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The tulip season begins in the Netherlands; see where to find them

Since 2012, residents and tourists in the Netherlands have had a specific appointment on the third Saturday of January: “National Tulip Day” or, in Dutch, Nationale Tulpendag which officially marks the beginning of the tulip season, the flower that has become one of the country's great symbols, but which has its own peak between March and May .

On this day, the center of the capital Amsterdam hosts a festival in which producers donate a symbolic part of their production and visitors can take tulips home at no cost. There are around 200,000 available in a garden set up especially for the occasion. The event always starts in the early afternoon and ends only when all the flowers have been harvested – each person can pick up to 20 units. The organization provides a special biodegradable bag and asks the public to use it to transport the flowers.

“It’s a super cool event at Praça dos Museus that marks the opening of the station. The queues are huge and it's a very tourist attraction, the Dutch don't really care that much. Around this time, the streets are filled with flowers, even the government spreads some vases around the city. And as we only have two or three months of the year available, we want to take advantage of them. They are found here in different shapes and sizes and there are several techniques to ensure they are looked after and lasted”, highlights Brazilian Nadia Helfenstein, who has lived in Amsterdam for two and a half years.

Tulips in Holland

With very unique characteristics that are rarely seen in abundance around the world, the tulip has found the perfect conditions to be cultivated in Holland since the mid-1600s, when the first and, until then, few bulbs were found in the mountains of Turkey – at the time, a bulb was worth a true fortune.

Today, the country's production represents around 60% of the world's tulips. Planted from September onwards, they begin to bloom in greenhouses at the beginning of the year marking the beginning of a colorful period in the country that has its peak in spring, in April.

“The Netherlands is a very flat country, without mountains. These tulip fields are close to the sea. With the sand in the dunes, perfect water level and climate that is always favorable for production, they are the ideal places for tulips to grow. Low temperatures are extremely necessary in this process for them to flourish. The fields start to be full of colors now, from March 15th, and stay that way for about two months. They are huge and represent around 15 thousand hectares. There is production in countries like France and New Zealand, but the vast majority of it is from here, even though it is such a small country”, explains Dutchman André Van Kruijssen, general director of Cooperativa Plantation, in the Netherlands and former general director of Coperativa Veiling de Holambra, in the interior of São Paulo.

André was born in the tulip field region of the country and has always worked in the area, with a lot of study and training in agriculture. In 2012, during one of the visits by a group of Brazilian members of Coperativa Veiling Holambra, he was invited to take over the management of the company with the aim of bringing innovation to services, systems and processes, in which he already had great expertise. He stayed there until 2020, when he returned to the 'tulip country'.

“Brazil has some challenges such as the country’s climate. Speaking of tulips themselves, all the flower bulbs come from the Netherlands in containers. When they bloom, they end up not lasting due to the high temperatures, and the quality also ends up being different,” he explains.

The height of tulip season

Keukenhof Park

Every year, the highlight of the high tulip season in the Netherlands is the opening of the Keukenhof Parkwhich turns 75 years old in 2024. Boasting its beautiful landscapes and different gardens full of colors, types and sizes of around 7 million flowers, it is located approximately 40km from Amsterdam and opens its doors only during a specific period to welcome the public.

This year, visitors will be able to enjoy its facilities from March 21st to May 12th, a period when tulips bloom in all fields. Tickets for adults cost €19.50 online and €23.00 directly at the box office (around R$130).

In its pavilions, the Park hosts different exhibitions, which can be found in this link, in addition to works of art spread throughout its premises. There, tourists can also take different guided tours exploring the entire area, whether on foot, by boat, or by bicycle.

Other ways to enjoy tulips in the Netherlands

The only place where you can enjoy the experience of beautiful tulips is in this renowned park? The answer is: of course not! Different regions of the country breathe the theme not only during these months, but throughout the year.

The rural areas of the Netherlands are the ones that most shine in the eyes of visitors, who, when traveling along the roads, see the beautiful tulip fields in these periods. So, it is common for people to park their cars on the side of the road and walk to enjoy them.

However, you need to pay attention to one important point: the fields are mostly private properties. It is common to see photos and videos of tourists inside them – and this has really become a cultural habit there -, but it is necessary to be extremely careful and attentive so as not to cause any type of damage to the plantations, and of course, not to pick any flowers from the locations.

In the Netherlands there are different flower routes that can be explored. To the north of Amsterdam (about 40km) is located the city of Alkmaar . It is in this region that the largest tulip fields are located.

It is also during these months that the city streets and shops are full of tulips on display, whether for sale or just to be enjoyed. O Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam flower market, is also a must-see for those who like the theme, which can be explored further in the Tulip Museum.

“A bouquet of tulips in the Netherlands costs approximately R$30. The tip is to take advantage of these stores and discover the various flower presentations in the Amsterdam region throughout this period, whether in parks or fields. It’s really worth it”, concludes André.

Source: CNN Brasil

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