Soaking up Spring in Holland
22 March, 2017
Like clogs, windmills and bicycles, the tulip as a symbol is intimately linked to one’s image of Holland. This bulb, which originated in Anatolia and the Middle East, reached Europe in the 16th century and was met with marked admiration, particularly in the Low Countries. There, just one century later, it sparked a phenomenon that came to be known as “tulip mania”. As a result, the flower became a veritable cult object, fetching exorbitant prices and eventually being listed on the stock exchange. This ended up triggering the first recorded economic bubble in history, on account of the speculation that emerged around this product.
Nowadays, tulips inundate the Dutch countryside each spring, turning it into a genuine explosion of colour. It is well worth a getaway to the Netherlands just to contemplate it. For those eager to savour this priceless flower to the full, we have put together a selection of places you can’t fail to include on your must-see list.
Keukenhof, a Park With Over 7 Million Flower Bulbs
Keukenhof is located in Lisse, between Amsterdam and The Hague, in the heart of what is known as the “Bulb Region”. Here you will encounter an amazing 7 million plus flower bulbs, the sight of which is overpowering. This is a must-visit site for flower lovers and nature devotees in general. But, Keukenhof is not celebrated just for its huge number of flowers, but also for its landscape design, featuring lakes, fountains, walkways and windmills, making up a surprisingly heady ensemble. The only drawback is that this marvellous garden is only open to the public at the time of the tulip blossom; that is, from mid-March to the end of May and, owing to the large crowds that flock here, it is advisable to book well in advance.
En Route Through Bollenstreek, The Bulb Region
The area known as the Bulb Region (Bollenstreek, in Dutch) is another destination you should make a point of visiting in spring. Situated 30 kilometres south-west of Amsterdam, between Haarlem and Leiden, the area is characterised by the presence of clayey earth which, in conjunction with the prevailing maritime climate, makes for perfect tulip-growing conditions, in addition to other bulbs, notably crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths. The time of year to come here is in April, when the tulips reach their maximum splendour. Touring this land by car or bicycle is a veritable delight on the eyes, as you come across field after field of myriad tulips in all shapes and colours – an astonishing sight for any visitor to behold. Organised tours from Amsterdam ply a fairly comprehensive circuit through the towns in Bollenstreek.
If you are eager to know the history and all the ins and outs of this popular, highly prized bulb, make a point of visiting Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum before you leave Holland. Located in the Jordaan district, hard by the Anne Frank house museum, it is an essential resource for learning the thrilling history of this priceless flower.
Book your Vueling to Amsterdam and gear up to savour spring in Holland.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Photos by Robert Lyle Bolton
22 March, 2017