Everybody knows about our tulips
The tulip is, without a doubt, an icon of Dutch heritage. This beautiful flower is part of our DNA. When you think of the Netherlands, you think of tulips (along with windmills and canals, of course). But why is that?
The tulip came to the Netherlands in the 16th century. The Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius played an important role in this. At the time, Clusius was head of the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, now the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands and where the first tulips in the Netherlands were planted in 1593.
Over the centuries, they have become synonymous with the Netherlands and loved and admired around the world. Tulips need cold nights and a cold winter, which is why they thrive in our country.
Want to know more about tulips and other flowers? We have put together an extensive digital book for you.
Experience the flowers in the Netherlands
Dutch floriculture is centuries old but that does not mean that we are not constantly working on new techniques or breeding solutions. Today’s rightful emphasis on the importance of issues such as sustainability, CO2 emissions and the preservation of nature, makes the modern cultivation of flowers in the Netherlands a priority.
And that entails much more than just a few solar panels on roofs or other heating techniques. Large universities in Wageningen and Utrecht are collaborating with innovative entrepreneurs to constantly improve cultivation, even at DNA level. We always look at what can and must be improved, with a view to a healthy planet. Similarly, De Keukenhof, our famous showpiece of flowers, is a great example of the innovations these experts are implementing to make cultivation more and more sustainable.
Mindful of the climate
For example, the Sustainable Bulb Cultivation Drenthe programme was launched in Drenthe. The aim is to make bulb cultivation as sustainable as possible, with the lowest possible impact on the environment. The government, growers and researchers work closely together in the programme, which addresses issues such as how to grow high-quality flower bulbs with as little impact as possible on the living environment and how to develop systems that make flower bulbs less susceptible to disease.
But the Netherlands is also thinking at a consumer level. The Dutch Flower Calendar of Milieu Centraal enables any tourist or lover of flowers to take into account the type of flower when purchasing. This calendar provides an overview of climate impact per flower category. The government also gives tips on how you can enjoy your flowers longer, in order to prevent unnecessary consumption.
The Netherlands in bloom
A visit to the Bollenstreek is the best way to enjoy Dutch floral splendour in all its technicolour glory. The Bollenstreek is a region in North and South Holland, officially located from the west of Leiden to an area near Haarlem. The conditions for cultivation are quite favourable in this region thanks to the sandy soil, which is quite close to the surface.
This becomes gloriously apparent when the flowers are in bloom. You can best describe the bulb region as a beautiful, colourful sea of flowers, row upon row of blooms as far as the eye can see. It is with good reason that the bulb region has become the centre of the worldwide flower bulb trade.
Remarkable flower fields
Zeeland is not really known for it, but this charismatic province also has lovely tulip fields. In particular, there are quite a few gems to be found in and around Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. The easiest way to see them is to travel to Terneuzen, the historic town with a view of the Westerschelde estuary. Rent a bicycle there and peddle along fields near picturesque villages such as Lamswaarde, Graauw and Absdale.
The Vechtdal, a green and wooded area in Overijssel, offers magnificent views of meadows where thousands of flowers bloom in spring and summer. Visit the tulip fields in Dalfsen or go for a walk in Hardenberg.