The tulip is almost a synonym with the Netherlands, and if you love these smooth, elegant flowers the Flower Market in Amsterdam is one great spot to find them. The Amsterdam Flower Market is the only floating flower market in the world. Set on the Singel canal and between Koningsplein and Muntplein, the market is generally busy with locals and tourists alike.
The Flower Market in Amsterdam was established in 1982, the flower stalls stand on houseboats. In the past, the market was supplied daily by boat. Besides tulip bulbs, you will find seeds for many kinds of plants and flowers. The bulbs are ready for export, so you can buy them and return home without facing any issues at the airport.
During Christmas, the market will sell Christmas trees of all sizes and kinds. Taking a stroll in the market will not take much of your time. You can also buy typical souvenirs like wooden tulips, cheese and wood clogs. The market is open daily from 09:00 to 17:30, except on Sundays, when it opens at 11:30.
Tulips and the flower Industry in The Netherlands
The Netherlands is known as the largest flower shop in the world and with good reason. In 2017, The Netherlands plant and flower export reached a new record turnover of 6 billion euros. However, there are a few things you should know about this fascinating industry and how it transformed the country completely.
Tulips were originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire and were imported to The Netherlands in the 16th century. In 592, Carolus Clusius wrote the first major book on tulips increasing their popularity. In fact, his garden was raided regularly after the publication of this book. Tulips became very important during the Dutch Golden Age, in which the Tulip Mania period was born.
The history of the tulip is quite extensive. All you need to know is that tulips grow from bulbs which can be propagated through seeds and buds. A bulb grows into a flower and the original bulb disappears. However, a clone bulb forms in its place as well as several other buds. The mosaic virus spreads only through buds which makes cultivating beautiful varieties can take years. The virus slows down propagation but it has a dramatic effect on the color of the tulip, which is the effect growers wanted to achieve.
The Dutch created a market for tulip bulbs as durable goods, a good that does not quickly wear out. As the flowers grew in popularity, professional growers paid higher and higher prices for bulbs with the mosaic virus. In 1634, speculators began entering the market and the contract price for rare bulbs kept rising. Eventually, the tulip market collapsed in February 1637.
Today, The Netherlands is still widely known for its tulips, but it exports many other flowers to the rest of the world. Tulips are still cultivated in large fields and during Spring, the country transforms into a colorful landscape.
Visit the Keukenhof, home of the tulip
What is the Keukenhof? Keukenhof is a unique park known as the “Garden of Europe”, situated in Lisse, in South Holland. The park estimates that about seven million flower bulbs are planted in the park annually covering an area of 32 hectares.
At the park, there are a total of 800 varieties of tulips. There are flower shows, gardens, art and several events take place. However, you should note that the park is only open from March to May. Exact dates will vary each year, so it is best to check their official website.
The Netherlands is a fairly small country and traveling to the Keukenhof will not take up much of your time. There are train and buses leaving from Amsterdam and other cities in the country that will take you to the park. However, you can also go with an organized tour. Once there, you can explore the beautiful gardens and see tulips from multiple colors.