Georges Rouzeau - 2012-06-01
One of the world’s largest horticultural festivals, Floriade is the showcase of Holland’s famed savoir-faire in the field of gardening. This year’s Floriade - the 6th – has an amusement park ambience; families are warmly welcome.
First organised in Rotterdam in 1960, Floriade is held only once every ten years. The event, sponsored by Queen Beatrix in person, is über-famous throughout Holland and Germany; less so in the rest of Europe and the UK. The venue for Dutch horticultural savoir-faire, Floriade ‘lets us show the world that we are constantly innovating in the field of gardening,’ explains Wim Van den Beucken, a board member of the Dutch Horticultural Council, one of the main organisers of the 2012 festival (5 April - 7 October).
This year’s host city is Venlo, in the south-eastern Netherlands province of Limburg, just a few kilometres from the German border. The organisers are hopeful that some two million visitors will travel to this bastion of Dutch horticulture during the event.
With its 66 hectares, including 40 hectares of expo areas, a cable car (the kingdom’s highest) and architectural creations designed to last (Villa Flora and Tour Innova), Floriade 2012 is startlingly huge.
Villa Flora, for example, boasts 1.8 million flowering bulbs, 18,000 bushes, 190,000 perennials, 15,000 hedge plants, 5,000 roses and 3,000 trees. A few dozen foreign countries – including China – have set up pavilions here. Exhibition areas also present basins, pools, outdoor furniture, etc., just like in any good garden centre.
New technologies and a programme of concerts, shows and films have been organised to entice families to come to Floriade 2012 and ‘be a part of the theatre of nature.’
The Floriade website lists the easiest travel options from the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
Where to stay
There are three Center Parcs Holiday Villages located at less than a half-hour from Floriade 2012 (Center Parcs is the event’s official sponsor). Packages (accommodation + tickets for Floriade) begin at € 554/£ 448 for 4.