Bosk, the festival’s opening exhibition, was aptly nicknamed the ‘walking forest’, given that the installation is set to move bit by bit throughout Leeuwarden’s city centre over the next hundred days.
“Normally it’s just concrete, and it’s city, and a lot of buildings, but now you’re walking in nature, and it’s really beautiful,” says Thamar, an Arcadia representative. She feels that the project is a way for the people of Leeuwarden to reconnect with nature and take into consideration their everyday relationship with the environment.
The scale of the exhibition is massive, with hundreds of volunteers assembling every week to help move the trees around the city. According to the Arcadia website, the Bosk project also features live performances and news programmes for primary school students.
Once the festival ends the trees, will be moved to their final destinations throughout the province of Friesland in the hopes of creating green spaces throughout the region. The project itself was originally created by Bruno Doedens and the late Joop Mulder, who passed away in 2021.
Arcadia itself is a follow-up to Leeuwarden’s position as the European cultural capital in 2018. The festival will feature, in addition to Bosk, hundreds of performances throughout the province of Friesland over its hundred-day long runtime.
“What makes Arcadia special for me is the scale. There are over 20,000 Frisians involved in the festival, as well as hundreds of international artists,” says Thamar. She hopes that the festival will fuel positive environmental change, as well as continue to promote Friesland as a destination for sustainable tourism.
Arcadia is set to continue until the 14th of August, whereafter it will take a three-year long hiatus before returning in 2025.