The history of Emsflower started as Kwekerij Kuipers founded by Jan Kuipers in De Lutte in the Netherlands. Not too far from this original location, but on the German side of the border, his descendent Bennie Kuipers is driving Europe’s largest gardening company – and the market leader on the continent for flowers and more. Parts of the massive space can be visited on a visitor tour – with some additional entertainment. In October 2020 (on a rather rainy day), I had the opportunity to visit the place, which is also marketed as Erlebniswelt Emsflower (“Adventure World Emsflower”).
Emsflower – Location & Admission
Erlebniswelt Emsflower is located in Emsbüren, a 10,000 people town in the South of the Emsland region / county. The location is majorly ideal as it is more or less right at the A31 Autobahn, Emsbüren exit. The nearby Autobahnkreuz / junction to the A30 motorway leads to an ideal traffic situation. Emsbüren does have a train station, Leschede, but I would rather recommend to travel to the place by car. There is plenty of free parking. There are some facilities like a McDonalds restaurant and some other businesses right at the motorway exit.
Emsflower is opening daily from 10:00 to 18:00 hrs. We have been at the facility during Covid-19 measure – but the area is really widespread so that we felt absolutely safe. Adult admission is 9.50 Euro. The place is fully covered.
Emsflower – The Visit
It is very hard to briefly describe what Emsflower is for a visitor as it combines several quite different areas and functions. After entering the park (it is really close to an amusement park), you first enter the tropical / botanical garden area. There are sections with different kids of flora, like orchids or cacti. There are quite a lot of signs, typically documented in Dutch and German. A very special section of Emsflower is the butterfly garden, which also comes with a beautiful gardening design around a major pond (see below)
Of course, the beginning of the Erlebniswelt Emsflower was locals being curious what the Dutch company is doing in these massive glasshouses. The most impressive part to me was really about how industrial gardening is working and how it is technically organized. For that reason, you can step inside a demonstration greenhouse and see how flowers, but also tomatoes are grown, how they manage the automatic watering of the plants etc. You can also see some experimental areas where you see how they do planting without using proper soil. I felt that this part was really interesting.
Not just for technical buffs (even my wife was impressed), watching the production process was absolutely stunning. The whole logistics is driven highly automatic, the carriages you see in the pictures below are self-driving drones and carriages. Only a few processes like some seeding need limited manual intervention. From the tropical gardens, you enter one of the areas from a high bridge and can catch the automatic vehicles and the few workers. This all comes with some signs and short movies on screens, so that you understand what is going on below you. You just see a rather small part of the plantation areas and the infrastructure, but I felt that this is already really fascinating.
The place wants to attract families – and thus, it is not too surprising that they also have some animal habitats. There are also some more exotic animals like merkats, but quite a lot of the animals are birds. You may feed koi fishes (which leads to some chaos in the pond) and lorikeet. Below is my wife who just made friend with the colorful birds.
A lovely part of the Emsflower park is the butterfly garden, which features countless of these animals, some of them with a fascinating size.
Last, but not least, the youngest animal lovers may meet some dinosaur statues as well.
Emsflower – Services
In a small area, there is also a (marketing) documentary about the company. It is quite interesting to learn about the vision behind the processes and how the franchise is trying to steadily improve their processes. Last, but not least, it is a chance to see some aerial photos of the whole site, which is a good chance to understand its dimensions.
There are two cafes / restaurants. The restaurant is located right behind the entrance and looked really beautiful. Close to some playground sites, there is also a cafe.
There are some playgrounds for kids. The (likely) largest one is the only outdoors place of Emsflower, though. Nonetheless, due to these sites and the animals, Erlebniswelt Emsflower is also very popular among the young generation.
One very interesting exhibit is a model of the housings Emsflower is offering to their seasonal workers. Some nice marketing instrument, hard to validate for the visitor – but in general, I like that kind of transparency.
Gartenwelt Emsbüren – The Gardening Superstore
More or less right across the road from the Emsflower park, you are able to go shopping at a massive gardening center. I would see this one as some kind of “gift shop” after your visit. Visitors of the Erlebnispark also receive a small discount coupon for their shopping.
Emsflower – My View
Even though I struggle with the idea to also have animals in the Emsflower park (the habitats looked very fine, though), I just have to say that the visit im Emsbüren was simply amazing. The presentation about how industrial gardening is done is really fascinating, so that I loved the visit there. The gardens and the animals are adding joy to your time in the Emsland, for sure – but to me they haven’t been the key arguments for liking the visit.
Flyctory.com’s Botanical Gardens
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