The urban farm in the Netherlands
What do you imagine when you hear “Netherlands”?
Many people may imagine words related to water, such as windmills, canals, and Dam Square. This is probably because the Netherlands is a country with beautiful canals and cityscapes, so-called “Venice of the North.” The Netherlands has a history of landfilling wetlands and tidal flats and expanding its land since it was a low-lying country (the land is lower than the sea) while being a water capital. From that background, people seem to have lived on boats floating on the canals as homes and have used water well in their lives.
Today, since about 30% of the country is below sea level, it is threatened by rising sea levels due to global warming. To protect against this threat, “Floating Farm,” a facility that can withstand climate change was built in Rotterdam, the second city behind Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
From the term “farm,” you might imagine a green meadow, but the facility is quite different. Although it is floating on the water as it is named, it looks like a modern plant factory. The electricity necessary for the facility is generated by solar panels, and rainwater collected on the ceiling is purified and used. In addition, as Floating Farm also focuses on animal welfare, the manure from the cows is cleaned by the manure robot, allowing them to stay in clean and spacious cowsheds. There also is a milking robot, and cows can determine themselves when they want to be milked. If the cows want to walk, they can go and stay on the grass field called the playground. It is a well-considered environment for cows, where they can drink water and using a massage brush freely for 24 hours. The locally sourced feed, such as bran, potato scrapings and grass from playing fields and golf courses, is provided. In this way, Floating Farm is a self-sufficient, recirculating facility and is different from other dairy farms in terms of its concept and appearance.
Floating Farm also offers an education program. With classes in cooperation with elementary schools in the Rotterdam area, it is actively giving students an opportunity to think about where the food they eat comes from and how it is made.
The Floating Farm has opened to the public since May 2019 and is open every Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 16:00. It is recommended that you visit the farm if you have a chance to go to the Netherlands.