Bobbing Trees in Rotterdam

Mathilde Nakken
October 6th 2016

When you think about a tree, you image it growing on land. Though the team of Mothership wanted to challenge this image by creating the Bobbing Forest in Rotterdam.

When Jeroen Everaert saw Jorge Bakker's art piece In Search of Habitus, he decided to turn his vision into reality and presented the idea of floating trees to the production company Mothership. Here he started an extensive research on the development of the Bobbing Forest.


Step one of the process was to find a tree which would not get seasick. Yes, seasick! The constant swell of the water makes the root capillaries break easily. Therefore various Dutch universities and colleges did an extensive research on trees. The typically Dutch elm tree was the most suitable to adapt to the conditions of the Rotterdam port. The trees are placed in reused buoys from the North Sea and need to get watered by a boat four times a year, since the buoys contain a large water reserve. By now twenty trees are floating in an unused harbor basin in Rijnhaven, in the port of Rotterdam, where they are exposed as an artpiece next to a theater.

Cities development requires new ways of dealing with the existing greenery. The trees are located in a part of Rotterdam that went from an industrial to a living and recreational area. What is ideal about these trees is that they are mobile, when the city changes the trees can be moved. From the vertical growing trees to the glow in the dark trees, plants redesign is something that we like to do. For now, you can visit for the upcoming five years the Bobbing Forest in Rotterdam.

Source: The Bobbing Forest. Images: Mothership, Jorge Bakker

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