Floating flower market
If you have a passion for petals, one of your first stops should be the Bloemenmarkt, otherwise known as the floating flower market. Rain or shine, summer or winter, the flower market is one of the most colourful and fragrant places in Amsterdam. All the stalls are located on floating barges along the canal, which is a relic from the days when flowers were shipped from the fields to the city by boat. Fresh flowers are still brought in daily, but these days by lorry. Whatever your favourite flower, you are bound to find it here. If you are looking for tulips, do a bit of research in advance to improve the odds that the bulbs you buy will blossom. Seasonality is important; if you want bulbs that bloom in the spring, buy bulbs in the fall and if you want bulbs that flower in the summer, buy your bulbs in early spring. Ask the seller for the details as they may not volunteer the information. And look for bulbs that are big and firm while avoiding the bulbs that look mushy, moldy or damaged.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum
Located in the Jordaan, the Amsterdam Tulip Museum pays tribute to the delicate flower that ignited great passion and envy over the centuries. The museum details the Netherlands' fascinating horticultural history, including a phenomenon known as "Tulipomania". During the 17th century, a craze for tulip bulbs took hold of the country and people even sold their houses to invest in bulbs at special stock exchanges. Although they’re a little more sensible these days, the Dutch still love their tulips!
Tulips from Amsterdam
The Dutch tulip season officially gets underway in January every year as the National Tulip Day comes to town! Head to Dam Square on Saturday, 16 January 2016 to pick your own tulip from a specially constructed ‘picking garden’. And when spring has truly sprung, the Amsterdam Tulip Days arrive to provide visitors with a glimpse of the blooms in their natural habitat.
Open Garden Days
For one weekend each year, a selection of canal houses and museums open their doors to the public and reveal the beautiful gardens hidden behind Amsterdam's brick facades. In 2016, the Open Garden Days will be held from 17 to 19 June. Over these three days, you can visit 30 of Amsterdam's 'secret gardens'. This event is extremely popular , so it's wise to purchase your ticket in advance.
Gardens and parks
If you'd rather stay in the city, simply stop and admire the flowers in one of the many parks and gardens in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, the Vondelpark is a favourite of residents and visitors alike. The Hortus Botanicus is a magical escape in the middle of town with over 4,000 plant species growing in their gardens and greenhouses. At the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest), you can wander past budding trees and botanical gardens in the city's biggest public park.
Just a short trip outside Amsterdam you’ll find the bollenstreek (bulb growing region), with colourful fields of flowers providing a feast for the eyes! The bulb fields are in full bloom in March, April and May. Immerse yourself in all things flowery with a day trip to spectacular attractions like the Keukenhof or the flower auction in Aalsmeer. Find out more about visiting Holland's flower strip.
The Keukenhof is the country's most magnificent flower show, brimming with tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other spring bulbs for just a few months each year. The world-famous park boasts 32 hectares bursting with flowers and 15 kilometres of walking and biking paths. The park includes a number of pavilions with unique displays and a variety of special activities each week. Don’t forget your camera - with over 7 million flowers you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful spring setting!
Aalsmeer flower auction
Early birds should make a special trip to the flower auction held at FloraHolland in Aalsmeer. Each day, 19 million flowers and two million plants are sold in an area of almost one million square metres. The auction is open to the public Monday to Friday from 7:00 to 11:00. The earlier you arrive, the more fun you’ll have watching the action unfold. Buyers haggle for the best prices, and the blooms are dispatched all over the globe within hours of being sold. The flowers are sold in a “Dutch auction” – as the clock ticks down, the price of the flowers gets lower!
If you want to take any flowers, plants or seeds home, make sure there is a customs cleared stamp (on the packet) for when you cross country borders.