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A Day Out in the Tulip Fields

A day out in the tulip fields is the best way to enjoy your visit to the Netherlands in spring. When you have friends coming over, a company outing, family visiting, head towards the Keukenhof and you soon feel your smile growing by the sight of the multicoloured tulip fields….And don’t forget the scent of the hyacinth fields. It’s all one dreamlike package.

In Holland you can spot many different tulip varieties in the area around Keukenhof
In Holland you can spot many different tulip varieties in the area around Keukenhof

So, what do I do when I visit the Keukenhof area? To be honest, I haven’t been in the Keukenhof Park yet, this year at least. I plan to go, but there’s so much to discover in the area.

Bike ride Leiden- Keukenhof

Last week I did my Leiden- Keukenhof cycle tour. This bike ride I organise together with Bizon Bike Company, which simply has the most comfy bikes in whole of Leiden. From there we crossed the lake area Warmond and before we knew it we were in the midst of the flower fields.  My participants were two American families who were seeing each other again after a long time. They had a lot of catching up to do, so for them it was just perfect not having to organise anything and just following me, their guide.

Two families catch up while on a guided bike tour Leiden - Keukenhof
Two families catch up while on a guided bike tour Leiden – Keukenhof
On a day out in the tulip fields all your senses are tickled.
On a day out in the tulip fields all your senses are tickled.

Make Your OWN Flower mosaic

On Wednesday, I organised  an event, in which you could help make a flower mosaic out of hyacinths . Every year, out of hundreds of hyacinths teams of volunteers create beautiful works of art in three days. It takes a lot of time and energy, but it is quite addictive. Once you start you just can’t stop untill it’s done.

 

Treasure Hunt Keukenhof Area

In the weekend I welcomed English participants on the treasure hunt through the area around Keukenhof. After a surprise tour at the Castle Teylingen, former residence of Jacqueline of Bavaria ( who you see walking around in Keukenhof Park), they had lunch in the bulb farm and breed their own tulip at the local museum on the history of the bulb culture.

 

What do you need to breed the perfect tulip?
What do you need to breed the perfect tulip?

lunch in a bulb farm Holland-veritasvisit

Beer & Tulip Festival

When tulips and beer are found together in one festival all clouds just seem to disappear. On Saturday 16 April the Beers & Tulips Festival took place in Noordwijkerhout. For me it was the first spring festival of the year and a good start. Food, beer tasting, music that made you boogie woogie and fantastic tulip arrangements near and on the lake.

beer tulip festival-veritasvisit

 

Beer tulip lake festival Netherlands veritasvisit

 

Power Flower Vloggers & Selfies

Then a group of bloggers and vloggers came to visit the Keukenhof area to discover its treasures by bike: castles, canals and tulip fields, the local museum and the tulip farm, where we got a guided tour and heard how tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are grown.

picture Keukenhof castle Netherlands-veritasvisit

 

Guided tour tulip farm-Netherlands veritasvisit

An Adventure in the tulip fields

A day out in the tulip fields can be a true adventure. Head for the bulb flower region and discover it for yourself. Contact Verita’s Visit if you want to have more information about special, custom-made tours & events in the tulip fields or if you’re looking for a (bike) tour to cheese farms, greenhouses, windmills….

Bike tulip fields Netherlands-veritasvisit

What’s the name of the Keukenhof area?

Ask anyone where the Keukenhof is located and they tell you it’s close to Amsterdam (35km to be precise). Some will tell you it’s situated between Leiden and Haarlem and others can even tell you the name of the town: Lisse. Only few will give you the name of the Keukenhof area. That’s a pity, because it’s where the story of tulips and bulb flowers starts.

 

 

Copyright: Flaggy.ch
Copyright: Flaggy.ch

A barber in the keukenhof area

Once upon a time, when the Keukenhof flower garden didn’t exist yet, a little tulip bulb was sold for millions of guilders. It was the start of the tulip mania and made the bulb flower industry come to bloom. Before 1634 only professional growers produced bulbs. When the people in the Keukenhof region, the area between Leiden and Haarlem found out they could make more money selling flower bulbs than baking bread or cutting hair, they soon changed their profession and became a bulb grower.

 

Flower bulbs ready for export
What do you think: are these bulb cultivated by a professional?

Flower Check

The professionals knew what was needed to sell a good bulb. You had to look at the flower blooming from the bulb, cut it at the right time, so the bulb could grow even further. The bigger the bulb, the bigger the flowers that would come out next year. Importers from other countries knew this as well and came to check on the flowers – mainly the tulips, but also the other bulb flowers such as hyacinths and daffodils-  and purchase the best bulbs. The less professional just sold the bulbs, of which some hadn’t even come to bloom yet.

Hyacinth Hysteria

It wasn’t just the tulip that did well. Other bulb flowers also became popular. In the 18th century, the hyacinth bulbs became subject of hysteria thanks to the mistress of the French king Louis XV who wanted hyacinths in her garden.

 

What's in a name?
Beautiful bulb flowers, those hyacinths and tulips, no?

What’s in a name?

Now, after this story, do you have any idea what’s the name of the Keukenhof area?

Let me tell you this: It’s not called tulip region, because it’s not only tulips that are grown here. It’s not called flower region, because the primary product that is and was sold in the region between Leiden and Haarlem is not the flower blooming from the bulb, but the flower bulb. And that is the reason why the area around the Keukenhof, west from Leiden and west from Haarlem is called ….. ( Well, do you know now?)

Tulip bulb humorWhen I’m at a fair or event people can test their knowledge on Dutch culture & celebrations with Verita’s Visit’s mini-challenge. One of the multiple choice questions is how the area around the Keukenhof is called. If you ever get a chance to do the mini challenge and get this question, keep in mind that it all started with a bulb.

When 2 Lips Talk: a region tells its story

Want to  know the full story of the Keukenhof area, its culture and its people? Join one of the treasure hunts or cycle tours through the region.

Story and History of Flag Day Scheveningen

Scheveningen logo herring-veritasvisitMy first visit to Flag Day Scheveningen  was out of curiousity. I heard that the whole festival revolved around herring, and more precisely the new herring. But, if it was all about the herring, why wasn’t  it called Herring Day or Herring Festival? I decided it was time to unravel the mystery and look for the story and history of Flag Day Scheveningen…

Best Viewpoint to Overlook the Herring Festival

Out of habit I choose the same spot every year to overlook the Flag Day – Vlaggetjesdag- festivities. Here, in front of the harbour I remember that first visit.  I was determined to find out everything there is to know about the herring festival and the Dutch traditions shown on the day. Program in hand I made my way straight to the first activity, then the next and so on.

Herring and His Story

When I came home I was exhausted. After such a fantastic visit to Flag Day I needed some time to unwind. I took a herring out of the fridge, sprinkled it with some onions and with the first bite  a thought came to mind:  There must be some great stories behind all the festival activities.  The next day I got some books, turned on my laptop and did a little research.

Where to Start Visit Flag Day

Now that I know the stories and history of Flag Day Scheveningen and its herring, I enjoy my visit  more. The first time I came to this traditional Dutch festival has been years ago.  Today it’s celebrated on Saturday  the 18th of June 2016 and Flag Day Scheveningen has become one of my favourite events.  I’ve been here tons of times and can never decide where to go first. Tasting the new herring is tempting, but so is walking around the open air market with its traditional crafts, seeing the special water activities or going to fishers’ warehouse to enjoy some typical sailor songs. Hmmm, not an easy decision, but someone has to cut the knot. And that someone is me.

 

Travel Tips & Ideas

Flag Day Scheveningen 2016
  • Where is the best viewpoint to overlook Flag Day Scheveningen 2016
  • Where to start your visit to this typical Dutch event
  • How to get to the herring festival
  • Must sees & do’s on Flag Day

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On the day itself, Saturday 18 June 2016 you can also participate in an interactive event called Lord of the Herrings. Use your knowledge and creativity to complete challenges and find out all facts and fiction about Vlaggetjesdag, it’s history & tradition. Celebrate the festivities with & like a local. More info