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May 18, 2024

Image from Tulip Festival Amsterdam

Travel to Amsterdam for the Tulip Festival this year

As winter fades and summer tiptoes in Europe, Amsterdam bursts into life with the arrival of tulip season. It all begins in the heart of January on National Tulip Day, when Dutch growers transform Dam Square into a colourful spectacle, presenting 200,000 tulips in a temporary garden. Visitors are not just spectators here; they’re encouraged to pluck a tulip of their choice to take home, free of charge. Picture yourself strolling through this floral wonderland, selecting your very own tulip from a specially constructed ‘picking garden’ in Dam Square.

But the true magic of tulip season unfolds in April right into May, marked by the renowned Amsterdam Tulip Festival, akin to London’s Chelsea Flower Show. Throughout the month, the city’s parks, streets, and sidewalks burst into a riot of colours as tulips adorn every corner. From the majestic Rijksmuseum to the serene Vondelpark, tulip enthusiasts can embark on a treasure hunt across Amsterdam’s iconic locations, spotting these vibrant blooms at every turn. During this time, the city’s museums and hotels host enchanting displays of colourful gardens, while market stalls brim with blooms for all.

Image from Tulip Festival Amsterdam

Hotels around the city welcome travellers with open arms during this time, make their tulip-seeking adventures all the more luxurious and convenient. This year, Conservatorium Amsterdam has even decided to offer the exclusive “Bloom With Us” package, available from March 21st to May 12th, for travellers to celebrate the arrival of the tulips in all their glory. Its central location in the heart of the city’s cultural epicentre also makes it the perfect place to be to truly get a feel of the city for first time visitors.

A mere 20 minutes from the hotel in the charming neighbourhood of Jordaan lies the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, an ode to the delicate flower that has captured hearts and sparked envy for centuries. Stepping into this museum is like stepping into a time capsule of the Netherlands’ rich horticultural history, complete with tales of Tulipomania, a craze that gripped the country during the 17th century. Back then, tulip bulbs were so highly prized that people were willing to sell their homes to invest in them at special stock exchanges. While the Dutch approach to tulips may be a bit more sensible these days, their love for these blooms remains as strong as ever.

Image from Conservatorium Amsterdam

This love is most palpable in the world-famous Bloemencorso (Flower Parade) running on Saturday 20 April in 2024, travelling a 42 km route from the beaches at Noordwijk to Haarlem that can take over 11 hours to complete! The floats remain on display in Haarlem on Sunday after the procession. This cherished tradition, dating back to 1947, has consistently attracted crowds to admire huge floats artfully bedecked with flowers, and beautifully embellished cars. It is free to watch, although spectators may pay for seats in grandstands with better views and weather protection.

If you are seeking a glimpse into Amsterdam’s hidden green sanctuaries, mid-June is the perfect time to visit the Open Garden Days. Over three days, a selection of canal houses and museums open their doors to reveal exquisite gardens tucked away behind Amsterdam’s brick facades. Picture wandering through 30 secret gardens, each offering a tranquil escape from the bustling city streets.

Alternatively, if you prefer to soak up the floral splendour within the city limits, Amsterdam has plenty of parks and gardens to enchant you. Vondelpark, with its winding paths and lush greenery, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. You can also immerse yourself in the botanical wonders of Hortus Botanicus, where over 4,000 plant species thrive in serene gardens and greenhouses.

Image from Tulip Festival Amsterdam

A visit to the Keukenhof Gardens is a must, renowned for its stunning floral displays. Spanning 79 acres, the gardens feature meticulously arranged tulips, daffodils, crocus, and fragrant hyacinths, complemented by artistic accents from two dozen contributing artists. Each year, a new theme adds an element of surprise to the collection, while special activities during the opening weekend, known as Holland Heritage Weekend, offer traditional entertainment and cultural experiences.

Image from Tulip Festival Amsterdam

No exploration of Amsterdam’s floral treasures would be complete without a visit to the Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market. Tucked along the canal, this vibrant market boasts a kaleidoscope of colours and fragrances, offering a sensory delight for all who wander its stalls. Whether you’re in search of tulip bulbs or other blooms, the Bloemenmarkt promises to satisfy your floral cravings.

For a truly immersive experience, travellers should be sure to venture beyond Amsterdam to the Flower Strip or Bollenstreek. Stretching from Haarlem to Leiden, this 20-kilometer stretch of blossoming fields comes alive with tulips, crocuses, and daffodils from late March to mid-April. Whether you choose to explore by car, bike, or electric vehicle, the Flower Strip promises a breathtaking journey through nature’s colourful canvas.

As travellers pack their bags and depart after tulip season, they take with them not just tulips but a piece of Amsterdam’s spirit, promising to return again next year for more floral delights and new adventures. Until then, Amsterdam awaits, ready to welcome back its visitors with open arms and blooming tulips.

You can read more about experiencing Amsterdam in full bloom with Conservatorium Amsterdam, where every moment is a celebration of spring’s vibrant charm and cultural richness.

Zara Flavia Dmello


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