When you think of Holland what is the first thing you think of? For me it is tulips and dykes. I know it doesn’t really go together but I am fascinated by their dykes and how they have utilized modern technology in its construction it to preserve this flat land country where some parts are below sea level. BBC had an awesome documentary about this a few years back. I have been to see the dykes before but not during this trip. This trip to Amsterdam I was fortunate enough to see the tulips in full bloom. It’s almost the end of the season, but still it was beautiful. It was refreshing. It was nature at its best. Who would have thought that a flower originating in Turkey would later change Holland’s landscapes to encompass acres of flowering fields? Being the flower capital what better country than the Netherlands to host this year’s World Horticultural Expo, Floriade 2012. It’s held in Venlo this time and the even only comes to the Netherlands once every ten years.
I had to go see it. Who would know when I would get to see it again?
Surprisingly, I didn’t see much advertisement for this event at all in Amsterdam and relied on my trusting companion called Google. I’m sure you’ve heard of her. 🙂
The expo lasts a few months from 5 April until 7 October 2012 and does not only have flowers on show but is in itself an experience. The organizers call it a “theatre of nature,” I think so too. Here on view are displays from all over the world and what I love about it is that you are not only going to see the flowers, but here all your senses get a workout.
Your eyes see the beautiful flowers, you smell the freshness of the air, walking through the forests that divide the five different zones you hear sounds that make you wonder if you are a player in a movie, you can touch the flowers or the wooden log homes that decorate the gardens, and if you are hungry you can taste the amazing waffle with the most amazing strawberry jam I’ve ever had.
Throughout the day there are also performances and shows. There was an African dance while I was there. If you prefer something more high tech, there are also The Dome and Earthwalk which gives you a modern view of horticulture. Beautifully done.
I could go on and on but of course pictures a worth a thousand words.
How to get there? I went to the Tourist office and asked for options. The easiest option would be to take an excursion there for 75EUR but then you do not have the flexibility of coming back whenever you wish to. I think the excursion gets back at around 9pm at night and I had a meeting I had to get to and so that was not an option.
Going by yourself is not significantly cheaper but it gives you the flexibility of going at your own time. We bought entrance tickets to the Floriade at the Tourist Centre by Central Station to save time there and also got details on which trains to take. Train tickets cost me 42.70 roundtrip from Central Station to Venlo. It requires connecting to a different train but it’s all quite simple. Just walk across the station at Eindhoven. Once at Venlo train station there is a little bookstore that sells tickets for the shuttle bus to the Floriade for around 3.50 EUR. Oh, the trains we took also had free Wifi so the two hour journey went by in a jiffy.
I wish I could have spent more time there, but then of course I could not. Of course, you can also get more information and buy entrance tickets online at www.floriade.com