Visiting The Netherlands in the Springtime to bicycle and see the tulips has been on my bucket list for many years now. We finally went last week and it was glorious! Holland is chilly in April, but we lucked out with the weather and only got rained on briefly. The Netherlands is a small, pristine, well-organized country with beautiful landscapes. We flew to Amsterdam, took the train to the nearby city of Leiden where we stayed at a charming little hotel on a canal. Renting bicycles is easy, and since Holland is flat, we were soon on our way, cycling through the countryside along the waterways, admiring the windmill scattered landscapes, birds and tulip fields.
A large percentage of Dutch people bicycle, and there are cycling paths everywhere. We did get terribly lost the first day because our bike rental map sucked, but the second day we bicycled from Leiden to Keukenhof, which took about an hour. Keukenhof is an incredible park dedicated to displaying the best of the best tulips. (https://keukenhof.nl/en/)
Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and it is only open for a few months in the spring when the tulips are in bloom. In 2017, the dates are from March 23rd until May 21st, and I’ve been told that Monday is the best (as in least crowded) day to visit.
I took hundreds of photos, this is just a small sampling of the colorful eye-candy that we saw in and around Keukenhof. The bulb producers submit their best and newest varieties to be displayed in the gardens, so Keukenhof is a giant showcase extraordinaire of Holland’s best tulips.
There are different gardens and walkways as well as pavilions with indoor displays. I learned a bit about tulip growing and history. Did you know that “tulipana” is the Turkish word for “turban”? Tulips do look a bit like turbans! Tulips originated in Persia and were brought to Europe in the 1500s.
I once read a book about the Dutch “Tulipmania” in the 1630s. There are several books written on the subject, the one I read was Tulipomania : The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. My son could not believe that at one point there were bulbs being sold at the price of a house!
Anyhow, after a thoroughly satisfying day at Keukenhof, we bicycled back to Leiden, very tired and very happy. I now want to plant hundreds of tulips in our garden…I also want to make a contemporary tulip vase, there are Dutch antiques such as this one, designed specifically to display tulips.
So here is a rendering of a contemporary tulip vase that I would like to make in porcelain someday! I will have to research the market some more before making any grand decisions 🙂
#lifestyleceramics #beautytexturewhimsy #simplepleasures #maiamingdesigns