NoelandersAfter more than a decade of running one of the leading European bonsai shows, Noelanders hardly needs an introduction. Whether you go to Noelanders to see some of the best bonsai trees in Europe, for the traders or to just meet up with friends.. Noelanders is a great event for bonsailovers.

This year saw edition sixteen. And as fitting for a sweet-sixteen.. It was in a new venue. De old location was getting too small and crowded. Last year the NOelanders organization already decided to implement a no-photography rule, to avoid tripods blocking the corridors. Although this year space was plenty, the photography ban was kept in place. Only press-card carriers were allowed in with a camera.

At 10AM the doors were set to open. Arriving some 10 minutes before ten resulted in a view quite unknown to bonsai shows. A queue in front of the door. Some 30 persons were waiting at the door to be let in. Not knowing what would result in the 10 minutes to come, I thought this was already extreme. But.. When the doors {finally} opened.. the queue had extended some 100 meters to the parking lot. Quite an experience to see so many enthousiast waiting in the cold to be let into an exhibition.

The entrance to the venue had a little stone-river next to it, makiong it look like a Japanese garden. After paying for entrance the enourmous hall showed itself. A central area with traders for magazines and halls off to the side. The main hall was, of course, reserved for the bonsai. Being one of the very first to enter the choice was dificult.. Into the trading areas or into the exhibit. I decided to first have a look at the trees, without thickets of people, and look at the traders tables afterwards. I was not on the lookout for anything special.

Ramnification on taxus
Ramnification on taxus

As usual, the level of trees entered was very high. Big names such as Kimura had styled some of the trees on exhibit (Although they are now owned by different persons!). One of the top trees in my eyes was a rock formation with a Chameacyparis obtusa forest on it. A very natural looking display. But I do not envy the judges, who had to pick ‘the best’ of about 200 trees on display.

Some of the trees in my eyes could have stayed on their benches for one or two more years. Although they were good now, they would have been amazing in just a few short years. But I guess that it is dificult to have a tree at home which could enter the exhibition, and then decide to not show it yet. Yet.. ramnification could have been so much better!

After seeing the trees, it was off to the traders’ tables. From Stone Monkey to Yamadori bonsai and Enger bonsai, all were there. A guestimate would bring the number of traders to perhaps 50. Se enough to leave with the pockets empty of cash, and the hands full of new materials for the upcoming summer.

All in all a great show. Well worth going, if you have never been there. And of course to all my friends in Bonsai.. See you again next year at Noelanders! Next year the show will be earlier in the year, which means it won’t coincide with Carnaval.

A video by bonsaipire:

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