ROTTERDAM, 5 July 2023 – As the climate warms, the city of Rotterdam is looking to the future with a focus on heat-resistant greenery. Trompenburg Gardens & Arboretum, a green oasis in the heart of the city, is leading the way in researching and cultivating the trees and plants of the future.
The urban heat challenge
The phenomenon known as 'urban heat' is becoming increasingly prevalent in cities like Rotterdam. This effect, caused by dense construction, solar radiation, and climate change, results in cities retaining heat and failing to cool down sufficiently at night. A solution to this issue is being explored at Trompenburg Gardens & Arboretum, where a focus has been placed on the cultivation of heat-resistant greenery.
The power of one tree
Jaap Smit, the green curator and dendrologist at Trompenburg, explains the significance of this initiative. “Did you know that planting one tree can reduce the need for ten air conditioners?” he says. However, not all native trees and plants thrive in urban heat. Therefore, Smit and his colleagues are exploring flora from warmer regions that can survive in these new conditions.
Smit refers to trees not native to the Netherlands as 'naturalised trees'. The country faces challenges with native trees not being heat-resistant and being affected by diseases and pests such as the oak processionary moth. By introducing a variety of plant and tree species, the risk of losing greenery is reduced.
At the entrance of Trompenburg, a Zelkova carpinifolia stands as a typical 'tree of the future'. Originating from Southeast Europe, it is accustomed to hot summers and cold winters. This species is thriving at Trompenburg, which even provides cuttings to tree nurseries, acting as a nursery for urban greenery in the Netherlands.
About Trompenburg Gardens & Arboretum
Located in the Kralingen district on the outskirts of Rotterdam's city centre, Trompenburg Gardens & Arboretum is a beautiful botanical garden with a large collection of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and tubers. The garden, which spans 8 hectares, is open to visitors in all seasons and is a refreshing green museum where it is always cooler than in the city during the summer.
How to get there