Holland is famous for its tulips.
Perhaps you have a town named Holland in your state – there’s one in Michigan and New York, for example. But if not, other cities with Dutch heritage will do – try Lehi, Utah; Orange City, Iowa; Mount Vernon Washington; and Albany, New York.
They may just have something beautiful in common with the country itself – an annual tulip festival that shows off magnificent colors and varieties for flower lovers.
Imagine spending an afternoon in early Spring strolling through the best inspiration for the season!
If you’re near Holland in March or April, the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in Amsterdam is the place to go for the most spectacular of all the world’s tulip shows.
This year, they had 7 MILLION bulbs to show off, from your typical fare to unique colors, leaf patters, and shapes that will get gardeners drooling (if you have the right documents, you can even buy some in the Amsterdam airport take home and plant in your own yard!).
Unfortunately, they just closed their 2019 show, but you can start planning for 2020 and beyond.
So tulip-lovers rejoice – you could be surrounded by millions of your favorite flowers with just a little planning!
This is just a sliver of what could be in store for you:
The Keukenhof gardens date all the way back to the 15th century, when a Bavarian Countess used the lands to grow fruits and vegetables for her castle. When another castle was built nearby, the garden expanded and was later turned into a park.
Landscape architects redesigned the space in 1857 and they now hold a variety of flowers that are beautiful all year round – but they’re most famous for their tulips!
After WWII, some of the country’s leading tulip bulb producers decided to use the space to exhibit their spring-blooming wares and signal to everyone the start of a new season.
In its first year alone, Keukenhof had 236,000 visitors and just this past year in 2019, the 70th edition of the festival had hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.
We can see why!
You might be wondering – why tulips? After all, they don’t bloom very long.
It turns out the area has quite an interesting history with the flower. The short version is that the whole area of the Netherlands was introduced to tulips in the 16th century from the Ottoman Empire (which is now Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, etc.).
Then, during the Dutch Golden Age, exploration and trade flourished and tulips became a central part of Dutch culture.
The Dutch were obsessed with tulips – so much so that wealthy family would sometimes use them as currency.
The work done on breeding tulips during this time is part of the reason we have so many spectacular varieties today.
Of course, the “Tulip Mania” and the economic bubble surrounding the tulip trade eventually burst, but tulips are still a big deal in Holland, where they grow some of the most exotic varieties on earth!
(There are multiple books on the history of the tulip that would make a great gift for gardeners interested in history!)
Because of Dutch immigration to America and Canada, you can find tulip festivals all over in early Spring and they’re popular family destinations (most botanical gardens have wonderful paths accessible to small children and wheelchairs alike, so everyone can be included).
Depending on your area of the country, an amazing flower-full road trip could be in your future. You can find some information about the 10 biggest domestic festivals here.
(And remember, having fresh flowers in your home is good for your health, so you may need to head to the florist right now and get a bouquet of whatever’s in season to inspire your planning!)
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