On the bed of an inland sea, a garden festival has given birth
to a new park.
By Robert Holden
photo by Linda Paull Garrison
Once every decade, a garden festival called Floriade showcases
Dutch horticulture and produces a new and permanent public park.
Queen Beatrix opened Floriade 2002 on April 5, and by the
time the festival closed on October 20, 2.1 million people had visited
the newly constructed 160-acre exposition grounds west of Amsterdam
near Schiphol Airport. Now the exhibits have been removed, and the
site is being adapted for recreational and civic uses for the municipality
of Haarlemmermeer, which plans to welcome the public back to the
site this July.
European garden festivals like the Floriade originated in
the 19th century. The Germans, for instance, had their Reichsgartenschauen
until World War II, and in 1951 the first federal Gartenschau
took place in Hanover. Influenced by the success of the German festivals,
Holland held its first Floriade in 1960, in Rotterdam, and
subsequently in Amsterdam in 1972 and 1982, and near The Hague in
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