It’s hard to think about the Netherlands without thinking about flowers, specifically tulips. The two times I had been in this country, it wasn’t in Spring, so I never got to see it in bloom. A few months ago, I decided it was time for me to do so – I wanted to go back to Amsterdam to visit some Art museums I had missed the previous times and, if the weather was working on my side, to finally see the famous tulips and understand what it was really all about.
This beautiful flower was brought to Europe in the late 1500s – the bulbs were often confused with vegetables, such as an onion, but soon the beauty of the flower was too swoon any heart and even create what is considered the first commodity bubble – the phenomenon became knowns as the tulipmania. The flower became a symbol of status amongst the Dutch merchants, and the rarest and unexpected colour, the higher was the price. It is said that a bulb could cost almost as much as a house. More and more people began collecting and speculating on tulip bulbs, with stock traders joining the game, contributing to pushing the prices. But, quickly, after a huge peak in pricing, they drastically collapsed over a course of a single week, causing many to lose their quickly acquired fortunes.
While this is a great story, many experts believe that Tulipmania is a myth and never really happened, that while there was a speculative bubble in tulips, the economic disaster wasn’t as big as some have defended so far – with only a few being seriously affected.
Still, this flower has become a symbol. Admired by many, the flower blooms in Spring, and last for about 2 months – typically from the end of March to the beginning of May. Wanting to see the real thing, I decided to visit Keukenhof, located in the small town of Lisse. Here you can enjoy over 7 million blooming tulips, daffodils and other bulb flowers during springtime. In fact, the park is only open to visitors for a short period of time (this year, from the 24th of March to the 15th of May), precisely when the tulips are in their prime.
I got myself a combi ticket, including entrance and transportation from Amsterdam, where I was staying. I was a bit hesitant about the weather – I was afraid it would be raining and that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my visit – but the fact that they were open to refunding you until 24 hours before the visit gave me the confidence to book it in advance, which I certainly recommend you do. Tickets sell out fast, especially if you’re visiting during the weekend or the Easter Break.
I was incredibly lucky with the weather, thankfully – it was actually cloudy in Amsterdam, but pretty sunny in Lisse. And also with the fact that tulips were indeed in full bloom. And while tulips were never my favourite flower, I can say that they are definitely ranking higher now on my personal flower rating scale (please also consider that I was never the person who adores flowers, it-s been growing on me in the past few years). I just don’t think I have ever seen such beautiful gorgeous tulips. These were huge, the petals look strong, almost as if I could drink a nice glass of wine out of its cup. The colours were so vibrant and, some of them, even unusual. And, in Keukenhof, the gardens are definitely thought through.
Plus, there are multiple pavilions with different exhibitions, and it goes way beyond tulips…
Going to the Netherlands during Easter break was definitely a good decision. I got some well-needed inspiration for this Spring, and some vitamin C. Perhaps this post can inspire you as well!