World Horticultural Expo Floriade 2012, Venlo

Once every 10 years, millions of people visit the World Horticultural Exhibition Floriade. Every Floriade edition is hosted by another Dutch town, in the year 2012, this was Venlo. Regio Venlo formulated five themes that explain the importance of horticulture to society and made them central to the expo.  

Regio Venlo Floriade 2012 BV aimed for the Floriade with the future purpose of the site in mind: Venlo GreenPark. A sustainable business park that combines work with greenery and relaxation. Arcadis was asked because of its broad experience with Floriades. We were commissioned to design, build and maintain the Floriade Park until its opening, including the project management. We took on the challenge of making the site (66 hectares, consisting of forest and fields) suitable for the six-month event. But emphatically also for the destination afterwards: Venlo Greenpark. 

John Boon, our head of design for Floriade 2012, explains: “We designed the Floriade 2012 according to the ‘Venlo Principles’, inspired by the principles of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy. Conscious material choices have been made in the use of materials in the Floriade. Examples are the drainage system and materials that have a Cradle to Cradle certificate. But also the experience that the visitors would get was crucial. We changed the expo from product-oriented to experience-oriented.”

Leonieke Heldens adds to this: “The event was based at a centuries-old cultural landscape, with a vision for the future as a sustainable business park. So, we tried to skillfully and sustainably combine the past, present and future in the design. We developed five experience worlds within the existing forest. These fives worlds represented the five central themes: Education and Innovation, Environment, Green Engine, Relax & Heal and World Show Stage. The existing forest was integrated into the design and also the historic relics. They became part of the overall experience.”

The approach of our experts for Floriade 2012 caused a great increase in awareness of sustainability in the region. It has been the driving force behind numerous green innovations: in processes, systems (water, energy, waste, materials, and people) and in the field. In total 2 million people came to visit the park, they rated the park an average of 8.5 and the event was named one of the top ten places to visit worldwide in 2012 by CNN!

Landscape Architects: Arcadis

Other designers involved in the design of landscape:

Mijksenaar (way finding), Jacqueline van der Kloet (planting plans), Climmy Schneider (planting plans), Sanne Horn (landscape and planting plans), Copijn Landschapsarchitecten

Project location: Sint Jansweg, Venlo, The Netherlands

Design year: 2007-2012

Year Built: 2007-2012

Manufacturer of urban equipment: Samson Straatmeubilair

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