Sunday, 6 May 2012

FLORIADE? What's it all about, then?

                                         FLORIADE...a great day out!

The Cable Car at Floriade

I've even more beauties to share with you from my vistit to Floriade at Venlo, Limburg, in the Netherlands. Floriade is a World Horticultural Expo running from 5th April -7th October and is vastly different from the Keukenhof park of my last blog. The whole site boasts themed areas representing Relax and Heal (taste, smeel, feel, hear) Education and Innovation (clean lines and changing perspectives, the future from a different angle), Green Engine ( nature and industry), World Show Stage (other cultures-art, entertainment), and the Environment (green cities, growth for health).

You can view the mostly flat site from on high by taking a short trip on the cable car that glides very silently over the venue.
Floriade stiltwalkers

Floriade isn't only about horticulture. It's not called a Theatre of Nature for no reason. Dance, music, acrobatics, and artistic elements abound at Floriade. On arrival, when the park opened its doors for the day, I was met by the fantasic parading of the Floriade Close-Act's stilt-walkers who entertain with an ethereal dance. Closer to the end of the day there's a Spectacular Floriade Show in the outdoor amphitheatre, artistes from many of the world's countries participating.

At each thematic area you'll encounter a restaurant to entice the palate, designed to enhance the whole themed experience. At Relax and Heal the food served is a selection with Asian influences. I sampled a fantastic teriyaki chicken cooked to order in front of me-extremely tasty, plentiful and very easy on the pocket! At Education and Innovation there's a wonderful sample of regional dishes.  
(image courtesy of www.123RF stock photos)

 World Show Stage provides international dishes and Green Engine serves Fresh Fast Food geared to encourage a healthy blend of vegetables, meats and carbs. The Environment restaurant is a waterside beach setting, and tempts with typical beach dishes.

If you time it just right you might not even need lunch since many of the foods are available to sample in the arenas.

The Floriade park is a delight, easy to spend hours in as you
wander the huge site (66 hectares if that means anything to you!). You'll find outdoor displays of flowers, and indoor pavilions showcasing many aspects of horticulture and related scientific developments, all around a natural park setting. 

My Green World
The buildings vary in size, design, and materials used, but all are fantastic to view. My Green World showcases the part Holland plays in 'seeding and nurturing' technology, important since they are a huge exporter of bulbs to the world at large.

There's World Stage shopping in specially constructed sites depicting the culture of the participating country. You can wander at will, in and out of the small display venues, and peruse the huge selection of gifts for sale.

At Floriade there are fabulous greenhouses with tropical displays and spectacular orchids. What about these two settings?

I'm drooling over these but my Aberdeenshire climate isn't geared to having such lush tropical plantings.

If I tried really hard, though, maybe I could manage to achieve something like this baby dinosaur turtle (at least that's what I'm calling it!)

There are areas devoted to attractive floral diplays, as at Keukenhof, giving the visitor ideas for their own garden-though it is not like the Chelsea Flower Show with complete garden designs. Floriade seems, to me, more about showcasing the bigger picture with a heavy accent on using eco technology and innovative ways of using what's natural, to create an environment for the future-a place with plenty of healthily grown food to feed the popluations of the world.

Het Aardbeienland

Designed to appeal to young and old there's also the whimsy at Floriade. At Het Aardbeienland there's a magical little scene to tempt the taste buds of onlookers. I for one, do find Dutch strawberries-lekker! (If I'm spelling it correctly it means tasty.)

Another little whimsy to end the blog ... Knit a tree jacket!

If you make a visit yourself you might also see the elusive, and fabled, Willowman-a recluse who is said to live in the Floriade forest. His willow house, over time, eventually evolved into a village of natural sculptures. If I said I had no time to explore, and seek him out, you'll think it was just an excuse and that I was too terrified to venture into the darkness of the forest. Make up your own mind on that one! 

But if you get the chance to visit Floriade it is a lovely day out!


  1. Wow, Nancy, this place looks like a wonderland. That tree with the sweater is a little creepy, but the orchids and other flora are spectacular. I can practically smell the fragrance from here. I'll have to share this with my sister who names her orchids and shares pics of their growth like a proud mama.

  2. Thanks for popping in, Mac. Hope your sister enjoys it!


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