Arnhem, the Netherlands

Buro Harro


Buro Harro brought a piece of second-hand nature to the city

Fig.1 Buro Harro used the ingredients of the stereotypical elements of the Hoge Veluwe: a rolling landscape with heather, pine, birch, and a sand drift. (Image: Buro Harro)
Fig.2 From the Veluwe, pieces of turf and plants have been transplanted to the city, resulting in a natural image. (Image: Buro Harro)
Fig.3 Design map of the park. (Image: unknown)
Fig.4 Florentijn Hofman thought the Bartokpark was a fantastic place for his thirty-metre-long "aardvark". (Image: Buro Harro)

The Bartokpark in Arnhem owes its existence to the building crisis of a few years ago. For a lot that once had a church hall, a project developer had big plans, but he had to put his idea for a supermarket and apartments on hold. For the local landscape architect Harro de Jong (who works under the name Buro Harro) and the members of the Department of Temporary Planning - which deals with urban transitions and spatial innovations - the derelict building plot in the heart of the city and opposite De Rozet knowledge, culture and education center designed by NeutelingsRiedijk, an ultimate opportunity. A piece of Veluwe had to arise here.

The idea to bring the Veluwe landscape into the city came from De Jong. When he was just living in Arnhem, he noticed how little his fellow citizens knew about the Veluwe. In fact, for many people from Arnhem, the Veluwe is far far away. That had to change. Not by bringing the people of Arnhem to the Veluwe, but by bringing the Veluwe to the city.

The Bartokpark is a square of approximately 50 by 50 meters and contains just about all the stereotypical elements of an average Veluwe landscape: heather, Scots pine, birch and a sand drift. In the center is a large, red aardvark, a work of art by Florentijn Hofman and given to the city on the occasion of the centenary by Burgers ’Zoo. There are sods all around, coming directly from De Hoge Veluwe National Park. The sods contain a rich variety of species and provide the correct image. Loosely placed pines and birches completed the picture.

The park is now extremely popular. Children in particular cannot be pulled away from the red aardvark. By using stereotypical elements - such as rolling sand, pine and heath - De Jong made the landscape of the Veluwe visible to city dwellers. He speaks of a "renewed English landscape style". ( i ) Then also, designers wanted to bring idyllic landscapes into the city, in fact De Jong is now doing the same.

( i ) Gesprek (per telefoon) Harro de Jong, September 29, 2017.