Floriade 2012 – The World Horticultural Expo
April 5th – Oct. 7th 2012
Floriade is the “Disneyland for Gardeners.”
Every ten years, the Netherlands’ host the World’s Horticultural Exposition. They have essentially built a new park in different locations throughout the Netherlands for each show since the 60’s. This year, the sixth location is in Venlo (near the German border). The featured theme for 2012 is “Our Green Environment – Living Nature.”
This week, I got to see the once-a-decade Floriade Expo and luckily the tulips were in full bloom. I explored the five themed sections, featuring horticultural artistry, food, live music, and theatrical performances. The most surprising part was the extraordinary architecture built just for the six month Floriade show and the park’s size of 163 acres.
The “Education and Innovation” gardens teach how flowers, plants, trees, fruit and vegetables improve the quality of life. Children receive an easy explanation of the entire horticultural process chain. This themed area focuses on the future and innovation of horticulture; it is especially inspiring for the young adults attending.
The “Environment” section demonstrates the importance of our living environment. A 360 degree screen dome movie is presented about Dutch horticulture.
The “Relax and Heal” gardens focus on your spiritual and physical well being. They have a calming effect with scents and sounds as well as energy gardens to inspire.
The “Green Engine” area provides info about the significant economic driving force of horticulture. This beautiful building houses the largest indoor exhibition of flowers in Europe.
The “World Show Stage” provides cultural encounters of art, food and entertainment from around the world.
The Cableway (Gondola) provides access from one side of the park to the other and the views are spectacular.
Floriade 2012 is easily accessible by train in the Netherlands and has convenient shuttles to the park every fifteen minutes from the Venlo station. The Floriade is open daily from 10:00 to 7:00 (later in the summer) and costs 30.00 Euros for entrance and a gondola ride. Buying a Holland Pass saves 20%. www.hollandpass.com
It really takes two days to thoroughly explore this park. There is a considerable amount of walking around 163 acres. Definitely take the gondola ride across the entire park.
This was a trip I have wanted to take after learning about the Floriade in the 80‘s. My children were too little for me to attend the 1992 Floriade. We were too busy with work and the children for the 2002 Floriade. In 2012, I decided no more excuses. I better go now — as I may not be able to enjoy riding my bike around the Netherlands in another 10 years.
I have now crossed two items off my bucket list. The first was visiting Keukenhof at tulip time.
Life is good–on vacation in the Netherlands.
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