On the 13th of April king Willem-Alexander opened the World Horticultural Exhibition Floriade Expo 2022 in Almere. The Dutch horticultural sector shows, together with national and international participants, green solutions about how to make our cities more fun, more liveable and more sustainable. Helped by children from Flevoland the king officially opened the Expo by planting the last cress into a living plan of the site. The opening stage was the square near the Flores tower, which is decorated with a unique arboretum artwork and forms the eyecatcher of the Floriade park.
Essential is the commitment of youth to make and maintain our cities greener. Young talent is required to create a greener future. Floriade makes it their goal to let young people be a part of/play a part in the Expo.
Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink, commissioner-general of Floriade Expo 2022: ’With this edition of Floriade we present themes for the future. Appealing for the current and for the next generation. Where living in green cities will be possible and we will have sustainable solutions for our food production.’
According to Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, mayor of Almere, ‘Almere is a green city and moreover a city with a young spirit. Not being hindered by ingrained patterns. Which makes it viable, open-minded and full of imagination. And with more than 160 different cultures it is also a very international city. That is why Almere and Floriade make a perfect combination. Floriade Expo 2022 is one big collection of international horticultural innovations. With the theme ‘Growing Green Cities’ it offers solutions to make cities greener, healthier, more sustainable and enjoyable for the young and the old.’
The youth formed a central subject in the opening speeches of the minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) Henk Staghouwer, the secretary general of the International Bureau of Expositions (BIE) Dimitri Kerkentzes and in special video messages of Floriade alderman Jan Hoek, deputy Jan-Nico Appelman, chairman of the Dutch Horticulture Council (NTR) Kees van Rooij and the president of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) Bernard Oosterom. On this Expo it all comes together which makes it a fizzling event with blooming talent.
General director Hans Bakker accompanied king Willem-Alexander during the tour along the various parts of the Expo. The base structure of the Floriade is the Arboretum, a living library of plants designed by landscape architect Winy Maas. It is literally where the visitors walk when visiting Floriade. In the Green House people can see the meaning of flowers, plants, vegetables and fruit. The growing of crops are presented by innovations such as drones, robots, vertical horticulture and special sensors. In the Food Forum, a pavilion of the Flevoland province, entrepreneurs, students and researches collaborate in creating new ideas in regard to the future food production. In the pavilion ‘The Voice of Urban Nature’ the municipalities of Amsterdam and Almere show visitors how to build a green city of the future, together with their inhabitants. The Dutch Innovation Experience, the pavilion of the national government of the Netherlands, is all about future of sustainable and circularity housing. The pavilion has been constructed using hundreds of bio-based materials. The king also paid a visit to the Surinam pavilion. The tour with the king on the Expo ended with a cable-car ride.
Art and culture programme
Floriade has a varied art and culture programme showing the emotional aspect of the green innovations. During the official opening there was a lot of attention for culture. Singer Marzièh Reyhani from Almere sang ‘Lovely Day’, the official song specially written for the advertising campaign of Floriade. Ulrike Quade Company performed the closing act as a preview of the daily show on the Main Stage of the Expo.