Every spring people from all over the world enjoy the beautiful landscape just outside the city centre of Amsterdam. Traditionally, an exhibition of millions of tulips is made in the Keukenhof in Lisse in the spring, which is mainly visited by tourists. In addition, many tourists come to look at the tulip fields. Between The Hague and Haarlem, the Bollenstreek comprises the cities of Lisse, Hillegom, Katwijk, Noordwijk, Noordwijkerhout, and Teylingen, which are home to a blooming tulip industry.
Tulips are a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes (having bulbs as storage organs). The flowers are usually large, showy and brightly coloured, generally red, pink, yellow, or white (usually in warm colours). They often have a different coloured blotch at the base of the tepals (petals and sepals, collectively), internally. Breeding programmes have produced thousands of hybrid and cultivars in addition to the original species (known in horticulture as botanical tulips).
Growing wild over much of the Near East and Central Asia, by the 15th century, tulips were among the most prized flowers. In the 16th century, tulips were rapidly introduced into Northern Europe and became a much-sought-after commodity during tulip mania. Tulips were frequently depicted in Dutch Golden Age paintings, and have become associated with the Netherlands, the major producer for world markets, ever since.
The Netherlands is famous for its cultivated tulips and is one of the main exporting countries of tulips and tulip bulbs, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, the majority for export. In the seventeenth century Netherlands, during the time of the tulip mania, an infection of tulip bulbs by the tulip breaking virus created variegated patterns in the tulip flowers that were much admired and valued. While truly broken tulips are not cultivated anymore, the closest available specimens today are part of the group known as the Rembrandts
Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador for Emperor Ferdinand I to Suleyman the Magnificent. Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592 and made note of the variations in colour. After he was appointed the director of the Leiden University’s newly established Hortus Botanicus, he planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips in late 1593. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip’s first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.
Tulips spread rapidly across Europe, and more opulent varieties such as double tulips were already known in Europe by the early 17th century. These curiosities fitted well in an age when natural oddities were cherished and especially in the Netherlands, France, Germany and England, where the spice trade with the East Indies had made many people wealthy. Nouveaux riches seeking wealthy displays embraced the exotic plant market, especially in the Low Countries where gardens had become fashionable. A craze for bulbs soon grew in France, where in the early 17th century, entire properties were exchanged as payment for a single tulip bulb. The value of the flower gave it an aura of mystique, and numerous publications describing varieties in lavish garden manuals were published, cashing in on the value of the flower. An export business was built up in France, supplying Dutch, Flemish, German and English buyers. The trade drifted slowly from the French to the Dutch.
Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for the new flowers in Holland triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania that eventually led to the collapse of the market three years later. Tulip bulbs had become so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, or rather, as futures, forcing the Dutch government to introduce trading restrictions on the bulbs. Around this time, the ceramic tulipiere was devised for the display of cut flowers stem by stem. Vases and bouquets, usually including tulips, often appeared in Dutch still-life painting. To this day, tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called “Dutch tulips”. The Netherlands has the world’s largest permanent display of tulips at the Keukenhof.
Tulip mania was a period during the Dutch Golden Age when contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels. The major acceleration started in 1634 and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637. It is generally considered to have been the first recorded speculative bubble or asset bubble in history. In many ways, the tulip mania was more of a then-unknown socio-economic phenomenon than a significant economic crisis. It had no critical influence on the prosperity of the Dutch Republic, which was one of the world’s leading economic and financial powers in the 17th century, with the highest per capita income in the world from about 1600 to about 1720. The term “tulip mania” is now often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values.
Tulips became popular garden plants in the east and west, they are popular throughout the world, both as ornamental garden plants and as cut flowers.The tulip in Turkish culture was a symbol of paradise on earth and had almost a divine status, the flower became a holy symbol. It was also associated with the House of Osman, resulting in tulips being widely used in decorative motifs on tiles, mosques, fabrics, crockery, etc. in the Ottoman Empire. The tulip was seen as a symbol of abundance and indulgence.
In the Netherlands it represented the briefness of life. In Christianity, tulips symbolise passion, belief and love. White tulips represent forgiveness while purple tulips represent royalty, both important aspects of Easter. In Calvinism, the five points of the doctrines of grace have been summarized under the acrostic TULIP.
Tulp Festival in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is the world’s main producer of commercial tulip plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, the majority for export. The flower season starts at the end of March and will last until mid May. The flower fields are the highlight of spring in Holland. Seeing the millions of blooming flowers that create the colorful lines is just amazing. Especially the tulip fields are very popular but also the crocus, daffodils and hyacinth fields are a must see (and smell).
The blooming is very depending on the weather conditions in late winter and early spring. Tulip season in Holland is normally focused from the end of March till the beginning of May but blooming can be one or two weeks earlier of later depending on mother nature. To see the blooming flower fields you will need to plan your trip. There are countless flower fields full of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The Bollenstreek is also famous for the real dutch countryside landscape views. Which are beautiful in combination with the colored fields.
The city center of Amsterdam is also blooming with beautiful flowering tulips n the city center. People from all over the world come to enjoy the beautiful Keukenhof tulip garden and explore the tulip fields just 30 minutes outside the center of Amsterdam. The most famous area with the most beautiful flower fields is around Keukenhof Tulip Gardens at only 40 kilometers from the centre of Amsterdam. The area is called ‘Bollenstreek‘. The Bollenstreek is located behind the North Sea dunes, between the cities of Amsterdam, Leiden, Haarlem and The Hague.
The best flower fields are close to cities like Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, The Hague, Delft and Rotterdam. It is smart to combine your visit to the flower area with a visit to Keukenhof. Enjoy the tulip fields even longer with a hotel near the fields Gardens. It will give you the ability to explore the flowers and Keukenhof Gardens early in the morning or in the evening.
However, it is not allowed to walk through the flower fields, this causes damage to the flower bulbs. If you want unique photos in the flower fields, please visit a tulip farm, where you can walk or bike to the best flower attractions. Explore the flower fields by renting a bike is a recommended way of ecotourism, there is even a spectacular Helicopter tour above the tulip fields. Enjoy the tulip fields even longer with a hotel near the fields and Keukenhof Gardens. It will give you the ability to explore the flowers and Keukenhof Gardens early in the morning or in the evening. You can walk or bike to the best flower attractions and visit a real tulip farm.
During Tulp Festival you will experience the beautiful tulip flowers everywhere in Amsterdam, in the public areas of Amsterdam, in the gardens of the city’s museums and hotels, and by notable buildings in the city center as wel as in various districts of Amsterdam. All displays in public areas are free to enjoy, for some museum gardens normal ticket prices apply.
Keukenhof Gardens is the most populair flower attraction in Holland during spring. The gardens are the perfect location to enjoy the flowers in Holland. During Tulp Festival the tulip fields near Amsterdam are blooming, during this period it is definitely recommended to visit this beautiful flower park. By planting the flower bulbs in layers, the flowers in Keukenhof flower earlier and longer.
The Tulip Experience Amsterdam tells the story of the tulip in the museum section, lets you enjoy 1 million tulips in the show garden, pick a bunch of tulips in the indoor tulip-picking garden and enjoy your tulip art at the art market.
De Tulperij is a tulip farm near Amsterdam to experience the tulip growing and admire the flower fields at the farm. n early May, the flowers are often headed to ensure that the flower bulbs get the best quality. They also have a beautiful show garden where you can enjoy many tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The Tulip Barn is another tulip farm near Amsterdam, which has 400,000 tulips in a unique tulip seflie garden. The Tulip Barn is set up as the place to take the most beautiful pictures among the tulips.
The Lisse is a tulip fields in the Bollenstreek region (the strip between the cities of Leiden and Haarlem) are some of the most famous and visited in The Netherlands. This area, which is also known as the flower bulb region or the flower strip is located only 40 kilometers away from Amsterdam, and it’s home to acres upon acres of colorful tulips.
The Flevoland region was only fairly recently reclaimed from the sea is located in the central part of the Netherlands and it’s known for its vast fields full of colorful tulips. The tulip fields in Flevoland are usually much quieter, offering a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Rent a bike or a car and explore the different areas where the tulips are grown: you can find flower fields in Noordoostpolder as well as East and South Flevoland.
The tulips of De Kop van Noord-Holland region are spread out across a vast area, also much quieter but located near the coast, making it a perfect destination to combine your visit with a day at the beach.
Every spring there are several traditional events in Holland around the flowers. The most famous is the Flower Parade Bollenstreek. Every year the parade is the highlight of spring. During the Tulip Festival there are also many other flower events to experience.
The famous flower parade takes place in the bulb district, between the cities of Noordwijk and Haarlem. Floats and vehicles beautifully decorated with colorful flowers line up to cover the 42-kilometer route to Haarlem which will take them past tulip fields and through villages and towns in the flower strip region.
During the annual tulip festival in Amsterdam, beautiful blooming tulips will be set (usually in large pots) at different locations throughout the city. Bloemendagen Anna Paulowna is a free event in Anna Paulowna town (Noord-Holland) where people can admire many flower mosaics, moving pieces, and decorated streets and bridges. The Flower mosaics weekend is another free event, this time in the town of Lisse, near Keukenhof, where visitors can admire many beautifully detailed flower mosaics.