The history and future of the Floriade Expo Almere
This year will see the seventh edition of the International Horticultural Exhibition Floriade Expo, 2022, in the Netherlands. The Floriade only happens once every ten years, since the 1960s this thematic variation on the World Expo has a travelled through the country, and this year it will take place in the city of Almere.
Regular World Expo’s or World’s Fairs are large international exhibitions designed to showcase achievements of nations. The same can be said for the Floriade, though it focuses solely on the achievements and innovations made in the area of horticulture and fields related to it.
History of Floriade
The first official edition of Floriade was in 1960 but even before that time every decade a flower exhibition was held in the Netherlands under the name Flora. The 1960 Floriade was held in Het Park in Rotterdam. Today Het Park functions as a city park and the Euromast, which was built for the Floriade, continues to be a not to miss attraction in Rotterdam.
The two editions that followed were both held in Amsterdam. The first, in 1972, was held in the southern part of the city where today you can find the Amstel Park and Beatrix Park. At the time to two areas where connected to each other by cable car and the entire Floriade grounds included an area which today holds the southern part of the ring road around Amsterdam.
A decade later, Floriade settled in a recreation area around the Gaasperplas lake in the southeast part of the city. This location, too, became a public park, now known as Gaasperpark. In 1992, Floriade left the Dutch capital city behind to return to the province of South Holland and took place in Zoetermeer. The Floriade grounds in Zoetermeer later became the residential area Rokkeveen, though some of the greenery remains in the Floriade park.
In the new century Floriade Expo’s introduced themes, such as for the 2002 Floriade set in the Haarlemmermeerse Bos, when the theme was Feel the Art of Nature. The grounds continue to be a public park and each year since the Floriade has been host the festival Mysteryland. And the 2002 Floriade was also the site of the Spike and Suzy album, The Bright Floriade.
Floriade 2012 was the first time Floriade left behind the provinces of North and South Holland and settled in Venlo, on the German border. The Expo was themed by Living Nature, and aimed to introduce people to the theatre of nature and show how nature can improve the quality of life. Today the Floriade 2012 expo grounds are home to Greenport Venlo with business parks, natural landscapes and a campus.
History of Almere, home of Floriade 2022
While Floriade 2012 was the first to set foot outside of the Holland provinces, Floriade 2022 will take place on a piece of land that wasn’t even land at the time of the first Floriade. Almere, home to Floriade 2022, is the most populous city of the Netherlands’ newest province Flevoland.
In 1916 a major flood occurred in the Netherlands, killing 19 people and destroying many homes around, what was then, the Zuiderzee. The disaster, together with the famine caused by the first World War, led to a new law, in 1918, called the Zuiderzeewet which resulted in the closing off of the Zuiderzee from the North Sea and the creation of the Flevoland province.
The Zuiderzee was closed off of the North Sea by the Afsluitdijk, which you can see and drive over when you visit Giethoorn. When it was closed off in 1932 the Zuiderzee was renamed the IJsselmeer, as it was now a lake. Closing off the Zuiderzee however was only one of many steps that were the result of the Zuiderzeewet, completing all the steps would eventually take three quarters of a century.
One of the other steps was land reclamation from the lake, something the Netherlands already had plenty of experience with by then and continues to be famous for around the world. In 1940 the first steps were taken to start the reclamation of land that would later become the province of Flevoland. 28 years later, the two polders of Flevoland, Noordoostpolder and Flevopolder, had been reclaimed and the IJsselmeer had been divided into two with the second part now called Markermeer.
The first house in Almere was finished in 1976 and in 1984 Almere officially became a municipality. Today, Flevoland is home to almost half a million people, of which over 200,000 live in Almere. And the city will continue to grow, partly with Floriade.
Hortus: the future of Floriade Almere
Floriade 2022 will open its doors from 14 April until 9 October under the theme Growing Green Cities. Afterwards the grounds will become a new residential neighbourhood of Almere called Hortus, a green and virtually car-free urban area. Parts of this new area are ready to start operating the moment Floriade closes its doors.
The Aeras Hogeschool building, a part of Stoas University for Applied Sciences, is ready for new students to walk through its doors and will offer agricultural and horticultural higher education programmes. And the apartments in the colourful Flores tower, set in the very heart of the Floriade grounds, are ready to go with kitchens and floors installed.
You can book your Floriade Expo 2022 tour now and visit the Hortus residential neighbourhood again in a few years’ time to see how the innovations in sustainable technology and green solutions presented at Floriade have helped to make the city greener, healthier, better fed and sustainably energised.