Although tulips are seen as typically Dutch, they originate in Turkey. The word tulip is believed to have been derived from the Turkish word tülbent which means turban, due to the flower’s resemblance to the headwear. However, the scientific name of the tulip is Tulipa. This term was used in ancient Rome to refer to a type of cloth or silk, and it is thought that the name was applied to the flower due to its velvety texture.
Tulips were introduced to Europe in the mid-16th century, and their popularity quickly spread. In the Netherlands, the flower became a symbol of wealth and status. In fact, a phenomenon known as ‘tulip mania’ took hold in the early 17th century. During this time, the price of tulip bulbs reached astronomical levels. Eventually, the tulip market crashed. Despite of this, the popularity of tulips continued to grow, and The Netherlands is still one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of tulips. The country has a thriving tulip industry, with tulip farms located throughout the country.
Tulip fields in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide
Best time to visit the tulip fields in the Netherlands
If you are wondering when tulips bloom in the Netherlands, the truth is that this varies depending on the weather conditions. Generally speaking, the tulip season in the Netherlands runs from mid-March to mid-May. April is on average the best month to see tulips in full bloom. Many websites offer flower forecasts, with weekly updates on the growth of the flower fields.
How to get to the tulip fields in the Netherlands
Getting around the Netherlands is easy, as the country has a well-developed public transportation system. If you are not planning to rent your own set of wheels, you may prefer to visit the tulips in the geographical region of Holland.
Holland holds the Netherlands’ largest cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. There are several tulip fields in Holland accessible by bus or train (or a combination of both) in close proximity to all three cities. But if you are looking to avoid crowds, you may want to hire a car to reach the tulip fields located in the more remote rural areas.
How to see tulips in the Netherlands
There are several ways to see tulips in the Netherlands. Some popular options include:
Many companies offer guided tours of the tulip fields, either on foot, by bike, or by bus. These tours can be a great way to learn more about the history and cultivation of tulips in the Netherlands. With multiple companies to choose from, you can select the most convenient alternative for your taste and budget. In some locations, you can even find boat and helicopter tours of the tulip fields of the Netherlands.
Whether you choose to explore the tulip fields by car, cycling, or hiking, a self-guided tour of the tulip fields allows you to experience the beauty of the Dutch countryside at your own pace. There are several routes that take you through the countryside, where you’ll see endless fields of vibrant tulips in all colours of the rainbow. You can stop at roadside stands to purchase fresh flowers or bulbs to take home as souvenirs, and you can also visit local flower farms or nurseries to learn more about the cultivation of tulips and other flowers. For a self-guided cycling tour of the tulip fields, you can easily rent a bike from a local shop or, alternatively, bring your own. You can take your bicycle on the train with you, but there are some rules and exceptions.
Pro Tip: tulips are not planted in the same place every year to maintain soil health. This means that the ‘tulip route’ changes every season.
The Netherlands is home to many tulip festivals that celebrate the beauty and cultural significance of these iconic flowers. Visitors can experience a variety of events and activities, including parades, exhibitions, and live music.
During the blooming season, many tulip farms in the Netherlands open their doors to visitors and offer various activities. From workshops to tulip picking, visiting a tulip farm is a great way to experience the tulips in the Netherlands.
Best tulip fields in the Netherlands
I’ve compiled some of the best places to see tulip fields in the Netherlands, including both well-known destinations and lesser-known spots that are just as beautiful, but off the beaten path:
Distance from Amsterdam: 40 minute drive
Although technically not a tulip field, Keukenhof is one of the most famous places to see tulips in the Netherlands. Located in Lisse, the gardens feature over 7 million bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Keukenhof opens from mid-March to mid-May each year and offers a great opportunity to see a wide variety of tulips in one place. In addition to the tulip displays, Keukenhof Gardens also offer art exhibits, music performances, and other special events.
If you are planning to visit Keukenhof Gardens, it is a good idea to book in advance, as tickets sell out quickly. Combitickets are available on the official website, to get both an entrance ticket and a ticket for your journey by public transport on that day from either Amsterdam or Leiden. Parking is available on-site for a fee. Bike rentals and boat tours are also available.
Expect crowds lingering at Keukenhof throughout most of the day. The best time to visit is right after opening at 8:00 am and just before closing at 7:30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
Distance from Amsterdam: 40 minute drive
The Bollenstreek area is a popular tourist destination during the blooming season. It is located in the western part of the Netherlands between the cities of Haarlem and Leiden. Bollenstreek is also known as the ‘Bulb Region’ or ‘Flower Strip’. The Keukenhof Gardens are located in this region. You can find beautiful fields of flowers around Lisse, Hillegom, and Noordwijkerhout. Tulips are most commonly grown here, but daffodils and hyacinths are also present.
There are several cycling routes and hiking trails in Bollenstreek, ranging from short and easy to long and challenging. These take visitors through the heart of the tulip fields, past windmills, and picturesque Dutch villages. Check the Bollenstreek website for details. Boat and helicopter tours are also available in the area, providing a unique perspective of the region’s beautiful tulip fields and flower gardens.
An annual parade takes place yearly in April in Bollenstreek. The Bollenstreek Bloemencorso is a celebration of the region’s rich flower-growing heritage and attracts thousands of visitors, creating a festive atmosphere with live music and performances.
Farms are generally open to visitors when tulips are in bloom. A popular activity on farms is tulip picking. Annemieke’s Pluktuin in Hillegom offers guests the opportunity to create their own bouquets to take home with them.
Other activities on the farms include guided tours of the fields, workshops on flower arranging, and tasting of local food and beverages. Some farms such as De Tulperij, The Tulip Barn and FAM Flower Farm offer visitors props for photoshoots to create the perfect Dutch tulip field aesthetic.
Bollenstreek is also home to several historic buildings such as the Keukenhof Castle and the Museum de Zwarte Tulp (Black Tulip Museum), with exhibits on the culture & history of tulip growing.
Distance from Amsterdam: 1 hour drive
The Noordoostpolder region in the province of Flevoland is one of the largest flower-growing regions in the Netherlands with 2,000 hectares. Tulip fields stretch for miles, and visitors can drive, cycle, or hike through the area. The Tulpenroute (Tulip route) takes visitors through the villages around Emmeloord, on one of the most scenic drives in the Netherlands. The tulip route for the coming season can be found online, along with information on a variety of related events and activities.
The Tulip Experience Field in Creil is a good spot to start your route, stop for coffee and take photos of the tulips. An information desk is available at this location. The Tulip Experience Field is also the departure and landing area for helicopter tours of the fields. If tulip picking takes your fancy, you can visit the tulip-picking garden of Marknesse along the way.
Kop van Noord-Holland
Distance from Amsterdam: 1 hour 15 minute drive
The fields in Kop van Noord-Holland are a wonderful alternative to witness the beauty of the vibrant tulips in bloom. This in in fact the largest continuous bulb-growing area in the planet. You can take a leisurely bike ride or a scenic drive through the region. Some of the most popular areas for tulip fields include the towns of Anna Paulowna, Breezand, and Julianadorp. The tulip fields of Kop van Noord-Holland offer great photo opportunities of the tulip fields with old Dutch windmills and typical Holland farmhouses in the background. Tulip picking is possible at Floratuin in Julianadorp
One of the highlights of the tulip season in the area is the annual Bloemendagen Anna Paulowna. The town is decorated with elaborate flower mosaics, created using an average of 10,000 flowers per square meter. In addition to the flower mosaics, Bloemendagen Anna Paulowna also features a variety of events and activities, including exhibitions, flea markets and workshops.
Combining a trip to the tulip fields in Kop van Noord-Holland with a visit to the nearby beach can make for a great way to relax and unwind after all the sightseeing. The sandy beach in the area is a wide, and stretches for several kilometres along the North Sea coast.
General Considerations for visiting the tulip fields in the Netherlands
How to dress to visit the tulip fields
The weather in the Netherlands can be unpredictable, so it is important to dress appropriately for the season. In the spring, temperatures can be cool, so bring layers and a waterproof jacket in case of rain. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must, as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time on your feet exploring the tulip fields.
Respect the tulip fields
While the tulip fields are beautiful to look at, it is important to remember that they are also working farms. Be respectful of the farmers and their property, and don’t enter the fields without permission. Stick to designated paths and don’t trample on the flowers or disturb the soil.
Plan Your Itinerary
If you’re planning to visit the tulip fields, consider combining your trip with a visit to nearby towns and cities. You can also plan to attend a tulip festival or other special event in the area.
In conclusion, from the iconic Keukenhof Gardens to the off the beaten path locations in northern Holland, there are countless places to experience the beauty of tulips in the Netherlands. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, a visit to the tulip fields is sure to be a highlight of your trip to the Netherlands. So why not plan your visit during the springtime and witness the magic of the tulip fields for yourself? You won’t be disappointed!
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