What is Tulip season?
Flowers are an important export product of the Netherlands, especially the tulip. The tulip is also the flower that symbolizes ‘Holland’. Every year in the spring, large parts of the Netherlands transform into a colourful patchwork of flower fields. Many tourists come to see the tulips in the Netherlands in this season. There is a lot to do in this time of year: flower exhibitions, tulip routes, flower parades, etc.
A bit of history
The origin of the tulip can be found in the old Ottoman Empire. Because of world trade and sea shipping, the flowers found their way to the Netherlands. The first tulips in the Netherlands only grown in the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden. Only fortunate people were allowed to only look at it. After a burglary in the Hortus Botanicus, however, the tulip quickly spread throughout the Netherlands and the ‘tulip fever’ began. A turbulent trade in tulip bulbs arose. The price for a single tulip bulb was huge, sometimes just as expensive as a house. The tulip mania lasted from 1630 to 1637. The entire market collapsed because supply exceeded demand and confidence had suddenly disappeared. Nevertheless, tulips have always remained an important Dutch product and billions of tulips are still exported every year.
Are you interested in history and do you want to know more about the tulip fever in the 17th century? Then I recommend you to watch the movie Tulip Fever (2017).
When is Tulip season in the Netherlands?
The spring flowers bloom from March to May, but the best between mid-April and mid-May. When planning a trip, many people take into account the opening of the ‘Keukenhof’, the most beautiful spring flower park in the Netherlands. In 2020, the Keukenhof is open from 21 March to 10 May.
Please bear in mind that it is forbidden to stand in the flower fields. You can take very beautiful photos from the edge of the field.
Where to find the flower fields
The flower fields in the Tulip season can be found in several places in the Netherlands, but mainly in the Noordoostpolder (Northeast polder) and the west of the country.
Here I give you more information about the major flower regions and some of the many activities that are available.
Most tulip farms are located in the Noordoostpolder. Here you can mainly find very large fields. Every year a route is set out that can be taken both by car and by bicycle. On this website more information is given specifically about this region.
The bollenstreek (Bulb region)
The most famous and popular region to view the fields is the area around Lisse. This is due to the fact that this region is easily accessible from the major cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The flower fields can be viewed from the car, but the best way is to make a cycle route. There are numerous cycle routes and there are also many bicycle rental companies. On this website you can find more information about this region.
The world-famous Keukenhof flower park can also be found in this region. Every year thousands of visitors from all over the world come to visit the Keukenhof. The gardens are laid out according to an annual theme with tulips and other spring flowers. There are flower shows and exhibitions to visit.
Note that it can be very (very!) busy in the park, so to somewhat avoid the crowds, it is advisable to visit the park on weekdays in the morning. To avoid queues at the counter, tickets can be ordered online in advance.
The Keukenhof is easy to get with shuttle buses from Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) and Leiden. You can find more information about the Keukenhof on their website.
The annual flower parade is another must-see in the bulb region. A procession of flower-decorated wagons goes from Noordwijk to Haarlem, and through the villages of Sassenheim, Lisse and Hillegom. In 2020, the flower parade will take place on 25 April. In 2021 the flower parade is planned on April 17, and in 2022 on April 23.
The head of Noord-Holland (North Holland)
The largest contiguous flower field area in the Netherlands can be found in the north of the province of Noord-Holland. Therefore visiting this area is recommended if you are traveling from Amsterdam and want to avoid the mass tourism of the bulb region. Here you can also enjoy great cycling and walking. The centre of the fields is in the villages of Breezand and Anna Paulowna. Flower days are organized annually in these two villages. During these days, artworks of flowers and other decorations can be viewed. In 2020 the flower days will be organized from 18 to 22 April.
Other events in the spring
It has nothing to do with flowers, but with Dutch culture, and is interesting to experience when you visit the Netherlands during that period. I am talking about King’s Day. Every year on April 27 the Dutch celebrate the birthday of the king. It is a national festival, where everyone dresses in the colour orange. There are festivities in every village or town such as pop festivals and flea markets.
Note: until 2013, King’s Day was called Queen’s Day and was held on 30 April. With outdated travel information you can be surprised that the party is already over.
Can I help you?
Do you want more information about travelling in springtime in the Netherlands?
Can I help you with finding the perfect flower activities for you?
Do you need advice with transport to one of these areas?
Can I help you with reservations?
You can contact me anytime!