Work started on Floriade site in Almere

On Thursday 14 February, Amvest and Dura Vermeer made a symbolic start to preparing the future Floriade grounds in Almere for construction. The municipality of Almere and Floriade Almere 2022 BV joined them in reflection on this event.

Building the Green City of the Future together

The CEO of area developer and investment manager Amvest, Heleen Aarts, is particularly pleased that the work started so soon after signing the development agreement. ‘We are happy to be able to work with Dura Vermeer and the municipality. More than 40 years ago, the first Almere residents came to this polder as pioneers. Today we are realising the Green City of the Future at this place. I think it’s tremendous that Almere wants to play a pioneering role in the green growth of cities and is demonstrating this to the world with the Floriade. We are delighted to be able to contribute our efforts.’

‘Absolutely right’, adds Marieke Mentink, managing director of Dura Vermeer. ‘It’s great that Dura Vermeer is involved for the 4th successive time in the realisation of a Floriade event. What makes this expo special, however, is that after the Floriade a unique city district will emerge, offering an unprecedentedly high quality of living for the Netherlands.

‘It’s a very pleasurable moment for us. We have been working towards this for seven years and now the construction is actually going to start. We were already involved with the idea of the Floriade and all the ideas associated with a growing green city, but now that work has started at the 2022 expo site it will all be very tangible’, says Almere alderman, Loes Ypma.

‘This is of course an important milestone for us as an expo organisation’, Peter Verdaasdonk, director of Floriade Almere 2022 BV, says enthusiastically. ‘We are now entering into close cooperation with Amvest and Dura Vermeer – for the initial development phase of the Floriade site. The real estate that will be developed for 2022 will be used by national and international participants during the expo and will then remain part of the city district after 2022. Together we will make a unique journey towards 2022.’

Planning the realisation of the expo

A special aspect is that the construction of the expo and the city district merge into one process. Amvest and Dura Vermeer will develop the roads, bridges, showcase houses, i-Streets and country pavilions (such as, among others, the ‘green embassies’) for the expo. Dura Vermeer has now started preparing the site for construction. Meanwhile, the design phase for the first five pavilions has also started. These are being designed by five, Dutch architects. Construction of the first country pavilions will start in the spring of 2020. The plan also provides commercial space, for example for catering and a hotel. After the expo, the permanent properties will play new roles in the city district. For example, the country pavilions will be converted into houses. The temporary pavilions will have a circular character and can be relocated or used flexibly.

Energy-neutral, green city district

After the exhibition in 2022, the Floriade grounds will be transformed into an attractive city district, rich in trees, plants and flowers. An energy-neutral city district, where peace, space and greenery are given priority. Thus the Green City Arboretum, the alphabetically arranged plant library that borders the plots, will also be maintained after the Floriade. It will be a special district, a district that really is there for all Almere residents – easily accessible by means of a bridge over the Weerwater, with a mix of 600 rental and owner-occupied houses and 60 waterfront houses. (It is not yet known when the rental and sale of the homes will start.)

To signal the start of the preparation of the Floriade site for construction, the four parties built a fence around a sweet cherry tree on the site – the beautiful Prunus avium. This Floriade is, after all, about the integration of green with urban district. And this symbolic act demonstrated that we are building within the existing green.