There has probably never been a better time than right now for us to stop and smell the flowers, and, luckily, for travelers around the world, you can do just that in The Netherlands! Last week, amidst thousands of blooming tulips, Dutch King Willem-Alexander opened Floriade 2022–widely regarded as the Olympics of the horticulture world.
Held every ten years in The Netherlands, the Floriade is a six month long nature show that starts with the tulips in April and ends with the chrysanthemums in October. In a park-like setting that covers around 150 acres, the best and brightest horticulturalists from 20 countries come together to create a city of flowers, plants, trees, and vegetables in amazingly unique ways and places.
A celebration of green is the theme of this decade’s show, which has been divided into 4 sub categories: greening the city, feeding the city, healthying the city and energizing the city. The overall concept is to show how essential it is for man to connect with nature if we are to have a more sustainable future. For example, to reflect the importance of this connection, an exhibit featuring two steel human-like figures covered with tens of thousands of humming and swirling bees, was built for the expo. Throughout the grounds, this connection with nature and the complex balance required in maintaining it is stressed.
Usually, after the show closes its 6 month run in a village, the site becomes a beloved park area for the community to enjoy. Since sustainability is the key message, this year’s site is to become a new residential neighborhood when the expo ends on Oct. 9. How cool is it that people are going to be to be able to live in such a beautiful spot, a futuristic experiment created by the best of the best in the world and filled with over 3000 trees, shrubs, perennials, creepers, hydrophytes, and bulbs which have all been specifically chosen for air purification, food production, and climate management.
Still, do not be misled. Floriade 2022 is not just for OCD gardners and environmentalists. Instead, think of it as a functioning ‘living laboratory’ where interactive experiences have been created to encourage visitors to see, smell and taste the future food of green cities. Researches suggest by the year 2050, 68% of the planet’s population will live in cities, so learning how to make cities green and pleasant places to live at the same time is important. The clock is ticking, and, the Floriade 2022’s goal is to combine nature and whimsy in such a creative and clever way as to make everyone see the importance of alternative possibilities for a better future.
The Dutch like to say “God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland.” Considering the site of this year’s extravaganza is built on polders–those flat Dutch fields that, as late as 1953, would still be under water if someone had not had the ingenuity to build dikes and figure out how to make room and manage water–it is hard to argue with their truth. Expos like the Floriade spark the imagination, and, at the very least, something you see, smell, taste, or learn might make a difference in your little corner of the world or your kids.
Oh, and, by the way, as a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, I should probably mention that, after a hectic day of walking and enjoying all the exhibits, shops, restaurants, and pavilions at the Floriade, how nice it would be to jump aboard a luxurious river boat, float gently through field after field of flowers and cruise the Rhine River into Switzerland.
We have some great last minute deals still in the marketplace and there really is nothing quite like appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature from the balcony of your riverboat! Call me. I think you should go smell the roses (or the tulips) while you can!
Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service. For your next vacation, please call 318 323 3465 or email [email protected]. Rob, Page, Linda or Dianne would love to send you away!