Every spring, tourist season in the Netherlands kicks off as soon as the flower fields burst into colour. And for many, it’s the best time to visit the country. But before you head to the Netherlands to see the tulips in bloom, here are some handy tips to help you prepare for your tulip trip.
When’s the best time to visit?
Flowers bloom in the spring, but the precise timing each year depends on the weather. In general, the Netherlands’ iconic fields start to bloom towards the end of March, and last until halfway through May.
Where are the flower fields?
If it’s flower fields you’re after, there are countless clusters around the country that burst into colour come springtime. You can find a big concentration at the Kop van Noord-Holland, right at the region’s northern tip. This area is also great if you want to visit Dutch beaches, historic villages, and local markets.
Probably the best and most well-known area for flower fields is around the town of Lisse, between Haarlem and Leiden. You can drive or cycle through gorgeous fields stretching as far as the eye can see. This is also where you’ll find Keukenhof, the largest flower park in the country. Lisse is easy to reach from Amsterdam and other Dutch cities by car, bike, and public transport.
Buying your own flowers
Tulips are obviously the most popular bloom, but during Dutch springtime you’ll also see fields of crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths. You can buy plants, bouquets, and bulbs all around the country at (flower) markets, flower shops, tourist boutiques, museums, and seasonal events.
If you want to bring flowers or bulbs home, however, you need to be careful. Depending on where you’re from and how you’re traveling, you might not get them through customs.
● If you’re traveling within the EU, crossing borders with flowers shouldn’t be a problem.
● If you’re flying beyond the EU, look for specially packaged bulbs that are customs approved. You can find them at the Amsterdam Flower Market, and at Schiphol Airport once you’ve passed through security.
Customs rules vary per country, so be sure to check what applies to you before buying.
Flower-related events and attractions in the Netherlands
Dutch people love their flowers just as much as tourists do, so there are many flower-related events and activities throughout spring. Here are the highlights:
As mentioned earlier, Keukenhof is the biggest flower park in the Netherlands. Located close to Lisse, it features amazingly vibrant flower fields, floral artworks and much more. In 2019 Keukenhof is open from March 21 to May 19.
Bloemencorso flower parade
The “Bloemencorso” is a spectacular flower parade, between the towns of Noordwijk and Haarlem, with dozens of magnificently decorated floats, cars and boats. In 2019 it takes place on Saturday, the 13th of April.
Amsterdam Flower Market
You don’t have to miss out on flowers if you’re staying in Amsterdam. The city is home to the floating Flower Market. With flower and bulb sellers lining the Singel canal, the market is open all year round.
National Tulip Day
Every January, on National Tulip Day, Dam Square in Amsterdam hosts the official tulip season launch. The square is filled with more than 200,000 tulips, and visitors are invited to pick their own bouquet.
Aalsmeer Flower Auction
Near Schiphol Airport, you’ll find Aalsmeer’s massive flower auction complex, the biggest flower and plant marketplace in the world. You can visit the flower auctions every weekday from 7am. It’s wise to arrive as early as possible, so you can experience the hustle and bustle of the auctions in action.
Take a tulip tour
Last but not least, we offer a delightful selection of tulip-themed boat bike tours, which take you to explore the flower fields by bike. These tours also include Keukenhof, the flower auctions, and many other highlights of Holland.