Dutch horticultural exhibition opens near Amsterdam

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ALMERE, The Netherlands (AP) — Tulips herald the arrival of spring — and the Dutch believe they can also highlight ways to tackle climate change.

Thousands of tulips are in bloom this week to welcome visitors to the opening of the once-in-a-decade Dutch horticultural exhibition called Floriade, which seeks to showcase horticultural innovations that can make urban areas more sustainable and healthier as more and more people around the world. move to cities.

A new university building on the 60-hectare (148-acre) site on the outskirts of this modern city near Amsterdam has plants growing on one of its walls, while an apartment building is adorned with huge flower prints. It overlooks 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 sends a message about protecting biodiversity.


“The work is about the relationship between bees and humanity, 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 showcases Dutch technical know-how – it’s built on land reclaimed from the sea decades ago. And amid a Dutch affordable housing crisis, the Floriade land is set to become a new 3,000-unit urban area after the exhibition closes on October 9.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander opened the event on Wednesday. It plans to welcome 2 million visitors as the exhibits change with the seasons, from spring to summer and fall.

The legacy will be “a very, very green living space, a living arboretum,” said Annemarie Jorritsma, a Dutch representative at the show. “People are going to 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, it’s a Floriade that can become a neighborhood,” he said.

More than 25 nations are showcasing sustainable ideas at this year’s fair under the theme “Growing Green Cities”. The Netherlands, a world leader in horticulture, has a one-hectare greenhouse where farmers showcase their latest innovations.

Other countries are mixing old and new in their national pavilions – 3D-printed buildings from Qatar shaped like centuries-old dovecotes to China showcasing new uses for bamboo, a traditional building material.

“What I really like is that China has taken pains not to do something traditional, but to use a traditional material – bamboo – for a very modern development,” Jorritsma said.

“So you can also see that…in China, people are now thinking about what we’re doing? How can we change our use of the materials that we already have and use them in a very modern way?” she added.

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