Growing Green Cities

The Floriade 2022

The “Floriade”, the world horticultural exhibition, will take place in Almere in the Dutch province of Flevoland This year. The Netherlands organises the Floriade every 10 years and there are bad reviews each time thanks to massive budget overruns. How high the loss will be this year can probably only be said when the exhibition closes its doors in October. But it already looks like a record. The true numbers of visitors is much lower than those estimated – whereby Corona certainly also plays a role. Several heads have rolled among those politically responsible.

This reminds me of the “Expo” world exhibition in Hanover in 2000. Malicious tongues told the organisers that the hopes regarding visitor numbers would only be realistic if every second European came – which of course did not happen. Despite the gloating and negative criticism, I was personally keen to see the Expo – and at the time I was still the only “fan” in my circle of friends and acquaintances. I spent two days there and still have fond memories of the exhibition. Interesting country pavilions, no crowds at restaurants and toilets – and there were not even any waiting times for the cable car. Wonderful!

Even if the press first looks at the deficit (and admittedly – so do I in my article!), there is much more to tell about the Floriade. I had already been to the exhibition in Venlo in 2012 and I was also particularly interested in this year’s main theme – “Growing Green Cities” – how do we make cities greener, healthier, more beautiful – and cooler in summer? So: off to Almere!

Almere is a young city that was founded in the 1970s – initially as a “dormitory and commuter town” in the vicinity of Amsterdam. It lies completely below sea level and is built on the Ijsselmeer polders created by drainage. In the meantime, Almere has developed from a dormitory town into a town with its own character, which is no longer interesting only for Amsterdam commuters and whose population is growing steadily. So there is a massive vested interest in the theme “Growing Green Cities”.  Floriade will present 4 focal points:

– Greening the City: More green spaces
– Feeding the City: Improved food supply
– Energising the City: Smarter energy supply
– Healthying the City: more conscious lifestyles

While strolling around the exhibition site, I learned that this very site will be the basis for a completely new “green” district after the Floriade: Almere Hortus. This could also be admired in miniature. Large parts of the exhibition infrastructure can be used for the new district, and some buildings are already standing: the “Woontoren Flores” high-rise, the “greenest university in the Netherlands” (part of the “Flevo Campus” with completely green exterior walls) and the “Flora” residential care centre for people with dementia.

Besides country-specific exhibition pavilions, there were also exhibitions by companies I had never heard of before. One company, for example, specialises in water-permeable subsoils. It was interesting to see what new materials and techniques are now available for (cycle) path construction. All these new developments give us hope that we will be more careful with rainwater in the future.

I was particularly impressed by the wide range of activities for school classes: From recycling methods to wood cultivation and processing (including a tree quiz) to near-natual  neighbourhood gardens, there are numerous topics that can be taught in the “outdoor school classes”. I hope that many more school trips will take place there.

Looking at the miniature future scenario of “Almere Hortus” I thought: “If this really comes out of it, those responsible politically, conceptually and in terms of planning will be celebrated as visionaries in 20 years.” I would wish it for them and Almere….

The Floriade is still open until 9 October. I’ll definitely go again.

Floriade Park – Floriade Expo 2022 in Almere Amsterdam

Original text: BBR
English translation: BCO


Author: bbr

Hello, I am Beate Brinkman, the bbr.harlekin. I am editor and author for Harlekin.Blog e.V. and my “main job” is support coordinator in an international IT company. So far I have worked in German, Dutch, American and Indian companies and have acquired a great deal of experience of multicultural cooperation. I have been living in the Netherlands as a German for many years and have discovered that the cultural differences between Germans and Dutch alone could fill entire books. For professional and private reasons, I am particularly interested in multicultural (mis)understanding. Whether it’s about food, language, official conference calls or the organisation of funerals – when the cultures of several countries collide, things get lively. And that leads to sometimes unpleasant, often very funny, but always instructive situations.

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