Inspiring visitors to live greener and healthier lives

Interview with Annemarie Jorritsma, Commissioner-General of Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere

Inspiring visitors to live greener and healthier lives

Bureau International des Expositions

Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere will open its gates to the public in less than a year under the theme “Growing Green Cities”. As preparations gather pace on the site, the Floriade’s Commissioner-General Annemarie Jorritsma - the former mayor of Almere and a former minister - shares her beliefs and expectations for this transformational green event.

 

Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere is the 7th Horticultural Expo to be organised in the Netherlands. What does this special international event mean to the Netherlands?

Annemarie Jorristma: From 14 April 2022, Almere will be the stage for the next International Horticultural Exhibition, Floriade Expo 2022, which will be open for six months under the theme of “Growing Green Cities”. Dutch horticulture, together with national organisations and international participants, will exhibit innovations and solutions that will make our cities increasingly sustainable and liveable, as well as more fun. In 2022, two million visitors will visit the next Horticultural Expo.

For them, Floriade will be a celebration of all that is green and perhaps one of the first major live face-to-face events taking place after the pandemic. Floriade Expo 2022 will make an important contribution to the Dutch horticultural sector, the tourism sector and the regional economy. Taking place once every 10 years in the Netherlands, the most recent Floriade was in Venlo in 2012. The first Floriade ever was held in Rotterdam in 1960, followed by editions in Amsterdam (1972 and 1982), Zoetermeer (1992) and Haarlemmermeer (2002).

"People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable and spatial living"

 

As with all types of Expos organised under the auspices of the BIE, Horticultural Expos aim at addressing challenges of an international nature. What are the global concerns that Floriade Expo 2022 will focus on?

Annemarie Jorristma: Years ago, when this Floriade was first assigned to Almere, we could not have imagined how topical the “Growing Green Cities” theme would be at this point in time, and certainly how inspiring it is. Precisely because of the pandemic that is taking place, there is so much attention for living healthier and greener. People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable and spatial living and that is precisely the theme of the upcoming Floriade.

The “Growing Green Cities” theme shows how we can and will deal with this new way of life in the future. Less haste, less crowded, but living and working with an eye for nature close by, and certainly also paying attention to nature in the long term.

"Floriade Expo 2022 provides a fabulous stage for making people more aware of the importance of a healthy working and living environment"

How will the Expo contribute towards sustainable green solutions as promised by the “Growing Green Cities” theme?

Annemarie Jorristma: An eco-friendly life in the city. Sustainably grown foods. Clean energy. A healthy living environment. Increasing numbers of people are interested in the “Growing Green Cities” theme and subthemes and try to live accordingly in their everyday lives. These themes bring with them undiscovered options and opportunities. They are also urgent, if you consider the fact that by 2050, 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere will show us an optimistic future. It provides a stage for those that think big both nationally and internationally, innovators and intelligent types with green solutions that will make our cities increasingly liveable and sustainable, as well as more fun.

We can also gain inspiration from the pavilions of other countries, to see how they deal with sustainability. And of course, we have the electric Floriade cable car, where visitors not only have a beautiful view over the Floriade site, but where they can also experience this sustainable urban means of transport. There is also the arboretum, the Expo’s green structure, a living library of plants, flowers and trees arranged alphabetically. What makes this arboretum so unique is that all types of trees and plants contribute to a healthy, green city.

Floriade Expo 2022 provides a fabulous stage for making people more aware of the importance of a healthy working and living environment.

Several countries have announced their participation in Floriade Expo 2022 in recent weeks. What new angles can international participants bring to the event?

Annemarie Jorristma: Together with our participants and sponsors, we aim to inspire visitors to live greener, healthier lives. We will do so using four sub-themes: Greening the City, Feeding the City, Healthying the City and Energising the City. The Floriade site will be a celebration of green and sustainable technology. New technologies for greenery, food, health and energy will be researched and implemented at this living laboratory. Visitors will be touched by what they see, smell and taste. Inspiring gardens, conferences, workshops and exhibitions will be mixed with impressive attractions, surprising tasting sessions, art and culture.

To give one specific example, we look forward to the participation of Indonesia, which has as its theme “Wonderful Archipelago”. Life in Indonesia, as the world’s largest archipelago also brings challenges. The threat of rising sea levels is a burning issue for the many Indonesian islands. The theme of its participation expresses Indonesia’s commitment to protect the archipelago by living sustainably, and ties in well with Floriade. Water management is an important topic for both Indonesia and the Netherlands, and the country’s participation in Floriade offers plenty of opportunities to work together. We look forward to sharing knowledge, discussing business opportunities, and to the event being enriched by the presence of Indonesian art and culture.

With less than one year until the opening of Floriade Expo 2022, how are preparations going on the site? Will visitors be able to get a sneak peak of the Expo’s content before it opens to the public?

Annemarie Jorristma: In mid-2021, the regional, national and international participants will set to work on building their pavilions and gardens, furnishing all 192 lots with the aim of making a wonderful contribution to the visitor experience for in 2022.

Before Floriade Expo 2022 opens to the public, it offers visitors a glimpse of what to expect from the Horticultural Expo with Floriade Preview. Up until Autumn, everyone can explore the 60 ha site under construction. Visitors take the boat from Esplanade dock in Almere City across the Weerwater lake to the Floriade site. They board near the Preview Centre which exhibits the ‘making of’ and which will be updated and expanded in the build-up to the Expo in 2022. They can also explore the site on foot and via cable car.

"We can all take full advantage of Floriade Expo 2022, which will be more than an exceptional, international event"

Floriade Preview portrays the ideology of Floriade in full, bringing “Growing Green Cities” to life and forming a link with the city (Almere) and the region (Flevoland). Subsequently visitors of Floriade Preview may enjoy the city centre’s shopping or its restaurants and cafés.

In what ways will Floriade Expo 2022 have a lasting impact on Almere and the wider region, in terms of its tangible and intangible legacy?

Annemarie Jorristma: Floriade is a great opportunity that I am convinced will be a success not only for Almere, but for the entire country. Entrepreneurs will benefit from this and indeed, we can all take full advantage of Floriade Expo 2022, which will be more than an exceptional, international event. After it is over, the Expo will provide Almere with a new, green, virtually car-free urban district called Hortus, alongside a substantial economic stimulus.

New companies and knowledge institutions will base their operations in Almere. A good example is Flevo Campus: a leading knowledge and innovation centre for food issues. Floriade will have a lasting effect on the green, healthy city of Almere, thanks to the expansion and lowering of the A6 motorway, the greening of the city centre and the refurbishment of the Almere Centre railway station. It contributes not only to the economic value of Almere, Flevoland and the Netherlands, but also to increasing awareness among (inter)national visitors of the importance of a healthy living and working environment.

 

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