Yearly flower parade & flowerfield watching (Keukenhof)

I have lived most of my childhood near the flower field area (Bollenstreek: area of the bulbs) and I don't remember having ever seen (the procession of) the flower parade. The Bollenstreek is the area of the flower fields. Only in this particular area in the Netherlands the bulbs (because it is about the bulbs) can grow and become flowers. I think I have taken it for granted. Cycling in between the flower fields is really amazing, actually it is not about the pictures, it is about the smell.

The hyacinth is the flower with the smell. The hyacinths can be found in different colors. Each color has their own symbolic meaning. White stands for purity, blue means faithful, yellow is happiness, pink is the symbol of love, red hyacinths are passion and purple ones, the most common I think stand for dignity. 

Tulips don't give a smell. I didn't know that tulips are (one of) the most popular flowers in the world. Tulips come originally from Central Asia. There are several varieties of tulips with different colors, sizes and shapes. There are around 1,500 species and different flower shapes. 

And you have the daffodils, also in different colors white and yellow, when you look closely.

There are more spring flowers the most famous ones are snowdrop (sneeuwklokje), grape hyacinth (blauwe druifje) and crocus (krokus).

I asked myself. Why are there flower bulb fields?

For flower bulb cultivation: The primary function of flower bulb fields is the cultivation of flower bulbs. The Netherlands is one of the largest flower bulb exporters in the world, and the fields in the Bulb Region and other regions are responsible for producing millions of flowers. The bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom in the spring, then harvested and sold to gardeners around the world.

For tourism: The beautiful, colorful bulb fields attract millions of tourists to the Netherlands every year. The flowering season, which usually occurs from late March to early May, is a popular time to visit the fields, cycle or walk among the flowers, take photos and buy local produce.

For nature: Flower bulb fields provide important habitat for a variety of insects, birds and other small animals. The diversity of flowers provides a rich food source for bees, which are essential to the ecosystem. Unfortunately the use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides limits this benefits for all non-organic fields.

For culture: Flower bulb cultivation and its fields are an important part of Dutch culture and identity. The tradition goes back for centuries and plays an important role in the country's economy and tourism. Flower bulb fields contribute to biodiversity and beauty in the Dutch landscape.

For science: Flower bulb fields are also used for scientific research. The growth and development of flower bulbs, new cultivation techniques and methods to control diseases and pests are researched.

The Keukenhof has a very specific time when the flowers will bloom. That is all monitored and planned by the Keukenhof management since it is a main tourist attraction. Online you can find the blooming time of the fields in the Bollenstreek. That differs every year.

Every year there is a flowerparade, the bulbs are the most important and used for export. So for the flower parade, all kinds of cars are decorated. This year was my first year to see it. The weather sucked, which is part of dutch culture too. One million people were at different places of the 40 kilometer route of the charts and cars. The estimation of starting time was perfectly calculated, also part of dutch culture. You could see the amount of work and dedication in the decorations. The elephant was my favorite!

Next year I will go again!

Location: it is a moving parade going from Noordwijk to Haarlem (going through other areas Noordwijkerhout, Sassenheim). Specific times where the parade will pass can be found online.

Entrance fee flowerparade: free. 

Entrance fee week before the flowerparade: when you are interested you can get tickets (for a reasonable amount) in the week before the flower parade to see the volunteers make the charts.

Entrance fee week after the flowerparade: free. Every year after the flowerparade some charts are placed in different places in the Bollenstreek, so you can see the charts.


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