If you’ve ever visited one of Holland’s tulip fields then you’ll know it’s a breathtaking display of vast amounts of colour, but why is Holland so famous for their tulips, and why do they grow so many?
Before we get started on the science behind it *puts on lab coat*, here is some information from a seasoned tourist on where to see them. Oh and also, if you love tulips as much as we do, check out our artificial flower arrangements for the most realistic real-to-touch tulips you’ll ever see.
The Best Tulip Fields in Holland
- Lisse/Keukenhof Gardens – Lisse is arguably the best place to see Holland’s tulips, boasting acre after acre of brightly coloured tulip fields. Because they cover such a vast area, the fields can easily be seen on Google Maps. It is also where Keukenhof’s Gardens are, which attracts millions of visitors each Spring and contains over 7 million bulbs. What makes this place so stunning isn’t just that it’s one of the largest flower gardens in the world, but that the Dutch really know how to make their gardens look spectacular. From the colour contrasts they use to the incredible intricacy of how the flowers are arranged it’s truly something you won’t forget.
- Duin en Bollenstreek (Dune & Bulb Region) – Not too far from Lisse, Duin en Bollenstreek is a great a place to go if you want to see the fields in a quieter area, as there will typically be less tourists.
- Amsterdam – While you may not see as many tulip fields, Amsterdam still offers many opportunities to see their tulips. Whether it’s at one of their many tulip festivals, museums or exhibitions, or at Vondel Park, you don’t need to venture far to find a tulip.
*Fun Fact: tulips are actually part of the lily family*
With Holland being a small country, getting around doesn’t take long and isn’t hard. If you’re in Amsterdam you’ll easily be able to find ways of getting to each place, or you can go via one of their many excursions. The best time to visit the tulip fields is between the middle of March to the middle of May.
Holland’s Tulip Industry
The Dutch first brought tulips over from the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s and clearly they went down pretty well with the locals. At the time they were seen as so exotic that they quickly became a highly desirable item for people to posses, with some reports even stating that people traded their houses for tulip bulbs (lol).
Today, Holland is the world’s largest commercial producer of tulips, exporting around 3 billion flowers to countries around the world each year. Every April there are around 850,000 different types of tulips, including extremely rare ones, on display throughout the country.
So they’re clearly making serious money from their booming tulip industry, but since tulips originated from Turkey and central Asia, what makes Holland the best country for the job? Well, the secret is in how they grow.
Why do they grow so well?
So time for the science lesson. Around the same time the Dutch started bringing tulips over (around 500 years ago), they also began reclaiming land from the ocean. The vast majority of Holland is below, or just at sea level, essentially meaning the country is sinking. The Dutch combatted this issue very early on and today have more land than they did hundreds of years ago because of it.
They started reclaiming land by building walls around certain areas, using their windmills to pump the water out of the new area, or land, they were creating. After hundreds of years of trialing and testing this method, in 1932 they built a huge wall across the country, turning what was sea water in to a fresh water lake. From there they slowly started to reclaim the lake as land and it’s that which makes tulips grow so well.
Tulips thrive in a soil, clay and sand mixture and due to a lot of Holland’s land being built upon water it’s therefore waterlogged and incredibly fertile. So the Dutch didn’t only pull off an incredible engineering feat, but also paved the way for new thriving industries.
So if you were ever wandering whether visiting Holland’s tulip fields is worth it, we hope this post has proven that it most definitely is. Credit to Johnny Harris for the history surrounding this and if you want to know more about Holland’s canals and their ongoing battle with the ocean, his video will tell you more.