Over 50 Romanian artists made a demonstration of floral art on Thursday, during the 6th edition of the National Competition of Floral Arrangements organised by the Embassy of the Netherlands to Bucharest.
The event takes place on the National Day of the Netherlands every year, in the presence of HE Matthijs van Bonzel, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bucharest.
The aim of the event was to share with the Romanian public the Dutch experience in the flower arrangement field and promote quality floral art.
The prize for the most creative and innovative participant in the contest was a trip to Holland that includes visits to the Keukenhof flower park and Aalsmeer flower exchange. The judges were a group of Romanian and Dutch specialists.
There was also a demonstration offered by the Dutch maestro Cees van Dijk, who makes the floral arrangements for the Royal Houses of the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia. He was also a member of the jury during the flower competition on the occasion of the birthday of King Alexander.
Those who appreciate flowers and beauty in general also had the opportunity to admire a spectacular exhibition of cut flowers, pot plants and accessories.
Cees van Dijk – The pioneer amongst freelancers
When Cees van Dijk started offering his services as a freelance floral designer/arranger/decorator in the early Eighties, he was the first in the Netherlands. Nearly thirty-five years later he is still reaping the benefits. He does little or no advertising; word of mouth is the best possible publicity as far as he concerned. And has been for more than thirty years.
The foundation lies in his Master training in floral design. He then supplemented this with a variety of work experience which more than qualifies him for the title of ‘all-rounder’. Hence he first gained experience at various florists. He then also spent time as a manager, owner of his own shop and vocational trainer at horticultural college.
To find out whether the life of a freelancer is exciting, you simply have to look at the list of countries where Cees has worked: Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Taiwan, Thailand, America, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Indonesia. There are few continents that he has not visited. It has presented him with challenges which extend well beyond simple flower arranging. For a Russian wholesaler of flowers, plants and floristry items he designed a 12.000 m2 trading building. He thereby also designed the interior, the colours and the advertising. And he is still involved. Hence he is helping them organise events and set up a course for florist/shopkeepers. He has worked for clients including the Dutch, Spanish and Saudi Arabia Royal families. During his career there are everytime moments that he has commands connected with the Dutch Royal Family. He made flower arrangements and bouquets for the grandmother of King Willem-Alexander, was involved by decorations during State visits of his parents and in jointly with others he was responsible for a part of the flower decorations for the Royal wedding of Crown prince Alexander with Maxima Zorrequita.
He always looks around him with interest on his travels. “Nature, fashion, art, the work of colleagues: anything really can be a source of inspiration. Also because you can never stand still in this business.” Demonstrations, workshops, judging, designing shops and showrooms; after almost 35 years he is still enjoying it just as much. Favourite flowers are the varieties which have a clear life cycle. “A rose from bud to flower and then shedding its petals; tulips which start to droop over the vase at the end; I still find it fascinating to see that.”
Shops, supermarkets, garden centres, market stalls and wholesalers all have few secrets from him any more. Nor does he have a preference for any particular sales channel.
“I have my catering diploma as well, and I enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Arranging is like making a good soup. Both require a lot of creativity. For a tasty soup you use ingredients like pepper, salt and herbs to give it flavour. Not too little and not too much, that is that art. Just as in floristry”.