Day four. The last miles. Your feet are full of blisters, your knees ache and every muscle in your body is twitching. You see the finish line. The crowds cheer. You’re going to give it all you got. With tears in your eyes you reach the finish. You did it! Overwhelmed with emotion, you receive your prize: the July flower that makes every participant a winner. 

Which July flower bulb is famous in Holland?

The tulip is one of the most famous Dutch icons. But, did you know around 8.5 billion flower bulbs are produced every year in Holland? 4.6 billion are tulips. If you look carefully you can spot a different bulb flower in the Dutch flower fields every month. While April is the month to enjoy the tulip fields in the Netherlands, The ultimate July flower in bloom is the gladiolus.

Surprise yourself and come see the Keukenhof flower fields in different seasons


July flower bike tour What does a gladiolus symbolize?

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear gladiolus is gladiator. Romans who fought in arenas such as the Colosseum with knives and swords. An entertainment form sometimes compared to a modern day sporting event. In Dutch there’s even a saying referring to the happening. ‘Death or the gladioli’ means as much as all or nothing. Whether it’s myth or reality, it is thought that the audience chanted this phrase during the event and the winner was covered in gladioli.  The sword is name giver of both the July flower as well as the Roman fighter. The gladiolus flower, nicknamed sword lily, is a perennial in the shape of this long and pointy weapon. Due to its association with the gladiator the bulb flower has won an interesting prize. It is now the symbol of heroism, victory and strength. 

gladiolus july flower sporting event Holland

What is the best location to celebrate the Four Day Marches?

The Four Day Marches attract a large crowd. During the same time as this major Dutch sporting event a Vierdaagse festival is held. This is where participants and visitors come together. The festival locations are not the only place where a huge party takes place. The best celebration is at the finish line on day four of the International Marches. Feel the ambience at the finish line, renamed Via Gladiola. It is fantastic. Friends, family, locals and tourists are singing, clapping, supporting the walkers with encouragement and cheers. The gladiolus bulb flower is everywhere. And as soon as the participants cross the finish line, they’re covered with the gladioli. And that’s how the gladiolus is the ultimate July flower that makes every participant of the Four Day Marches in the Netherlands a winner. 

Last fabulous fact: at the Via Gladiola, the finish line of the Four Days Marches half a million gladioli are given away.


Can’t see this video by the Foundation of Four Day Marches. Follow this link

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