Since the 1980s, the Landesgartenschauen (Regional Garden Exhibitions) have been held every two years in North Rhine-Westphalia. Apart from being a showcase for those involved in the design of gardens and green spaces, the aim of the exhibitions is to enhance and provide a lasting contribution to the towns in which they are held.
In 1998, the town of Oelde was chosen for the Landesgartenschau in 2001. The garden exhibition took place after only a short period of preparation and succeeded in attracting the most visitors to any such exhibition in North Rhine-Westphalia up to that point. Planning was centred on already-existing green spaces - the old municipal park, numerous allotment gardens and two cemeteries. The Auensee in the south of the 44-hectare exhibition ground was recreated and the Axtbach (Axt stream) was renaturalised. In the central section, the old municipal park and the water mill underwent extensive modernisation. The mill pond was extended to create a mill lake with an island while “Kramers Mühle” was converted into a children’s museum called “Klipp Klapp Kindermuseum Oelde”. The already-existing allotment gardens and cemeteries were redesigned as themed gardens.
The three main areas – “idyllic floodplain” in the south, “romantic park” in the centre and the “magical gardens” in the north are linked by an approximately 2.5 kilometre route. The area was renamed the “Vier-Jahrezeiten-Park” (Four Seasons Park) and still remains an attractive destination for outings long after the end of the official garden exhibition.