Spring has arrived. And what better time than now to admire the flowers adorning the Dutch landscape. Our flower-growing region also flourishes with daffodils, hyacinths, lilies…and the national symbol: the tulips.
The tulips were originally important from the Ottoman Empire, known today as Turkey. In 1593, the first tulip bloomed in the Netherlands at the Hortus Botanicus Leiden, the country’s oldest botanical garden and a lush floral conservatory.
Growers and traders competed to offer the rarest specimens in unusual colours and patterns, with bulbs selling for extravagant prices. This ‘tulip mania’ came to a head in the mid-17th-century when the market crashed. However, over the course of history, the Dutch continued to cultivate their botanical and horticultural expertise.
The Netherlands has also put their green fingers to work for other plants, fruit and vegetables. Today, Dutch growers have mastered innovative horticultural techniques, including:
- using drones for precision farming
- maintaining sprawling greenhouse complexes
- reducing reliance on water
- cutting back on the use of pesticides
- creating alternatives to soil, and
- experimenting with self-sustaining floating farms.
This forward-looking approach has positioned the Netherlands to lead the way with organic and sustainable practices.
Enjoy the flowers
If you love flowers, then you should visit the Netherlands between March and May. During this period, the famous Keukenhof gardens in Lisse burst into colour, with more than 7 million flowering bulbs on display.
And why not discover the less known areas? Go rent a bike, and cycle around the Bollenstreek (flower strip), the Noordoostpolder or the Kop van Noord-Holland. Or visit the elaborate gardens and grounds of the Netherlands’ many castles. Castle Muiderslot has a particularly lovely garden estate, complete with a plum orchard.
April fools' joke
The Netherlands Board for Tourism and Conventions played a little April fools' joke to raise awareness about a serious issue. Maybe you fell for it too. If you missed it watch the video below. So please come and enjoy our spring flowers. And you are welcome to take pictures and selfies, but try not to damage the flowers. Here are some do’s and don’ts for taking pictures close to the tulip fields.