We know that it might be frustrating to have to stay inside now that the weather is finally better and Spring is on it’s way! You might have planned a trip to some places that are great to visit in Spring, such as… the Keukenhof. This beautiful park is the largest flower park in the world and one of the most visited attractions of the Netherlands. There are many touristic tours and round trips being offered at tourist offices in main cities like Amsterdam or Utrecht and ESN Utrecht had a trip planned this spring.
Amongst a variety of flowers, such as hyacinths, daffodils, roses and orchids, Keukenhof is most popular for its tulip bulbs, where every year 7 million bulbs are planted. In fact, tulips might be one of the first things that come to people’s minds when they think of the Netherlands. The continuously drained soil in the Dutch polders, make the Netherlands a suitable place for tulips to grow. But, you might be wondering “How did tulips become the symbol of the Netherlands?”.
Well, they are said to come from the Ottoman Empire where they had been cultivated for a long time. From there they were imported to the Netherlands at the end of the sixteenth century. Carolus Clusius, a Flemish botanist, is believed to be the man that saw the potential in this rare and exotic plant. He began breeding tulips, soon many followed him and the flower became more and more popular. During the “Dutch Golden Age”, a period where trade led to great wealth for the country, tulips became an important trading product and were shipped to various parts of Europe. People were fascinated with them, they appeared in gardens, festivals and in many paintings. Because so many people were buying them in the mid-seventeenth century, they became so expensive that, believe it or not, people began to use them as money. Then, the market crashed, leaving many investors, cultivators and traders bankrupt and leading to the first economic crisis, known as “Tulip Mania”. Fortunately, the tulip market recovered from these turbulent times. Since then, the Dutch have continued planting fields and fields of tulips, transforming the country in Spring into a sea of colours.
While you might be thinking that it’s a shame you cannot visit “the most beautiful Spring park of the world”, Keukenhof got you covered! You can’t go physically, but they will bring the park to you! In the coming weeks videos of the nicest spots of the park will be shared and made available for everyone! Want to see the millions of colourful flowers bloom? Learn more about the park? Just relax and visit the park without masses of tourists around you in this easy and free way! Keep an eye on their website or follow them on their official instagram account: visitkeukenhof and don’t miss out on what’s happening in the beautiful flower garden!
Also, we found 4 fun facts about tulips and we thought we might share them with you!
- Tulip petals are edible! In fact, people used to eat them with sugar beets during the Dutch famine in WWII. Today, they can be used instead of onions in many recipes.
- It is said that during “Tulip Mania”, tulips cost ten times more than a working man’s average yearly salary in the Netherlands, which made them more valuable than most people’s homes.
- The Netherlands is responsible for the Easter floral display of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in the Vatican city. This has been a tradition for about 40 years now and it started when Pope John Paul II visited the country, who like many others, probably fell for the Dutch tulips.
- Striped tulips have been a very special tulip variety for a long time. In the 20th century it was discovered that the interesting coloring came from a virus! Today, multicoloured tulips still exist through artificially breeding.