This year, from April 5 to October 7, the Venlo region of the Netherlands will play host to the sixth World Horticultural Expo, also known as Floriade. The inaugural event was held in Rotterdam in 1960 and, according to the Dutch Horticultural Council, was meant to be “a major cross-sector horticultural exhibition that will attract both national and international attention.” What makes Floriade such a must-see attraction is the fact that it only happens once a decade.
"Floriade is a horticultural exposition like no other in the world,” says garden writer Veronica Sliva, who will be leading one of Donna Dawson’s GardeningTours.com groups. “Dozens of countries are involved with different themed areas. For garden lovers, it is a must-see.”
Floriade has been making its way through various parts of the Netherlands, including a couple of years in Amsterdam. The Venlo region has set aside 66 hectares for over 100 participants and five themed worlds: Relax & Heal, Green Engine, Education & Innovation, Environment and World Show Stage.
“I was amazed at the size of it, how many countries were there and how unusual it was from the other shows I had seen,” says Dawson when recalling her first Floriade experience in 2002. “It has its own signature on the gardening world: It’s about education, innovation and the environment, floral displays and gardens, music, dance and food.”
Dawson’s tours, including Floriade, are so popular, they often sell out months in advance. You can put yourself on a waiting list by visiting the GardeningTours.com website.
Here are some other travel options to consider:
Tour company Trafalgar has added Floriade to two of its trip itineraries: Best of Holland and Best of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Carlson Wagonlit has organized both a spring and a fall gardening tour that will head to Floriade. Visitors following the spring itinerary will be escorted by Marjorie Mason, of Mason House Gardens.
DIY Floriade tour
If the tour you were looking into is booked, or you prefer to travel solo, consider organizing your own gardening tour. If you fly into Amsterdam, for example, you can include the Keukenhof, as well as other botanical hotspots in your itinerary before taking a train ride to Venlo (about 2 hours and 5 minutes). There is a shuttle bus from the train station. Venlo is also surrounded by the Düsseldorf, Maastricht, Eindhoven and Weeze airports.
More information about the region can be found on the Lust for Limburg website.