In the media

Part of the Sea Green CarpetPart of Floriade Expo 2022

The Bobbing Forest, that’s why…


In 2016, the Bobbing Forest lanted’ in the Rijnhaven in Rotterdam. In 2021 it moved to Almere, to reinforce the message of Floriade 2022. These two locations proved to be the ideal places to tell the accompanying story.

Central to this are three essential issues: the quality of life in large cities, sustainability and the (consequences of) climate change.

In our country, the threat posed by rising sea levels is real. Rotterdam is for the most part only two metres above sea level (partly even below) and if the city were not continuously drained by pumps, the groundwater would rise above street level. Water already makes up a large part of the city’s surface area. This has enormous consequences for the future of the city.

The city is growing. This is a worldwide trend. The number of people living in large cities is increasing enormously. Quality of life, transport, greenery; what will happen and what can we do about it?


These were the kinds of questions that Jeroen Everaert had been occupying himself with for some time when he came across the artwork ‘In search of habitus’ by Jorge Bakker, which consisted of an aquarium in which model trees floated on the water in floats. The question behind the work was how city dwellers relate to nature and vice versa.

Jeroen made every effort, with Mothership, to translate this work of art into reality. For it is logical to investigate the best way to build floating houses, but what about our greenery, our parks? Are our trees drowning?


After years of research in which various courses and companies participated, the first prototype floating tree was launched in 2014, followed by a second one six months later. The test location was perfect: the RDM site in the middle of the harbour, where space is reserved for innovation.

By constantly monitoring the tree, it became clear which species would be able to withstand a life on the water, and in which way. That turned out to be a Dutch elm. Ultimately, this led to the launching of the entire forest in 2016.




Concept storytelling


The concept shows Mothership at its best as a contemporary storyteller. The floating forest tells the story of the value of trees for the climate, biodiversity, liveability and health in the city through greening, sustainability and the need for climate adaptation. So it doesn’t just look very special…

It is a plea for taking better care of our living environment and a call for more attention to climate change. Because if we don’t act in time, our trees will really float. The Floating Forest also calls for the greening of the city, to improve the quality of the living environment. The trees absorb CO2 and contribute to the capture of particulate matter.


That sustainability was also a point of attention during the development of the concept is shown by the choice of recycled material. The trees were planted in steel buoys from the Dutch Department of Waterways and Public Works, from the North Sea. The buoys were made available when they were replaced by synthetic ones.

The trees themselves come from the city’s Bombay depot, where trees are waiting to be replanted. So the new destination is the forest on the water.

It was possible for companies and individuals to adopt a tree and thus become sponsors of the Bobbing Forest. Companies made a good impression with their participation and are proud of the impact the Dobberende Bos has.




New location


The agreement with the municipality of Rotterdam was that the forest could remain in the Rijnhaven for five years. What was to happen to it after that was unknown.

But Mothership was asked for a large commission in Almere in 2019 and thus came into contact with the organization of the Floriade. This horticultural exhibition takes place once every ten years, and in 2022 it is Almere’s turn. A beautiful programme with the theme ‘Growing Green Cities’, according to Jeroen Everaert a unique opportunity for a second life for the Bobbing Forest.

Almere is not only situated by the water, but in the centre of the city there is also a large lake, the Weerwater. The Floriade grounds also border on the water. The Floating Forest has arrived here from Rotterdam. This work by art producer Mothership is a gift to Floriade. Visitors can view the Floating Forest from the cable car and the boat that transports visitors, and from the terrace on the Weerwater.


And again, the story is told there about climate change, the living environment in cities, necessary greening. After a visit, the expected public, some two million people, will have a better sense of the significance of the rise in sea level.

The message will also reach them in this water.





All over the world, the Bobbing Forest has received widespread attention. On the day the trees were launched in 2016, the press conference was attended by dozens of journalists from different countries. And not only the written press proved interested, but requests for interviews on radio and television also continued to pour in.

So the impact that the Bobbing Forest had (inter)nationally was not only due to the forest itself drawing attention to climate issues on the spot; through the enthusiastic press and publicity, a huge audience was reached. And all those people worldwide read about the forest, got to know the underlying questions and became aware of exactly that: the consequences of climate change and the quality of life of people living in big cities. Certainly now that more and more people around the world are living in large cities, this is a pressing problem.


For Rotterdam, the Floating Forest not only generated a lot of attention in the press; it also proved to be a real crowd-puller. It was soon included in the list of must-see attractions when in town.

The fact that somewhere in the world someone came up with the idea of floating trees is already special. What that looks like in reality, nobody could have dreamed of. Together with the typical Rotterdam harbour scenery, the forest looks futuristic; is this how we will live in fifty years? Or earlier? Those images appeal enormously to the imagination.