1324 ZZ Almere
For six months, from 14 April 2022 until 9 October 2022, Almere will be the stage for the International Horticultural Exhibition Floriade Expo 2022. During the Floriade, the Dutch horticulture sector, together with national and international partners, will show green solutions that can make our cities more fun, liveable and sustainable. The theme of “Growing Green Cities” is central on the 60-hectare site. The exhibition grounds are a short travel distance from Amsterdam and directly alongside the A6 with a view of the Almere skyline.
A major art installation, in the shape of a large countdown clock, was unveiled on the Esplanade in Almere city centre during the kick-off for the Floriade year on 4 January 2022. On this occasion, Hilde van Garderen, the deputy mayor and councillor for Openbare Ruimte, Kunst & Cultuur en Stadsvernieuwing [public space, art & culture and urban renewal] for Gemeente Almere [municipality of Almere] and Hans Bakker, the Managing Director of Floriade Expo 2022 were interviewed by green living environment pioneer and TV presenter Lodewijk Hoekstra. How do they view the Floriade’s development, 100 days before the opening?
“Floriade suits Almere. We are a green city with plenty of space, both literally and figuratively. Floriade’s theme, ‘Growing Green Cities’, is a contemporary one. We all know that cities around the globe are expanding. We all face the major challenge of climate change. How are we going to feed all those people responsibly? What does this entail for animals? How will we continue to co-habit on the planet in a balanced manner? People contemplating this around the world will meet at the Floriade. The Expo provides insight into what a city and individual inhabitants can do in a sustainable, circular manner whilst retaining biodiversity, because we have to take better care of our planet,” so says Hilde van Garderen. Almere and the Expo’s art and culture programme is another thing she is proud of. “It has never been as extensive as at this Floriade. Many people Almere and Flevoland are proud of will show off their achievements. I am enormously proud of my city and can’t wait to show all the exciting elements to people from the Netherlands and abroad.”
Hans Bakker reflects on the state of affairs 100 days before the opening: “The Arboretum has been completed. This enduring greenery will provide the green superstructure for the Expo and the Hortus urban district that will be built on the site afterwards. It is an alphabetical tree and plant library which visitors will be able to walk through. What makes this arboretum extra 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!”
Floriade will have a six-month run and expects to receive some 2 million visitors, of whom 72 percent from the Netherlands and 28 percent neighbouring countries. “An exceptional project both for the sector and visitors. Families in particular will be able to have an educational, fun day out: walking from country to country, enjoying the extensive art and culture programme, the ornamental gardens, circular pavilions and the experiential greenhouse. The cable car, a form of sustainable urban mobility, provides a wonderful view of the biobased bridges, the arboretum and the country pavilions. Floriade will demonstrate to visitors that the good life is living in a green city: The Green Life. Floriade will be an inspiring, green day out.”
“An important part of the Expo is the permanent substantiation of the new, green urban district. For instance, Aeres Hogeschool Almere [Almere university of applied science] is already a healthy, inspiring learning and working environment for both students and staff. The Flevoland pavilion ‘Food Forum’ will be a meeting place where, among others, producers, students and researchers will collaborate on innovations for sustainable future food production. Flores, 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.”