Floriade early report

Part 1 of 2: We visited the Floriade in Venlo, NL on April 27, 2012: 1-All parking is offsite, with continuous shuttle busses. 10 Euro parking fee. Buy a parking ticket before getting on the bus to return to the parking lot. You will park the car on ecological grass and walk to the shuttle bus on gravel. so if it's been a rainy week bring shoe protection. 2-The Floriade is about 163 acres. Bring walking shoes, hats, and sun protection. Neither cable-car station is right at the entrance, so don't plan to ride back, at the end of the day. 3-Food is fairly priced, but not the menu isn't large or exotic. The most adventurous food is at the oriental restaurant. cafeteria style lines to pay are long. A few national pavillions have modest snacks. 4-The show has only one entrance. Only chip-and-pin or cash are accepted. Buy and print internet tickets before you come. After entering, if you paid for the cable car, fold down the bottom of your ticket to the width of the bottom left (smaller and printed vertically) bar code. you'll be scanning this through a very small slot.
5-Forget about using GPS to get here. The roads are all new, so you'll be off-road as far as the GPS knows. I suggest you set your destination to the intersection A67/A73 on the Floriade's internet map. Once you get there, look for the brown signs to "Floriade 2012", turn off the GPS, and follow the signs to the "car symbol" parking lots.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
669 posts

Part 2 of 2: 6-Bring hand sanitizer. There are plenty of nice new rest rooms all over the Floriade, mostly beside the restaurants. But all of the plumbing fixtures and sinks have old-style, hand-operated valves. 7-If you have ever paid money to see a professional modern dance performance anywhere in the world, don't skip anything else to get to the free 3:30 and 5:00 performances at the Floriade Theater (far end of the cable car.) It is missable.
8-This is going to be crowded at the height of tourist season. The boulevards are not wide, and too many of the little Pavillions have the same entrance and exit walkway, instead of flowing-through in one direction.

Posted by Billy
Burlington, KY, USA
42 posts

Tim, Thanks for your trip report. We, including our 4 children, will be flying into Frankfurt later this month. After visiting friends, and some castles along the rhine, we'll head north to Venlo to attend the floriade. As I understand this is a small town, we'll probably spend a night in Dussendolf and catch the train/bus to Venlo the next day. Our flight back to the US leaves from Amsterdam. A couple of question if you don't mind:
- Is one day enough at the floriade or you think more is needed? - Do you think you were better off driving vs. using the train system? Thanks. Billy

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
669 posts

Billy, I apologize if my emphasis on parking info suggested that I thought a car was needed for this excursion. Floriade is in the middle of nowhere, but since there is a shuttle from the train station, a car is unnecessary. We had a car already. The next step is to see if you can get to Dusseldorf without having to change trains. Also, as you may know, euro-trains can be very crowded at school and rush hours. I have found parking our Ford Focus wagon very difficult, dimension-wise, and some of the NL roads are only 1 1/2 lanes, like in the Lake District. Note: Every Floriade road is either brand-new and modern-sized, or controlled-access highway. This is not true of Keukenhof, the bulb show on the other side of NL. We felt no need to spend a second day at Floriade, and we had the option. Young kids will have a good time there, and room to run off energy. But their little legs may get tired. It's pretty big. I think Dusseldorf is better connected to Floriade, but I prefer Cologne as a tourist destination.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
669 posts

Although Floriade and (the much older) Keukenhof have different objectives, I wanted to see both before rating Floriade. One problem is that, while the bulbs (tulip, hyacinths, etc.) at Floriade are in great shape, the shrubs and perennials are not fully grown-in yet. This may be self-correcting, by the warmer, high-tourism summer months. Floriade has a host of things to do, including young children. I have to admit that we didn't go all the way on the woodland and local archaeology-find walks. These are shady, unpaved rambles in (fully planned-out and signposted) the woody (but flat) spaces between the "lands" (sorry to use the Disney term ...) of Floriade. I was disappointed with most of the International pavillions. Although attractive, many were little more than glamorous souvenier shops. Some, like Belgium and North-Rhein Westphalia had carefully designed plant features. (Belgium also sold coffee, gin, and beer!) Some of the mini-garden designs scattered around had much more paving and sculpture than plantings. The several indoor exhibit pavillions were generally good, especially Villa Flora. Some pavillions were more about nutrition or ecology than plants. There was a very child-friendly, extensive pavillion with simple food preparation lessons and hands-on tasting. This is a big property. If you want to enter every single exhibit, you can't finish in one day. But we felt we did it justice in 7 hours. (Note different hours on different days of the week. There are some night hours.) Maybe it's due to cool weather and low traffic, but I found it too hard to get a draft beer. (It was easy to get bottled beer and airline-size wines.)

Posted by Billy
Burlington, KY, USA
42 posts

Thanks again for your report Tim. We are leaving in 2 weeks. Getting very excited. I think we will also do one day at the Floriade and continue on.

Posted by DH
San Antonio, TX, USA
67 posts

Wow the Floriade. That brings back memories of our visit 20 years ago. We are interested in all things horticultural. It was one of the many little secrets of visiting Europe. I believe this event just every four years like the Olypmics or our Presidential elections. I would go to Floriade any time I had the chance. If you are considering going do go. Don in San Antonio.