The history of the Zoetermeer dates back thousands of years. In a series of stories, we take you on a journey through these thousand years of history. From the creation of Zoetermeese Meer to the construction of Oosterheem. This time: Florida.
In 1992, the fourth edition of the Floriade World Horticultural Fair (The Hague – Zoetermeer) was held in Zoetermeer and organized jointly with the Municipality of The Hague. In 1960 the first Het Park venue was held in Rotterdam and part of Floriade was Euromast, which opened in 1960. Twelve years later it was first held in Amsterdam, at Amstelpark, and since then , it takes place every ten years. In 1982 it was again held at the Gaasperpark in Amsterdam. Preparations for the Floriade at Gaasperpark were still ongoing as discussions were already underway on the idea of bringing the 1992 Floriade to the Hague area.
Floriade is awarded and organized by the Dutch Horticultural Council. The aims of the Horticultural Council, founded in 1908, are to strengthen the image of Dutch horticulture and stimulate exports. The most important medium they use for this is the Floriade. At the time, this gardening board set a series of requirements for choosing a Floriade site. For example, as many visitors as possible should live within a 50-60 kilometer radius and preferably the site is located in or near a large city. There should be a good connection of private and public transport and the area of the site should be approximately 70 hectares. The Horticultural Council took the decision in 1984 to organize the Floriade festival in Zoetermeer, in the district of Rokkeveen.
Even before the Horticultural Council made its decision, extensive consultations had already taken place between the Floriade design team and the Zoetermeer Urban Development Department. A master plan for the exhibition area has been developed. After Floriade, the Rokkeveen-Ouest residential district will be built on the site. This is why the notion of a “developing residential area” was incorporated into the master plan and the dimensions of the driveway trees, windbreaks and driveways were derived from the plot plan for single-family houses. It was also agreed that the original Boulder landscape should be distinguished in the design. The triangular shape was chosen, from which the characteristic graphic pattern of the rock was woven. The triangular shape was a modern reference to Ganzevoet, a classic form of French garden architecture. Traditionally, Goosefoot consists of three “fingers”, strokes or visual axes, which meet at a central point. In the design of the Floriade, the roads consisted of three axes which converged at Ganzevoetplein.
The northern axis of the Gensvot River consists of a one and a half kilometer track. On the south side of this axis was a flower rower where lantern flowers bloom in the spring and then annuals. On the north side was a flower runner with over 25 types of wildflowers such as poppies and sunflowers. Along the axis was an old tram from The Hague. The central axis consisted of a 3.6 m high dam with a pedestrian bridge and a caterpillar-shaped monorail. Via this axis, visitors to the Ganzevoetplein can climb a 76-meter-high tower which offers a view of the entire exhibition area. The southern axis consisted of a straight waterway with three follicles on the side. Madness is a structure that has only a decorative or artistic purpose in the garden. It was particularly popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The waterway ended in the southwest part of the triangular shape at Floraplace.
Seven thematic areas
In addition, seven thematic areas are articulated in the master plan. They are 1) trade, transport and distribution, 2) production and energy, 3) the consumer, 4) the environment, 5) the future and science, 6) the world and 7) the entertainment. The World thematic area includes one of the most important parts of the Floriade, the gardens of the countries participating in the World Horticultural Exhibition. The participating countries were Belgium, France, UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Russia / Soviet Union, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan.
In the spring of 1986, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Brax planted the first tree, the elm, and on April 9, 1992, Queen Beatrix opened the flower garden. Then, 3.2 million people visited the 68-hectare exhibition space over a six-month period. After the Floriade, construction of the northern part began almost immediately. Tree-lined roads, including in Woudlaan, remained intact and the southern and western parts of the neighborhood remained green. These also contain preserved parts of Floriade, Follies, Floraplas, the Rose Garden, Boulder Garden and many works of art. The dam on which the monorail was installed was also preserved during the Floriade and now crosses directly through the residential area.
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Text: Sacha van Vlardingen
Image 1: Flags of the Floriade; Photo: Municipal Archives of the City of Zoetermeer, Photographer: Hoogland, A. (Aat)
Photo 2: Aerial photo from 1988 of the area where the Floriade will be built in 1992; Photo: Municipal Archives of the City of Zoetermeer, Photographer: Delta Photo
Photo 3: The Hague tram; Photo: Municipal Archives of the City of Zoetermeer, Photographer: Hoogland, A. (Aat)
Photo 4: Queen Beatrix at the Zoetermeer to open the Floriade. the extreme left queen’s commissioner in South Holland S. Paten; Photo: Zoetermeer Municipal Archives, Oud Soetermeer Historical Society
All Zoetermeer’s historical series can be found here: news-2021 / history