Published on February 10, 2012 | by Elena1
Top Europe destinations 2012: Netherlands, the Country of Flowers
Welcome to the 2nd installment of our weekly diary on the “new” top European destinations for 2012. After Switzerland, this time our guide will point you to this month’s major goings on around the Country of Flowers: Holland, the Netherlands.
To be precise, the term Holland is frequently used as a synecdoche to refer to the whole of the Netherlands, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces.
That said, since the first tulip was planted in Dutch soil, in 1593, the Netherlands has been inventing a whole horticultural industry and turning lowland fields into a blanket of blooms. The best period to enjoy this amazing nature show is around April and May, but for anyone who wants to approach the country in this period to enjoy flowers, western Holland – including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other major cities – is the prime place to be.
Amsterdam, for example, among its many museums, also boasts the presence of one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world: the Hortus Botanicus, established as back as 1638. The city also hosts a Tulip Museum – a small private museum just across the bridge from the Anne Frank House, showing the history of the Dutch fascination with the tulip and selling bulbs of the most beautiful existing flowers.
Now let’s get to business! From Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 February, 2012, it will be time for the Holland Flowers Festival again. This is an annual informative business fair for entrepreneurs, but also an inspiring lifestyle exhibition: definitely one of the most successful events in the Netherlands. The 79th edition of this Festival will be dominated by the theme of India. Under the leadership of the renowned garden designer Robert Broekema, fans of the genre will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the many bulb varieties for which the northern Netherlands are world-famous, but this time swathed in a warm Indian atmosphere. The Holland Flowers Festival will be held at CNB (Cooperative Netherlands Bulb Centre) in Bovenkarspel. Tickets cost €13.50 per person, but are also available at a discount online.
Other events related to flowers will be held later in the year: Floriade – April 5 to October 7 – will be in Venlo; the annual Flower Parade – April 20 to 22– leaving Noordwijk to travel a 40 km route up to Haarlem; the Open Garden Days, June 16, planned by the Amsterdam Canal Museums, where some thirty canal gardens in Amsterdam will be open to the public; Keukenhof 2012 open for public – March 22 to May 20 – more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted in this park open only 8 weeks a year. Definitely, the place to see spring blossom, wonderful works of art, surprising inspiration gardens and many flower shows.
One last suggestion: February 19 to 21 is Carnival time, mostly in the Catholic provinces of the Netherlands – If you can drink, sing and dance wearing a colorful costume, perhaps themed on flowers, don’t miss it out!
Photo by ulfinho