Floriade 2012, or the World Horticultural Expo, has been held in the Netherlands roughly every 10 years since 1960.
"Since 1992, it is developed not only to feature flowers but also cultural exhibits. Likewise, it is used as a means to promote trade and tourism," said Mhd. Redha Maha, Technical Operational Director of PT. Vidya Citrapradhana that organizes the participation of Indonesia at the event.
According to Redha, the Indonesian pavilion at Floriade 2012 is featuring unique exhibits representing cultural wealth from different provinces in Indonesia that has been attracting many visitors from various countries.
The Indonesian cultural exhibits have even been the icon of the Floriade 2012 website because they are very interesting to attract visitors to the event which is held in every ten years.
"That is great as it could attract 5.000 - 7.500 visitors everyday," Redha said, adding that it is the biggest number compared to those of other participating countries.
The most interesting exhibits featured at the event are traditional houses from different provinces in Indonesia including those from East Java, North Sulawesi, Bali, Aceh, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara, Papua and West Papua.
Besides traditional houses, the Indonesian pavilion also presents a miniature of the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur, and giant wooden wayangs or traditional Javanese shadow puppets, he said.
Redha pointed out that that the organizer also holds other programs including musical performances and business forums to attract visitors to the Indonesian pavilion.
Among the visitors to the Indonesian pavilion are very important persons including prime ministers, presidents, ministers and ambassadors from different countries like Germany, Luxemburg, Israel, Taiwan and North Rhine (a state of Germany), Redha said.
Redha expressed hope that such an event could be held in Indonesia with the private sector being the organizer and the government as supporter.
"If such an event is held in Indonesia, it would be very good and we (the private sector) can do it but need political support from the government," he said.
The Indonesian participation in Floriade 2012 is supported by three main sponsors namely, state oil/gas company PT Pertamina, state bank BRI and national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia without financial help from the government as the government only facilitates the event.
Meanwhile, former Indonesian vice ambassador to the Netherlands Umar Hadi who is now director for West Europe Affairs at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said Indonesia`s participation in Floriade 2012 was expected to promote more about the country in terms of its potentials in natural resources and culture as well as trade and investment opportunities.
Umar said Indonesia is being promoted by its provinces which offers cooperation in all sectors at the ongoing exhibition in which its pavilion is raised on a 1000-m2 plot of land where cultural exhibits and some export products are also featured during the event.
Indonesia has several times won awards including a gold medal in 2002 based on public evaluation on presented various programs like business forums and attractive activities like cultural performances.
"I like Indonesia with its culture and hospitable people," said Brigitte who would return to the Indonesian pavilion with her family.
Brigitte said she liked the Javanese orchestra known as gamelan which is performed involving various instruments including a violin-like `rebab`, a xylophone-like gambang, gongs and drums with special musical notes creating harmonious sounds when they are played together.
Like Brigitte, Dutch visitor Hammy Meering who once lived in Indonesia was also interested in the Indonesian pavilion.
Trying to speak the Indonesian language, she said, "Ini bagus, saya akan kembali (This is good, I will return)."
Meanwhile, Libertina, an Indonesian student who is studying at TU Delf in the Netherlands, said the Indonesian pavilion is very fascinating because various attractive shows and cultural performance are displayed there.
"Among the cultural exhibits and shows are traditional houses and musical instruments. And I think the most attractive one is a mock up of the Borobudur temple," said Libertina who is now on the first year taking up geo-engineering master program at TU Delf.
Unfortunately when she visited the Indonesia pavilion she had difficulty finding persons in charge at the pavilion to ask. She hoped the information services will be available so that visitors can find out more about Indonesia.
Floriade 2012 is being participated in by more than 40 countries featuring their respective traditional houses. They also involve businesspeople who are showcasing prime commodities as well as export products including souvenirs.
On the occasion, Indonesia is also introducing its export products like oil produced by Indonesia`s state oil company Pertamina and batik cloths from Central Java.