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Tree planting begins on Depot rooftop garden

6 April 2020 – Today sees the start of the installation of 75 trees on the roof garden of Rotterdam’s Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility, designed by MVRDV.

Over the next week, the contractor in charge of the construction of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Royal BAM Group, will use a special crane to lift 75 birch trees onto the 35-meter-high roof of the building, where they will be planted in a roof garden with adjacent restaurant and spectacular views of the city.

Tough little rascals

The tree that has been selected is the downy birch (Betula pubescens), a soft birch that grows up to ten meters in height and is resistant to the weather conditions on the roof. The trees are between ten and fifteen years old and have been acclimatised to an elevated situation over the past three years. A special watering system will ensure that the trees are never dry. Aftercare will be provided by a specialist arborist who will regularly monitor the trees for vitality, health and moisture management. How long the trees will live depends on a variety of factors, including weather conditions. The vast majority of these strong specimens from a pioneer species – which need very little to survive – are expected to live for several decades. The nurseryman in Limburg who grows the trees refers to them as ‘tough little rascals’.

Photo by Fred Ernst
Photo by Fred Ernst

Green environment

Rotterdam City Council will soon begin landscaping the Museumpark and the area on its northern edge. The area will have a natural stone pavement and numerous planters and trees. In addition, the ponds around Het Nieuwe Instituut and the event deck will also be redesigned.

Councillor Bert Wijbenga: ‘With these 75 trees on the Depot’s roof and additional planting in the area, we are adding yet another beautiful green space to the city, showing how creative we are in using space within the city. Where there is construction, there are also green spaces!’