The Westland Floating Flower Parade 2014
15 July 2014
The Westland Floating Flower Parade includes both ‘Westlanders’ and ‘Sailing Westlanders’. In the past both types of vessel were used for transporting produce to auction, amongst other things.
The Westlander is a type of boat designed specifically for shipping in the Westland. Between 1860 and 1890 the vessels were made of wood, and after that - until the start of the First World War - out of iron and steel. A Westlander is remarkable in terms of both shape and size. The boat is designed to sail through the shallow Westland and Delfland waters. The length ranges from 10 up to 18 metres, and the boat could carry between 10 and 30 tons. The auction barge was propelled with a pole.
Sailing Westlanders were created by equipping the common auction barges with a sail. The boat was fitted with a mast with a balanced counterweight at the base so that the mast could easily be lowered or erected.
The first Floating Flower Parade was organised in the Westland in 1998. To mark the 800th anniversary of Poeldijk, the decision was made to combine the municipality of Naaldwijk’s flower parade with the Lierse Gondelvaart boat parade into one Westland event.
In the early years, the participants in the Westland Floating Flower Parade were mainly businesses; nowadays the parade also includes a large number of non-commercial boats, crewed by clubs and community groups, for example.
Although the structure and goal have not changed since 1998, the status of the Westland Floating Flower parade has grown tremendously over the years. Visitors at the first stagings were virtually entirely drawn from the Westland itself. In recent years the number of visitors has grown to around 300,000 from all over Holland and even beyond. The increased popularity is undoubtedly due to the professionalization of the organisation. Whilst the first flower parade was staged by a committee of five people, the event now involves various working groups and hundreds of volunteers.
This year’s parade will take place on 1, 2 and 3 August.