Holland in bloom
As the national flower, the tulip, begins to bloom it colours Holland, from city to countryside, in all manner of vibrant hues.
In springtime there’s plenty to do in Holland, from staying in the capital of Amsterdam, to travelling further afield and exploring all that’s on offer this season.
Visit Holland from Dover, on our daily crossings to Dunkirk and Calais, or enjoy a relaxing overnight sailing directly from Newcastle to Amsterdam with your own private cabin.
Within Amsterdam, itself, there is the famous Bloemenmarkt, a flower market on the canal where you can purchase the world famous bulbs for yourself, or just wander along, taking in the beauty of the flowers.
For an educational experience, visit the Tulip Museum and learn all about the flowers origins in Istanbul and the ‘tulip bubble’ market crash or the Hortus Botanicus, a 17th century medicinal herb garden, to view 4000 different plants.
From April to mid-May you will also find the Tulip Festival in Amsterdam. 1 million bulbs are planted each year and there is even an official route to follow. You’ll see tulips galore outside grand monuments, along the canals and even in the baskets of bicycles!
Get into the Greenhouse
Taking place on 1 & 2 April and attracting over 200,000 visitors, hundreds of Holland’s greenhouses will open their doors to visitors. You can get some great tips from more than 200 Dutch gardeners on how they cultivate their vegetables and plants, as well as new and innovating techniques in horticulture.
After traversing Holland’s greenhouses, make a stop at some of the tulip farms. Kop and Bollenstreek and Floraholland, the largest flower auction in the world, are all only 30 minutes from Amsterdam.
Keep an eye out in mid-February when the participating greenhouses will be announced.
19-23 April, otherwise known as flower parade week, will see a 42km flower parade through the country, starting in Noordwijk and ending in Haarlem. Hundreds of thousands of visitors will come to witness this outstanding parade and flower arrangements of remarkable artistic skill. Past processions have seen a distorted purple metropolis, gargantuan tigers and oriental terracotta armies. It will, of course, pass by Keukenhof, the garden of Europe, so while you’re watching the parade you can admire the striking Dutch bulb fields.
Once it has made its 42km journey, all the parade floats with be on display in Haarlem’s Grote Market. The beauty of these inventive pieces are a phenomena and are sure to leave you gawping as it passes by, with the fragrant perfumes of the flowers only adding to the experience.
National Geographic has planned a cross-country tulip route – perfect if you’re taking the car. Start in Haarlem and head to the Frans Hals Museum for breath-taking artwork of natural landscapes. If you time if right you could even stop by the parade floats in Grote Market and take in the stunning designs.
Visit Keukenhof – a Dutch bulb field boasting 32 hectares and 7 million bulbs. Keukenhof’s theme this year is Dutch Design, a tribute to the De Stijl art movement of the 19th century which consisted of using only primary colours and block shapes. The tour ends in Naaldwijk; be guided round the flower markets that bring in an annual turnover of billions.
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