The view is spectacular. From the rooftop on the 6th floor you can see all of The Hague. When you squint your eyes you can even see the Westland. The area where they grow and have been growing fruit & vegetables in greenhouses on the ground for centuries. The year is 2017 and we’re standing in a rooftop greenhouse full of vegetables, fruit and…fish?!
Summer in Holland is fantastic. Long, colourful days with nice temperatures and a good amount of sunshine ( most of the time at least). Whether you like music, food or flowers, t here’s always something to do. Most of the time you can even combine all of your interests, passions and hobbies by going to one place or even one festival. In the post Summer Festival Hopping you could already read about my favourite festivals in the province South Holland. Now, to make sure you won’t miss out on some typical Dutch activities during your Holland holiday I wanted to highlight some August events in the Netherlands that Verita’s Visit organises themed food & flowers.
It takes place the first weekend of April. Some call it the ‘get into the greenhouse’ event. Although it takes place in different areas of the Netherlands, I love visiting the Holland greenhouses of the Westland. The Westland is not only a bike ride away from The Hague or Delft, it is also the cradle of the horticulture in the Netherlands. Here’s what the region has in store – or better, in the greenhouse- for you.
In Dutch the event is called Kom in de kas. In English I would call it Holland greenhouse festival. It’s more than a visit to a Dutch greenhouse, it’s a celebration which is great fun for all ages. The different bands playing enroute of this Holland greenhouse festival get you into the festive mood, you can taste paprika smoothies or radishes with chocolate or just relax in the sun with a cup of coffee & cake, children can participate in all kind of fun activities and of course you can buy your favourite flowers, fruit & vegetables at a stand located at the end of the Holland greenhouse festival.
Greenhouses in the Netherlands open their doors for visitors only one time per year. The reason is that young, growing plants are vulnerable and easily infected by diseases, which is why hygiene in the greenhouses is extremely important and visitors are often not allowed inside or can only visit when they follow strict hygiene rules.
So, it’s quite a unique opportunity to visit a greenhouse and see how fruit, vegetable & flowers are grown. A colleague once called Westland the all year round Keukenhof and it’s true. You’ll be amazed by all the different types of flowers grown in the Westland, also known as Glass City. You can see all the fantastic greenhouse innovations and developments, ask the growers all your questions about the plants that are being grown and many greenhouses put (Dutch) signs which explain all about the horticulture.
The Kom in de Kas ( get into the greenhouse) event takes place on Saturday 1 April from 10 AM – 5 PM & Sunday 2 April 2017 from 10 AM – 4 PM. The Holland greenhouse festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, so it’s extra special! In Westland the focus is at Honselersdijk/ Naaldwijk where 10 greenhouses open their doors. There are lovely cycle routes from The Hague & Delft to Wateringen and visitors are advised to come by bike. Really don’t feel like cycling? There are free busses at the flowerauction Royal FloraHolland bringing you to the walking zone. More info (in Dutch) in this online flyer.
Can’t make it on Saturday 1 April or Sunday 2 April 2017? Send an e-mail to veritasvisit(@)gmail.com for more information on Verita’s Visit’s (bike) tours & events to the Holland greenhouses.
The last years I’ve seen the floating Flower Parade Westland on Delfland day, the last day of this local festival in South Holland. It was like a tradition, you could find me near the Schaapwei mill in Rijswijk, near ‘t Haantje and later on near the Nieuwe Plantage in Delft. This year I wanted to see the boats decorated with flowers, fruit and vegetables at the start. I chose the Westland day on Saturday for a special reason.
Flower Parade Westland, it is a Dutch celebration
What I like about the Dutch is the way they turn a local festival like the Flower Parade Westland into a full day family outing. Early morning they load their stuff on their bikes or in the trunk of the car and head to their perfect spot to see the flower and vegetable decorated boats pass by. They reach their destination far before the start of the parade and then settle. Take out their foldable chairs, their picnic material, put their children on a blanket with some toys, give their dog a bone and then they’re set.
Now I’ve followed their example and the last years I’ve taken my picknick basket. Then I discovered that on Saturday, the Flower Parade Westland Day there were all sorts of small local markets in the Westland towns. So, I decided I would buy some Westland produced local fruit and vegetables on the way. After the first stop, Sonnehoeck, a historical grape grower I became more and more excited. Everywhere were these stalls where you could buy tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers.
With my basket loaded with all kind of yummie stuff I cycled to the start of the Flower Parade, the Trade Park Westland where the first decorated boats where already passing by. A man saw my basket and a big smile came on his face. Turned out he had worked at a grape nursery in the Westland as a teenager and had a summer job in picking tomatoes. That was before he moved to the east of the country where he met his Chinese wife, who simply is delighted to see all the boats. He brings her to the Flower Parade Westland every year and while she is enjoying the decoration, memories flash through his mind. Love the way you can so easily get in contact with people during a local festival. And, at the Flower Parade Westland you’ll find out a lot of the spectators have some kind of personal link to the festival.
I took my picknick basket and found a spot on top of a bridge, which offered quite a different perspective and from there took some pictures and some vids. The vids can be found on my Instagram account. More pictures can be found on My Google Collection Festivals in the Netherlands.
In March this year we made a cycle tour through the Westland and visited an orchid grower in Wateringen. This post is a bit of a teaser.