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The Trophy is back: Europe’s largest bonsai event made a smashing re-entry after Covid

The wait is over, after two years it was time for the largest European bonsai show — The Trophy. An amazing show with top level bonsai, shohin, suiseki and pots. Demonstrations from international bonsai artists and the largest Trade Fair for all that is bonsai.

The 2022 edition was cancelled at the last moment, because we all thought Covid was over, unfortunately it wasn’t. That was quite a shock, but finally, after almost three years, the biggest event in Europe could take place again. The team who has to build up the stands, backdrops and prepare everything for the demonstrations and trade stands did a tremendous job. Dark black backdrops were chosen for the bonsai exhibition and this was a good decision because it made the bonsai stand out far more, and softened the bright lights. When the trees were brought in on the Friday night there was some grumbling because scrolls were only allowed in the tokonomas, not with the other exhibited trees so as to create harmony and consistency between all exhibited bonsai. Final display touches were done by Danny Use, coordinator of the exhibition. There were also so many contestants this time that space was somewhat limited.

The 15 tokonomas of Sakka Kyokai.

But on the Saturday morning when the show opened to the public all things fell in place perfectly. When entering the bonsai exhibition you were welcomed by a traditional Japanese garden, built by Yokoso Japanese Gardens, with a real Koshikake Machiai, the waiting bench in a tea room garden. Participants of the tea ceremony have to wait on the bench before being called into the tea room. This is meant to slip us gently into the mood, but at the Trophy you could just walk in and indulge yourself with all the beauty of the bonsai.

  1. The team together with the sponsors.
  2. The awards were made by blacksmith artist, Roger Swings.

Adjacent to bonsai displays, there was also a special exhibition by Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Europe, which included trees from Danny Use’s private collection. 15 tokonomas were set up by the club. There were also 150 exhibited trees, including 8 kifu, 18 shohin displays and the special display of François Jeker.
Alex Rudd of The European Bonsai Potter Collective (EBPC) arranged an exhibition of top-level European potters. Some pots displayed amazing glazes and shapes, both traditional and modern designs were presented — even pots made with a 3D printer. Suiseki was well presented here, organised by Hoger Göbel, more than 20 top viewing stones were on display.
Demos were scheduled throughout both Saturday and Sunday, led this year by Enrico Savini (IT), Andrés Alvarez Iglesias (ES), Piotr Czerniachowski (PL) and Pietro Sampirisi (IT). All worked on amazing trees, which were sponsored by Bonsai Center Ginkgo.

The special display by François Jeker.

On Saturday afternoon the gala dinner and this year’s awards ceremony took place. It should be mentioned that many of these awards went to Spanish Bonsai.
We must not forget to mention that the Trophy is the largest trade fair for Bonsai and all that comes with it. So this time again more than 100 traders had stands in two large halls.
We are already looking forward to next year’s edition to be held 17-18 February 2024. We will keep you posted.

The waiting bench at the entrance of the bonsai exhibition.

The demonstrations

  1. Piotr Czerniachowski working on a Scots pine
  2. Enrico Savini, on a Scots pine
  3. The audience
  4. Pietro Sampirisi works on an olive
  5. Overview of the demonstrations
  6. Andrés Alvarez Iglesias working on a yew

The overall winner: Pinus Mugo by Ruben Ciezar Villanueva.

An amazing display of a windswept beech by Jean Pierre Reitz.

Overview of the show

  1. The selection of fine suiseki.
  2. Admiring the cascade larch by Mauro Stemberger.
  3. One of the halls of the bonsai trade fair.
  4. Enthusiasts from all corners gathered to see the show.

Some detail shots

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Publication dates

English language edition 2024Publication Dates
IssueE-MagazineEuropeRest o/t World
2024-1 #186 | #209- January /FebruaryJan. 1, 2024Jan. 15Jan. 22
2024-2 #187 | #210- March / AprilMar. 4Mar. 18Mar. 25
2024-3 #188 | #211- May / JuneMay 6May 20May 27
2024-4 #189 | #212 -July / AugustJuly 1July 15July 22
2024-5 #190 | #213- September / OctoberSep. 2Sep.16Sep. 23
2024-6 #191 | #214- November / DecemberNov. 4Nov. 18Nov. 25

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