ECOLOGY: Dobberend Bos, a floating forest in Rotterdam

Rotterdam revisits its green spaces and gives itself a breath of oxygen in the heart of the port, the Rijnhaven. The first floating forest will be opened on 16th March, 2016.

On 16th March 2016, in occasion of the Nationale Boomfeestdag - the national tree day - Rotterdam will inaugurate its first bobbing forest, the "Dobberend Bos", in the port of Rijnhaven.

The installation has been designed by three members of the local art collective Mothership, known for having produced and directed more than 300 art projects including the lining of the Markthal, the covered market in the city.

To create that floating forest, Jeroen Everaert, Anne van der Zwaag and Jurgen Bey have been inspired by the work of Jorge Bakers, "In Search of Habitus" (2012). With a small-scale sculpture, the latter explored the relationship between man, his habitat and the environment.

To accomplish this work in full scale, juggling between art and urban redevelopment plan, the artists have decided to use recycled materials.

In a city constantly expanding where trees are moved, stored and replanted, it was not hard to find the twenty specimens required for the project. Recycled after a long life spent in the North Sea, the buoys were provided by Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.

True collaborative and educational project, the bobbing forest (or dobberend bos in Dutch) mobilized the students of the Rotterdam campus. With the help of the engineering department of the city, they have been working on the irrigation system of the trees and identified the elm as the most appropriate species for the harbor basin.

The first prototype of a floating tree was successfully put into water in 2014. Now, there are 20 trees floating in the port. You can join the Rotterdam green revolution and contribute to the maintenance of the forest on the sea "adopting" an elm for €5000.

The Dobberend Bos thus allows the upgrading of the industrial basin of Rijnhaven and also creates an additional green space for the city. This original initiative is the first of a long list of projects that aim at innovation in terms of urban development. The long-term goal is to transform the harbor district of the Rhine in a clever mix of residential, business, entertainment and creativity areas.

Translated by Dafne Inzaina –