Ok so visiting Floriade isn’t really a matter of now or never but being a once in a decade event means you’ll be waiting quite some time until the next expo in 2022.
Before arriving at Floriade I wondered if it was going to be like the Keukenhof flower festival but as it turns out, it’s a completely different kind of event. While there are many beautiful flower displays, Floriade is focused on green living and sustainability; promoting new ideas and technology in the horticultural world.
One of the main trends was to focus on reducing, reusing and recycling within the home and this included some interesting design and decorating ideas.
Using espaliered trees was also popular and is a great way to save space if you only have a small garden.
If you time your visit right you can watch some cooking displays using fresh, local ingredients. Of course, I didn’t time it right but did get to see the beautiful looking fruit and vegetables on display. These white eggplants actually look like eggs!
My favourite part of Floriade was the international section where countries from around the world showcase their gardens, culture and way of life. Afghanistan in particular had a great display although it didn’t seem to have much to do with agriculture. Their building was a mix between a museum and a bazaar. Traditional costumes and jewellery were on display and they were doing a great trade in scarves and semi-precious stones. Some of the walls were lined with photos from Afghanistan.
There was also a bunch of Afghan currency lying around but I guess there wasn’t a problem having it out in the open as I imagine it’s virtually worthless. I regret not buying some.
Floriade is in a massive showground which takes quite some time to wander around. To get a quick overview of the grounds you can take a cable car ride from one end to the next which is well worth the €5 price tag.
Floriade wouldn’t be much of a horticultural show if they didn’t have some wonderful flower displays and not only can you see popular Dutch tulips and hyacinths there are also many unusual flowers on show like hippeastrums and orchids.
Food at Floriade
There are many places to stop and eat reasonably priced, healthy food, much of which is organic. For something unusual head to the international area to try some street food from around the world. I had one of my favourite Dutch treats called poffertjes which are like little pancakes covered in melted butter and liberal amounts of icing sugar.
Then there were these freshly peeled and cut potatoes which were deep fried and salted. I don’t know what they’re called but I’d definitely recommend them.
Visiting Floriade in 2012
Floriade is located near Venlo in the Netherlands very close to the German border (near Cologne) and not far from Belgium. If you happen to be in the region, it’s worth stopping by Floriade to spend the day discovering unique plants and design from around the world. It’s particularly worthwhile if you have young kids who can learn about nature and play with the many interactive displays.
Floriade is open until the 7th October 2012.
Where to Stay
The closest town to Floriade is Venlo but I’d recommend staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast in Arcen which is a very cute town 20 minutes from the showgrounds. If heading to Floriade by car make sure you get good directions on getting there as your GPS won’t be of any help, trust me.