A short break in Amsterdam can be combined with a visit to the stunning bulbfields.
Holland is well known for the beauty of its bulbfields in the springtime, and for many years people have been travelling on coach tours, river cruises and city break holidays which include at least a day visiting the glorious flower displays.
Part of Holland is transformed into a vast sea of flowers from mid March to mid May, starting with the crocus season in March, which is followed by daffodils and hyacinths. Finally, and most famously, the tulips appear from mid April until the first week of May. Its long spring season with cool nights makes Holland the perfect country for tulip growing. The soil in the polders (land which has been reclaimed from the sea) is continuously drained, creating perfect growing conditions for tulip bulbs, which love well drained but moist soil.
Most tulip farms in Holland are located in the Noordoostpolder in the province of Flevoland. On any journey by train from Amsterdam to the The Hague and Leiden up to Alkmaar in the north you would certainly be able to enjoy seeing miles and miles of beautiful tulip fields. Many people, however, prefer to join an organised excursion and if you’re staying in Amsterdam there are many to choose from. Most of these trips are focused on the Keukenhof Gardens, which proudly calls itself “the world’s biggest flower exhibition”. Keukenhof lies only 30 minutes away from Amsterdam so a trip there really is a must if you’re in Amsterdam fin the springtime.. The Keukenhof estate covers an area of over 200 hectares, set in the grounds of 17th Century Keukenhof Castle. The park which constitutes the basis of the flower gardens was designed in the English landscape style in 1857 by landscape architects Jan David and Paul Zocher who also designed Amsterdam’s Vondelpark.
The history of Keukenhof as we know it today dates back to 1949 when a group of flower bulb growers and exporters decided to use the estate to exhibit spring flowering bulbs. The park opened in 1950 and was in instant success, with over 200,000 visitors in the first year alone. This year the theme of the displays is “Romance in Flowers”, and over seven million flower bulbs will be on display. Generally the best time to see the tulips at their very best is thought to be the end of April, although some visitors are worried that the cold, wet spring may have delayed the flowering of the bulbs this year. They probably need have no fear as there are bound to be plenty of tulips in flower throughout April and early May.
An excursion to Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam is often combined with a visit to the famous windmill village of Zaanse Schans which includes other Dutch icons such as cheese and clogs, and usually the opportunity to buy bulbs from a bulb farm.
We can see some beautiful displays of spring bulbs in many places in this country, but I think the Dutch bulbfields really are on a completely different scale, and I would certainly love to make a trip to see them, using the wonderful city of Amsterdam as a base. A thought for next year perhaps………