TULIPS, TULIPS, TULIPS

Everyone knows, the Netherlands is famous for the amazing array of tulips, how the bulbs are sold to the tourists in bulk, how they are beautifully displayed for sale in markets, in vases in homes and of course there is the world-famous Keukenhof.

I personally LOVE the Spring – when the grey days are less and less.  The flowers are in full bloom, sun is shining.  Last year were were sooo lucky, we had amazing weather and loads of sunshine.  I’m hoping this year is a repeat.  I welcome sunny, dry days in March & April – bonus if they are warm!    Back to the tulips – being they are my favorite flowers (used the be gerber daisies) but I’ve moved on.  So I’m very much looking forward to getting through Winter and into tulip season.  The tulip season is late March to May with Mid-April being the peak, and lucky us, the kids have two weeks off.

HISTORY OF TULIPS IN THE NETHERLANDS

Originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), tulips were imported into Holland in the sixteenth century. When Carolus Clusius wrote the first major book on tulips in 1592, they became so popular that his garden was raided and bulbs stolen on a regular basis. As the Dutch Golden Age grew, so did this curvaceous and colorful flower flower. They became popular in paintings and festivals. In the mid-seventeenth century, tulips were so popular that they created the first economic bubble, known as “Tulip Mania” (tulipomania). As people bought up bulbs they became so expensive that they were used as money until the market in them crashed.   In so-called Dutch famine of the Hunger Winter during the last year of the WWII, the food shortage was so severe that some Dutch people were forced to eat food that they normally did not consider edible including tulip bulbs.  

NATIONAL TULIP DAY – January 19, 2019

 

Every year, on the third Saturday of January, the start of the tulip season is celebrated officially with National Tulip Day in Dam Square, Amsterdam.   But you still won’t find tulips in the fields in January – these ones are grown in glasshouses.  The event is organised by Dutch tulip growers who build a special tulip picking garden on Dam Square.  Anyone can come to pick 20 free tulips here too between 1-4:30 pm but be prepared to wait in LONG lines and come 1 pm it’s every man for himself! Set up starts at 8 am, so you watch outside the gates the displays being set up.  Personally, I’d love to go but when I shared the idea with my family – all shook their head and didn’t want to go.  Clearly, they don’t share the same love for tulips.

TULP FESTIVAL AMSTERDAM – April 1 – 30th, 2019

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The beautiful flower fields of Lisse are not the only place where you’ll see beautiful tulips – during the month of April, you’ll see beautiful flowering tulips at more than 85 locations throughout the city of Amsterdam.   You can buy a €2 Information Guide (Dutch and English) which details all tulip locations and gives the names of every variety of tulip on display and includes a detailed map.   Again, something which sounds great for me – wonder if I can talk the kids into this one or is it another solo tulip adventure? 🙂   Perhaps if I combine it with a trip to the NEMO or another cool thing in Amsterdam they’ll go for it.   That is actually a photo from the top of the NEMO.

VISIT THE BOLLENSTREEK – ‘THE BULB’ REGION BY BIKE

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When the fields are in bloom, the best place to go and enjoy the tulips is in the Bollenstreek – the area between Leiden, The Hague and Haarlem which include:

  • Lisse
  • Noordwijk [beach]
  • Katwijk [beach]
  • Noordwijkerhout
  • Sassenheim
  • Hillegom
  • Voorhout
  • De Zilk
  • Rijnsburg
  • Warmond

You can take a train and view them that way but why not rent bikes.   Rent-A-Bike Van Dam provides various types of bikes (and guides if required) and a free route map of the dune and flower bulb region included which is based on length.  It looks fab – now that I look closer at this – I do think the kids would love to do this with me on a warm, dry day.  You could even visit a tulip farm where you can get a tour, etc.   This website here gives you some of the names of those farms – as there are differences – ones which grow flowers for the world markets and those who grow bulbs,  etc.

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DUTCH FLOWER PARADE – SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2019

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In 2019 the Dutch Flower Parade will be held on Saturday April 13th.  It’s the most famous flower parade in Holland.   More than a million visitors from all over the world will come see this flower parade that will ride from the seaside resort of Noordwijk on Saturday 13 April 2019 via the flower fields near Lisse to the historic city of Haarlem. The route is in total more than 42 kilometers long. Along the route several viewing locations have been created where extra entertainment and explanation about the corso floats will be given.   Download the route map here.

Flower Parades in August and September

Many flower parades are held in Holland in August and September. Summer Flower Parades use different flowers than the Keukenhof Flower Parade. Primarily Dahlias are used to build up the gigantic flower floats.

August

ONLINE TOOL TO FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS 

With bloemenradar.nl and flowerradar.com you can see  exactly where you need to be to find the most beautiful flowers.  In the spring the beautiful Hyacinths, – narcissus, and tulip fields are in bloom. Every day, during the season, the then flowering bulb fields are followed to help tourists determine their cycling and walking routes.  Obviously, some of you are not going to get to the Netherlands to witness this these beautiful fields but perhaps you want to see them yourselves online?

KEUKENHOF

 

Important to know that it is ONLY open from March 21st to May 19!!

Well, I say best for last because it’s a purposely built huge flower park with 800 different types of tulips but even more impressive is that in the fall they plant 7 MILLION TULIPS!  And to me it looks wonderful.  BUT…. it gets SUPER crowded and it is filled with tourists (average age 65-75) so for some might it hell.  I know my husband would absolutely find it a NIGHTMARE of a place to visit.  I’ll of course, offer him to join me, but I know how he is with crowds especially busses and busses of tiny tourists all over the place – I personally think he’d suggest I go alone than visit with him.    Maybe he’ll go with the kids to the playground area – as there are some treasure hunts and nice spaces for kids!

Important to know that it is ONLY open from March 21st to May 19!! 

Every year the flower park is dedicated to a specific theme. The inspiration gardens, events and artworks are adjusted accordingly. The theme for 2019 is Flower Power. The flower park will open for the 70th time, so 2019 is the year to go back to the 1970s and to experience the power of flowers.

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Events at Keukenhof Gardens

Every day of opening the gardens will look amazing. On some days there are special events being held for your to enjoy. All events are free (you only pay for your Keukenhof ticket). You will find the events for 2019 below. Sign up for our free newsletter to stay informed.

Here is a video from the official website – as you’ll see it looks beautiful.    So while I cannot give any tips as I’ve yet to go, I think a few are common sense ones.

  • Don’t go on a bank holiday or weekend if you don’t want to be with all the crowds.
  • Go early – be one of the firsts to get it.  Opens daily at 8 am!  It is less busy before 11:00 and after 15:00. The light of the morning and evening sun allows you to take wonderful photographs. It is also less busy on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday than on the other days of the week.
  • When you get inside, walk away from the crowds to the back if you want to get photos without other people in them.
  • Buy your entry tickets online [€18. adults, €8. kids 4-11] and show the ticket on your phone to gain entry (or print if you really must)
  • There is large parking area nearby for €6.00 all day which you prepay with your entry ticket, or you can take the train, bus, etc.  Depending on where you come from and what you want.
  • You can bring your own lunch.   There are lockers which you put in €2 coin – store in there so you don’t have to carry around the park.  There’s a picnic meadow and various benches throughout the park where you can sit down to eat.  Taking your own food into the restaurants is of course prohibited. There are restaurants like poffertjes, Italian and an Asian restaurant and across the park you will also encounter a number of mobile food outlets that offer, for example, strawberries, herring or hotdogs.  I suspect they are packed!!
  • There is an hour-long, electric boat trip (leaves from the Windmill) for €8. and goes through the tulip fields.

Whether it be with the kids, friends or alone – I’m very much looking forward to going this year.   I’ll be sure to post tons of my photos for sure!

Now I know not many people will come to the Netherlands just to admire the tulips, but if you are here (DURING THE RIGHT PERIOD), at least there are these options & more to see the beautiful flowers

So now, family & friends – guest bedroom is waiting if you want to join me in tulip field visiting adventures! 🙂

 

 

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