A Floating Forest for Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s harbour will welcome 20 ‘floating’ trees next month as part of an innovative urban greening project.

Called the ‘Bobbing Forest’, the project reacts to an urban environment located below sea level. The concept for this project comes from artist Jorge Bakker of MOTHERSHIP, who is renowned for his installations with architectural impact. His installation ‘In Search of Habitat’ for instance consisted of an aquarium filled with floats in which model trees grow. The project team also includes students from a nearby university.

After a long period of experimentation and test, the team develop a prototype for floating trees, planted in sea buoys recycled from the North Sea. A main challenge during the process was the tendency of trees to become ‘sea sick’ from the rough movement and salt in the environment.

The team discovered that the Dutch Elm, however is sturdy enough to thrive as it floats and bobs about. The species is also tolerant of a modest amount of salt water.

The project will replant 20 trees that have been moved from other parts of the city during construction. It’s a way to bring a little more green space—and the many benefits of trees—to the harbor, and it might serve as a model for future parks.

But for now, the team just wants to make a statement.



  1. u206649 says:

    This is almost identical to our project “Floating Trunks” that was installed in three cities arond The Baltic Sea 2014. For the European Capitals Umea, Sweden and Riga, Latvia + Pori, Finland.
    21 Living threes in lifebuoyes floating on the river for 3-4 months.
    We have a book about the project:;jsessionid=452340CAF701ACDF9CBB42B8881418BA?prodId=41723&artist=SIMKA&title=Floating+Trunks&publisher=SIMKA+%2F+Word+%26+Object&category=monograph

    Our Website:

    Best regards
    Simon Häggblom