ALMERE, Netherlands — Tulips herald spring — and the Dutch believe they can herald ways to get there, too combat climate change.
Thousands of tulips are blooming this week to welcome visitors to the opening of the Dutch horticultural exhibition Floriade, which takes place once every ten years and aims to showcase horticultural innovations that can make urban areas more sustainable and healthier as people around the world increasingly live in relocate the cities.
A new university building on the 60-acre site on the outskirts of this modern city near Amsterdam has plants growing on one of its walls, while a block of flats is adorned with giant floral prints. It tops a newly built cable car and a corten steel sculpture of two human figures made up of tens of thousands of bees.
Sculptor Florentijn Hofman says he is sending a message to protect biodiversity.
“The work is about the relationship between bees and humans, about connection. It’s about balance and a respectful relationship between humans and animals and our complex interrelationship with nature,” he said.
Even the site itself is a testament to Dutch engineering know-how – it was built on land reclaimed from the sea decades ago. And amid a Dutch housing crisis, the Floriade site is set to become a new urban area with 3,000 apartments after the Expo ends on October 9.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander opened the event on Wednesday. It is expected to welcome 2 million visitors as the exhibitions shift through the seasons from spring to summer and fall.
The legacy will be “a very, very green residential area, a living arboretum,” said Annemarie Jorritsma, a senior Dutch representative at the fair. “People will live in nature. And I think it will be a wonderful experience to be able to live here.”
Previous Floriades were about building parks, while this edition is about building a city, says architect Winy Maas, who designed the layout.
“For the first time, this is a Floriade that can become a neighborhood,” he said.
More than 25 nations are presenting sustainable ideas at this year’s fair under the motto “Growing Green Cities”. The Netherlands, a world leader in horticulture, has a one hectare greenhouse where farmers display their produce latest innovations.
Other countries are merging old and new in their national pavilions — from Qatar’s 3D-printed buildings shaped like ancient pigeon towers to China showcasing new uses for bamboo, a traditional building material.
“What I really like is that China has taken the trouble not to do something traditional, but to use a traditional material – bamboo – for a very modern development,” Jorritsma said.
“So you also see that … in China now people are thinking about what we’re doing? How can we change our use of materials we already have and use them in a very modern way?” she added.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/dutch-horticultural-expo-opens-near-amsterdam/ Dutch horticultural fair opens near Amsterdam