Now that the Horti Fair organisation has formally dissolved, it is time for a quick look back at the long romance, marriage and deadly fight between the former horticultural trade exhibition NTV and the former International Flower Trade Show Aalsmeer.
For the record, back in 1992 the NTV moved from Bleiswijk to Amsterdam RAI and was joined in 2000 by the former International Flower Trade Show Aalsmeer. But Horti Fair’s history goes further than that with an inaugural flower show held in wintry conditions in 1937. In the snow covered streets of Aalsmeer it felt and looked like a Siberian winter, but inside the CAV flower auction (established in 1912) local growers and buyers were greeted predominantly by flowering cyclamen. This was one of the forerunners of the International Flower Trade Show. As far as the NTV is concerned, this trade show is closely linked to the Westland area, where different predecessors of Horti Fair, such as the Westlandse Handelstentoonstelling and the ATV took place in Westland and Delft respectively, to finally settle down in Bleiswijk for many years.
The fact that it took more than eight years to unite the NTV and the International Flower Trade Show under one single RAI roof back in 2000 was perhaps already an indication that big trouble loomed ahead.
The truth is that Horti Fair never managed to become a globally recognised power brand such as the NTV, the Vaktentoonstelling Aalsmeer or the IPM Essen, though iniatially the mood was euphoric. Participation in the combined shows reached its peak in 2008 with 50,000 visitors from 100 countries.
Then, despite all the marketing horsepower that was used to fuel brand awareness, the first cracks in the merger of the two trade shows emerged. It is difficult to find the exact cause of the Horti Fair’s death as the patient suffered in different ways. Trade show dates were subject to constant changes, differences in the characteristics of the Aalsmeer and Westland people turned out to be quiet pronounced and soon people build a particular impression when they heard the name Horti Fair: expensive, arrogant and traffic-congested.
In a vain attempt to turn the tide, Horti Fair announced that they were going to move from the Amsterdam RAI to the FloraHolland flower auction in Aalsmeer by the end of 2012. Only four months later, on March 22, 2013 the final curtain fell on Horti Fair. The show that once was the world’s leading horticultural trade show was cancelled that same year.
Generally considered as Horti Fair’s successor is the Greentech show, which made its debut from June 10-12, 2014 at Amsterdam RAI. Greentech, which is held every two years, attracted 8,153 visitors and 300 exhibitors in 2014.