ALMERE, Netherlands: In the presence of Italy’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, His Excellency Mr Giorgio Novello, Italy’s National Day took place at Expo Floriade on 8 July, celebrating the country’s strengths and thriving horticultural sector.
Italy’s National Day at Floriade combined cultural and business events to inform and entertain the Expo’s international visitors about what the country has to offer the world, especially in tech and ornamental horticulture.
In a ceremony, Italian officials sang their country’s national anthem and the green, white, red standard was raised up the flagpole.
Italy’s Ambassador to the Netherlands since December 2020, Mr Giorgio Novello, was in Almere to meet with Dutch and Italian businesses, representatives of ITA, the Italian Trade Agency, MIPAAF, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Franco Esposito of Italy’s leading floriculture cooperative Coop del Golfo, Almere’s mayor Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, Floriade’s commissioner-general Annemarie Jorritsma, and government officials.
In his speech, partially in close-to-perfect Dutch, he referenced Italy’s many internationally important historic gardens and landscapes. Italian history spans more than 3,000 years. From the Etruscans and Romans, the country evolved into what it is today: a country with a high standard of living, a highly developed culture and a thriving business scene. The Ambassador highlighted how Italy, the 9th largest exporter in the world, sells goods for approximately €500 bn.
He also told that his country brings many great inventions, citing Vega (Vettore Europeo di Generazione Avanzata) as a major tech achievement. Vega is an Italian rocket, capable of bringing many small satellites into orbit at the same time.
The Ambassador concluded by examining the contribution of ornamental horticulture to the Italian economy; Italian flower and plant exporters realise an export value exceeding €750,000 million in 2020. Italy has 32,000 flower and plant nurseries, operating on 30,000 ha of land. Its production stretches across 1,500km, from the Alps in the North to the Hyblean mountains in the extreme south.
Putting the Dutch and Italian flower industry on the world map is the event’s co-organiser Charles Lansdorp, who was on stage to announce Floriade’s Grandparents’Day event in October. Lansdorp explained how the Italian government adopted Grandparents’ Day in 2005, and la Festa Dei Nonni became an annual public holiday on 2 October.
In an earlier interview with FCI Lansdorp said that “The symbol of love is the giving of flowers or plants to the elderly by the youngsters. This action may be a simple gesture of happiness, but the effect is incredibly precious to the grandparents.”
The event was wrapped up with a performance of the Dutch division of Legio Secunda Augusta, a Roman-living history group that travels throughout Europe to entertain and educate people by portraying the Roman and native life in the Netherlands in the first and second century AD.
In a meticulously followed ceremony, the Legion’s Priest offered a sacrifice to Flora, the Roman Goddess of flowers, fertility and spring, after which Ambassador Novello was presented with a flower crown.