A Day Trip to Lisse
My Canadian friends Ana and Rod visited us for a long weekend in April. The timing was perfect to enjoy the King's Day celebrations and the fresh tulips. We took a mini road trip to North Holland and visited the fields. The Netherlands are popular for their floral industry; it is a massive international hub that produces 77% of the bulbs in the world*.
The tulip season usually lasts from January to May but the peak of the season runs from mid-April to mid-May. The weather is always uncertain and the chances of rain are high. This year, it was sunny and dry but unusually cold (around 10 C). I think that some bulbs might have suffered from it.
You can find many fields in the flower strip, also known as Bollenstreek in Dutch. This strip covers the area between Haarlem and Leiden. For our trip, we chose to focus on Lisse:
We drove through Lisse and stopped on the road to walk in the middle of the fields. An alternative way to enjoy the sight is to cycle on the bike path.
About half of the flowers were already cut, yet we got to see a good variety of colors: red, orange, yellow, white, pink and purple. The tulips were not as high as I expected. Last year, they grew double in height.
My friends purchased some tulip bulbs from a farmer who shared great advice. The bulbs were really cheap; they bought a bag of 50 for less than 15 euros. These were ready-to-plant and must be in the soil by early June latest in order to grow next year. We also learned that bulbs can grow children, which can be separated at the root and be planted separately to grow new flowers.
The Keukenhof is a very famous tulip park nearby, and it attracts many tourists. We chose to skip it to avoid the crowds. B and I visited it last year and found it is worth a tour. It is large and offers impressive sculpted gardens. Avoid it during busy weekends if you want to appreciate it to the fullest!
Our initial plan plan was to drive through Lisse then head to Giethoorn, the Venice of Holland. Due to construction on the highway, we never made it there. Instead, we went to Haarlem and then drove through small villages and forest until Wassenar before heading home to Voorburg.
Tulips are my favorite flowers and I couldn't be happier to live in the THE country who produces them most. To complete the tulip experience, I want to attend some day a flower auction in Aalsmeer.
If you plan to visit the Netherlands, I advise you to come during spring time to enjoy this unique floral landscape!
*Source: Holland Trade and Invest