It’s time for tulips!

Yesterday, the Dutch celebrated their national holiday King’s Day. Normally that is a day to celebrate by going out, getting together and having a drink. By turning the country into one big “garage sale” and by dressing up in orange. For a second year in a row that was impossible due to the pandemic. Again, no big events were organised and people were asked to stay at home. Last year the streets were deserted, but after more than a year of restrictions too many people did go to the parks to gather in large groups. Apparently people have a hard time following rules. We can only hope they had a good time and didn’t do too much damage. This time of the year it is also tulip season. I decided to combine that national symbol of the Dutch with that other activity that is so connected to the Dutch; cycling. I took the train to South-Holland and rented an OV-Fiets of the shared bicycle system from the railway station in Leiden. I cycled a route of nearly 40 kilometres. It had been five years since I did that last. That time I cycled with a tourist from the US, this time I cycled alone. The borders have been closed for many months, I didn’t expect any foreigners this time. And yet, there were a handful of tourists. I don’t know how they managed to get here. Apparently people have a hard time following rules. I hope they had a good time. To make sure you do not have to break any rules to see some of the beauty of the bulb flowers,. I have some pictures and a video for you in this short post. Enjoy!

billet en français

The bright colours of the tulip fields draw a lot of people on their bicycles who cannot help themselves; pictures must be taken!
It is obvious that there are normally many tourists from abroad in this region. Everything was advertised in English.
Many Dutch people also like to cycle past the flower fields. In this case the intense colour yellow of a field full of daffodils
Ah yes, there are even more Dutch symbols: a windmill!
Like anywhere in the country there is a vast network of numbered junctions in the bulb flower region and the dunes. I plotted a route in advance, but I missed quite a few signs of the numbers. In the end I was taking a route that was half planned and half improvised. It is never a problem to stray from a planned route. The alternatives almost all have good cycling infrastructure as well.
I wasn’t the only one to cycle to the tulips. There were many people at every picnic table. Also because all the restaurants and cafe’s were still closed.
Tulips for sale. You would almost forget that the fields are actually there to produce flower bulbs that are for sale.
For some of the fields I was almost too late. This machine is mowing the flowers! This is done to force the plant to store all energy in the bulb and not in the flower. It is the bulbs which are the product after all.
When you walk between the flowers you damage what is underground. Which means damage for the flower producers. This is a well-known fact in the Netherlands, but tourists keep walking into the fields, even with signs in English everywhere (inset).
This nice little old church is in the centre of Noordwijkerhout. Here too people sat on public benches to have a quick bite. The cargo bike full of purple tulips is advertising rental bikes
The deep purple colour behind this windmill is a field of hyacinths. I have some sort of allergic reaction to the scent of hyacinths, so I could not stay here very long; instant headache! You don’t have that problem with the video and the pictures!
This week’s video shows a recreational ride to the tulip fields in the province of South-Holland.

A map of the 39.7km long ride from Leiden to the flower fields and back again

2 thoughts on “It’s time for tulips!

  1. Beautiful photos! Thank for sharing:) I visited the tulip fields in 2018 and they were simply breathtaking!

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