In the Kop van Noord-Holland, you will ﬁnd millions of tulips, hyacinths and other ﬂowers, which transform the landscape into a sea of diﬀerent hues. Each year, the Tulip Festival is organised in the Noordoostpolder. Held in the middle of the tulip ﬁelds, this ﬂower festival runs from late April to early May. Flower markets and gardens abound and, in Aalsmeer near Amsterdam, you will also be able to witness the world’s largest ﬂower auction.
06 Wake up early to catch the action at Aalsmeer Flower Auction. 07 Tulips were once suﬃcient to purchase a grand canal home. 08 The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is a good place to start with details on “Tulip Mania”.
At the Royal FloraHolland, 90 percent of Dutch ﬂower trade takes place here, where the auction can be viewed from a special gallery. Information panels along the gallery help explain the auction process. From the buzz of activity, you will be in awe at the precision of the system that handles over 20 million ﬂowers and plants at once and the logistical feat. Feel the tension in the auction rooms and watch the auction with dozens of tractors and ﬂower trolleys swarming around. Do visit Keukenhof, where over 7 million ﬂowering bulbs can be admired every year. One of the world’s largest gardens, Keukenhof was once a hunting ground in
08 The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is a good place to start with details on “Tulip Mania” and the ﬂower’s fascinating economic power in the mid-17th Century Dutch Golden Age. The museum, though founded and sponsored by a local bulb company, eﬀectively provides some historical context to the ﬂower’s important history in Dutch culture, such as how bulbs were used as food during various wars, the origin of the ﬂower in Turkey, including detailing modern growing and breeding techniques of the industry. Tulips are serious business in Holland. So embedded is this ﬂower in the Dutch psyche that its people would bring the ﬂowers abroad when they settled, and thus we ﬁnd tulips and tulip festivals in New York (originally New Amsterdam) and Holland, Michigan today, where the connection to their Dutch roots is very strong.
JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2017