After six months of inspiring and educating visitors with horticultural displays on the theme of Growing Green Cities, Expo 2022 Floriade Almere, the AIPH-approved A1 World Horticultural Expo, presented its official closing ceremony on Sunday, 9th October 2022.
The Expo park spans 60-hectare (150 acres), welcomed 685,189 visitors and 32 international country and business participants, and hosted 1,500 business events and 37 horticultural product competitions since its official opening on 13 April 2022.
The Expo park is in the middle of Almere city, in the Flevoland Polder, on a site uniquely called the “Green Heart”, a large green and natural area within the Randstad circle. You can read more in an AIPH Green City case study. The land here is part of a reclamation project from Lake IJssel to supply housing for the urban expansion of Amsterdam and the Randstad area in the 1970s.
Expo 2022 Floriade sought to share horticultural wisdom on the importance of healthy living and working environments in cities for the future and to spread horticultural knowledge worldwide.
One of the main features of the Floriade was the Green City Arboretum, planned by famous Dutch architect Winy Maas into an 800 by 800 metres square grid and placed on top of existing features such as woodland, water, an island, and the highway.
Famed landscape designer Niek Roozen from the Netherlands put his signature upon a bold planting scheme here, with a botanical collection containing 3,000 trees, 90,000 shrubs and 200,000 perennials planted alphabetically. These will remain the Expo 2022 Floriade’s legacy as part of the urban district ‘Hortus’, which will provide homes for a predicted increase in population from 215,000 to 300,000 in ten years.
During the closing ceremony Hans Bakker, CEO of Floriade, reiterated the Expo’s commitment to encouraging green development and stressed the need to create greener and better lives for people.
The Expo’s theme, ‘Growing Green Cities,’ embodied the importance of this theme in the pavilions created by international participants, which were celebrated in the Awards Ceremony held just before the Closing Ceremony.
All international and national participants were judged three times; at the beginning, middle, and end of the Expo, taking two full days for each visit, by an expert jury of nine representing the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), the organisation responsible for approving, regulating, and monitoring World Horticultural Expos; Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) the Intergovernmental Organisation in charge of overseeing all international Expos, and the Dutch Horticultural Council (NTR) the license holder and co-organiser of the Floriade Expo 2022.
Japan’s Satoyama Farm Garden won the grand AIPH Prize and another Gold for the Floriade Expo 2022 theme Indoor Garden. AIPH President Mr Leonardo Capitanio commended their participation and said: “Every two weeks, throughout the Expo, Japan created a whole new floral display in their pavilion. They brought in expert Japanese floral designers every time, and the standard was exceptionally high. Each display was relevant to the season and the theme while at the same time showing something uniquely Japanese. They should be very proud of this amazing achievement.”
Germany’s BIOTOPIA was awarded Floriade Expo 2022 Gold Prize in the Outdoor Garden category. For the jury, this was a difficult decision to finalise. Mr Capitanio said: “The standards were very high. However, Germany gave visitors an immersive experience in understanding what a sustainable future can look like and the role we can all play. The rooftop gardens showed new ways of living that integrate people and nature. The team maintained the highest quality until the end, and they deserve the highest praise for their achievements.”
International participation was recognised in the Special Awards category.
Most Educational Exhibition was awarded to United Arab Emirates’ Salt Water Cities. In commenting, AIPH Secretary General Tim Briercliffe said: “No one could go through this garden and pavilion without learning so much about the UAE’s challenges and the unique solutions available by using plants. The UAE team cared for every visitor and provided a unique experience at the Expo. It was a wonderful experience.”
Suriname was awarded Cultural Activities Award for its pavilion entitled ‘The Greenest Place, since ever’. Briercliffe commented: “You could not experience the Suriname pavilion without feeling like you were there, not only with the plants but the food and the people too! In their national celebrations, they ‘took over the Expo’, and now we all feel we understand Suriname much better than before and feel their passion for this very green country.”
Everyone was made to feel welcome in Qatar. So, they rightly received the Hospitality Award. Mr Briercliffe said: “Not only could you experience the Guinness World Record’s tallest 3D printed pigeon tower, but you could also taste the coffee and try on the traditional dress. It was like being in Qatar and a great way to welcome visitors to their A1 World Horticultural Expo opening in just one year.”
The Garden Experience Award was awarded to China’s Bamboo Garden. Mr Briercliffe said: “China showed us the wonder and versatility of bamboo as the underpinning of their garden. But they went even further by filling it with beautiful and well-maintained flowering plants. It provided a true garden experience and the perfect place to sit down, relax and be immersed in a garden.”
Entrepreneurial participation was also awarded to the Dutch Innovation Experience for the Natural Pavilion and the Exploded View House. Former AIPH President, Mr Bernard Oosterom, said: “The jury believes this participant fully embraced the Expo’s theme and gave us a glimpse into technologies and ideas that could be part of a sustainable future. The natural world has many answers to our challenges, and both the pavilion and house translate that into an amazing visitor experience.”
The Garden and Landscape Design was awarded to Lips Groen Houveniers – Feel Good Garden Zintuigentuin. Mr Oosterom said: “When you go in this garden, you can feel its energy. It has brought strong colours and emotion to the Expo while at the same time being a garden that reaches the heart. This garden is based on research and experience, which means people feel better being in a place like this, and the jury felt this too.”
Floriade is the brand name for this A1 Category World Horticultural Expo, which has occurred in the Netherlands every ten years since the first AIPH-approved Expo in Rotterdam in 1960. These Expos are also recognised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).
A total of 22 awards were handed out. The Floriade Expo 2022 jury consisted of Jury Chairman Tim Briercliffe (secretary general AIPH), AIPH President Leonardo Capitanio, AIPH former President Bernard Oosterom, AIPH Vice President Bill Hardy, AIPH Chairman of Expos Kevin Chung, and Georg Franke, Michiel Gerritsen, Kim van der Leest and John van Ruiten represented The Dutch Horticultural Council (NTR). The BIE jury member was François Colson.
With Growing Green Cities as its theme, Expo 2022 Floriade Almere has shown the path for a sustainable and liveable future, and its legacy is a source of knowledge for the future. More information about all the participants can be found here.
The next AIPH-approved A1 World Horticultural Expo will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 14 October 2023 until 17 March 2024, under the theme ‘Green Desert, Better Environment’.