A Visitor's Guide to the Floralies of Ghent, Belgium : History and Tourist Information
Ghent may be called the flower city of Belgium and is famous for its azaleas and begonias. The azalea was exported from China and Japan from the 18th century and nowadays almost 75% of the European production is cultivated in Ghent and exported worldwide. The organization of the Floralies of Ghent every 5 years makes this region world known for its flower and plant production.
Flowers are a symbol of happiness, joy, love, friendship and represent different meanings. It is not unusual that so many visitors from countries of different continents visit the Floralies of Ghent. You may discover plants and flowers you’ve never seen before and enjoy the stunning smells, colors, creativity of craftsmanship created by floriculturists.
The Floralies of Ghent is the largest inside garden of the world with a surface of 450,000 m² and exhibits more than 500.000 varieties of plants and flowers. It is a walking tour between 2 and 3 hours to view the amazing proud of this flowers, plants and art work they created.
The history of the Floralies of Ghent dates back from the 6 February 1809 and was organized in the pub “Au Jardin de Frascati”. You can’t compare this one with the Floralies of Ghent nowadays. The surface was only 48 m² and only 49 plants where exhibited to compete to win the prize of the most beautiful plant. A Camellia japonica and a Cyclamen persicum were honored with the first and second prize.
Through the success of the first exhibition in the pub “Au Jardin de Francrati” they organized every year a winter and summer exhibition in “the Sodaliteit” in “the Korte Meer” near the Kouter in the center of Ghent. More than 240 plants where exhibited and that is why they needed another location. The success of these exhibitions has grown rapidly and another location was necessary. The exhibition of 1828 exhibited already 1200 plants and the ground-floor of the town hall was used for this flower exhibition.
The first five-year exhibition was organized in 1839 in the Casino of Ghent. It was either in 1873 they called these exhibitions the Floralies of Ghent. In prospection of the World Fair of 1913, they constructed a new building (the Flories Palace) for this flower exhibition in the middle of the citadel Park of Ghent. The surface of this building was 28.824 m² with a large hall which measured 170 meters long by 60 meters wide. From 1985 the Floralies of Ghent moved to Flanders Expo (Maaltekouter 1, 9000 Gent) where they still organize the Floralies of Ghent every 5 years.
There is no place on earth where you can view so many plants and flowers in an indoor exhibition. It is not unusual you will meet people from all places of the world there. From the beginning of the winter, floriculturists has taken all actions to ensure flowers and plants are blooming when the Floralies of Ghent are organized, even these which normally bloom in other periods of the year. They place them in flower storage cold rooms to limit the time of the winter and place them later in greenhouses to enjoy the warmth of an early spring.
The items of the Floralies of Ghent will vary if you compare all the exhibitions and you find always unique creations. The eastern inspired Garden is really wonderful with its Japanese creations. You will also notice higher temperatures if you enter this area of the Floralies of Ghent. Nobody can ignore the beauty of the Aiko Azalea which you find in the eastern Garden.
The landscape of Australia and many other countries are also features of the Floralies of Ghent. You may also notice some birds in trees and most everyone will try to make several amazing flower pictures. In the last exhibition of 2010, you can view also the Atomium of Brussels with its 9 atoms made from different plants. You will view also many beautiful statues during your walk in the Floralies of Ghent.
The Atominum in Brussels
The royal interest shows the importance of the Floralies of Ghent. Almost every king, queen, prince and princess has visited the Floralies of Ghent. The last 3 exhibitions were opened by prince Filip and Princess Elizabeth.
The Floralies of Ghent is “a must visit” tourist attraction for flower and plant lovers. It is important to know this event is organized once in a time frame of 5 years. It is worthwhile to visit and you will never forget the beauty of these plants and flowers.