The Best Gardening Education; Floriade This Year.

As well as taking some well taught gardening courses, experience and observation is one of the best ways of self educating.   In fact if you’re passionate about a subject like gardening, going to visit gardens and of course working your own gardens is a good start for improving your own knowledge.  Then there’s books.  The whole lovely, enticing world of gardening books.  Of which of course there are millions.  And if you’re a true enthusiast like I am, you’ll never have enough of them.   But along with gardening courses, observation, visiting and books, there is also the gardening shows.   This is where the show of all gardening shows comes in.  No – Not The Chelsea Flower Show.  It’s Floriade.  And it only comes round once every ten years, and the good news is this year’s the year!.

Floriade is probably the World’s largest Horticultural Exposition. World Expos have been taking place across the world since 1851 (think The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace). They offer countries across the globe the opportunity to showcase their economic, social, cultural and technical developments – in this case showcasing horticulture in its broadest form. An expo often leaves behind it a legacy building, like the Eiffel Tower or the Atomium in Brussels. The Floriade World Horticultural Exposition has been held in The Netherlands every 10 years since 1960.

1960 Rotterdam
Dutch Horticultural Council’s objective when it first launched Floriade was to achieve “A major cross-sector horticultural exhibition that will attract both national and international attention.”  The Euromast was built specially for the 1960 Floriade.  Originally built as an observation point during the expo, over time The Euromast has become a monument for the city. There was also a cable car at Floriade 1960.  And with over 3 million visitors, Floriade was a resounding success.

1972 Amsterdam
In 1972 Floriade was the busiest horticultural exhibition in the world. An incredible 5 million people visited Floriade between March and October in 1972. The grounds were in different locations, linked together by a special train link. Highlights of the expo were the Dahliarama and the great lily exhibition.


1982 Amsterdam
In 1982 Floriade was held at the Gaasperplas leisure park in south-east Amsterdam. The fern garden, the botanical gardens, the azalea garden and the planetarium were the star attractions. Almost 4.5 million people visited and you can still find some elements of Floriade 1982 in the park today.


1992 Zoetermeer
Floriade in Zoetermeer attracted 3.3 million visitors, one million of who travelled from other countries. Almost thirty per cent of all tourists who visited Holland during this period came specifically for Floriade.  A very special aspect of the Floriade in Zoetermeer was the sculpture exhibition. A tramline was also laid in the park. After the exhibition the grounds of this Floriade were immediately reused for the Rokkeveen-West residential estate. This was a major influence in the design of the park.

2002 Haarlemmermeer
Flo riade 2002’s theme was “Feel the art of nature”. The park was divided into three sections: the Roof, the Mountain and the Lake. The floating Roof was made out of 19,000 solar panels and formed the 30,000 square metre indoor exhibition. Another major draw was Spotter’s Hill, a 30 metre high pyramid. About 2.1 million visitors visited Floriade 2002.


Are any of you planning to go?  We'd love to hear your experiences on our blog if you do.   And please post pics on our flickr site at

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