When I lived in NYC and San Francisco I used to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers weekly to spruce up my apartment and my attitude. Seriously – how can you be stressed or angry with a colorful bouquet of flowers in your home? I made a decision to enjoy flowers every day as opposed to just special occasions or worse yet – to wait for people to bring them to me. Even though I travel full time – I realized that I can still make fresh flowers a part of my life by incorporating flower travel into my itineraries.
I was recently invited to the Netherlands to experience the spring flowers – something that I’ve always wanted to see – the famous Netherlands tulip fields. I quickly found out that there was much more to the Netherlands flower culture than just tulip fields – see for yourself!
I went on a canal cruise in Amsterdam during my stay and it was a special commentary about the history or tulips and how a Turkish flower came to be known as a Dutch flower. It also covered the famous “Tulip Mania” – a period where tulips were effectively used as currency in Europe and were sold/traded for enormously absurd prices.
Mixing botany and animals – the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam includes impressive gardens in addition to animals. My favorite area was the Forest House where you basically walked into a live environment with the animals roaming freely instead of in cages. In fact – essentially you entered their cage.
Spring was just starting to come out at the small but beautifully designed and diverse De Hortus Botanical Garden in Amsterdam. They have a outdoor gardens and old and new green houses. My favorite area was the Palm House – a beautiful old building that was the star of the park.
It’s like the Rose Bowl Parade but better – it’s the Bulb Flower Parade and it travels 40 km from Noordwijk to Haarlem highlighting aprox. 50 floats and decorated cars. I was able to visit the building where all of the floats were being created. The moment you stepped in the building you were overwhelmed with flower aroma. It was a bustle of activity as people were putting the finishing touches on the floats to be highlighted in the next day’s parade.
If you drive from Amsterdam to Keukenhof Gardens – you will of course come across the famous colorful flower fields. Many of the fields during my visit were filled with Hyacinths.
It’s like the Wall Street of Flowers. I’ve actually visited Flora Holland – a huge flower auction sight and distribution center on a previous visit – but it’s so vast that you learn something every time you go.
Of course if you are visiting Holland to see the flowers then you must make a stop at Keukenhof Gardens – a spring garden that is only open for 2 months of the year and then dug up and redesigned every year. 7 million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths all in bloom create a spectacular pallet of color not to mention aroma. This is landscaping and gardening at it’s very best.
Interested in other flower travel – then check out my Wanderlist I made on AFAR.com that highlights some of the best flower viewing in the world!
Disclosure: I was a guest of IAmsterdam for this tour of flowers through the Netherlands. However – all opinions expressed here are my own.