoscopic experience in the Holland Garden

The Floriade Expo 2022 worked together closely with the creative experience agency NorthernLight to build a unique kaleidoscope at the Expo in Beijing. This installation provides a spectacular sneak preview/video of what visitors can expect during the Floriade Expo 2022.


For more information on Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere, visit the official website.

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