The Tulip country in bloom – Inspiration for a spring road trip
Here’s why we wanted to visit…
We so wanted to call this Tulips from Amsterdam, but the truth is we're skipping the country's capital this time, and focusing on the blooms. So we could end the post here - the inspiration is the festival, but the truth is there's so much more, and it'll be great to have a plan 'b' if our timings don't line up and we miss the show.
For our trip we're focusing on all that is great about The Netherlands, enjoying its culture, its cuisine, its landscape and its architecture.
To get the most of our 9 nights, we have chosen 3 locations;
Haarlem, Alkmaar & Utrecht
The proposed route
A helpful guide
If you're thinking of heading of to the land of tulips and cheese, then grab this DK Eyewitness guide to help with your planning.
I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
A country in bloom
Forget the Dot Com bubble, the Dutch had it first with 'Tulip Mania' (1636-37). Now Tulips provide a steady income to this flower nation. We've booked into the Keukenhof gardens, and we’re planning on following the 'Flower Route' or 'Bloemen Route'
You really must
Visit Keukenhof - These beautiful gardens are open from March until May, and you can buy open ended tickets online. Therefore allowing you the flexibility if the weather is a little, erm, Dutch.
We've booked our in advance.
History & Culture
From commerce of giants like Shell & Unilever (My grand-mother & mother both worked in Unilever's London offices over the years). To the wars - shortly we'll be commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Battle of the Medway (1667), where the Dutch gave the British a good hiding, but that's another story.
Then there's the 'Golden Age', where artists such as Rembrandt & Vermeer took centre stage. Haarlem is home to The Frans Hals Museum, housing a number of Golden Age masterpieces.
All three of our chosen destinations look stunning - let's see what each of these locations has to offer.
There is also the country's control of the water - with 26% of the country below sea level, and a further 29% susceptible to river flooding. So the water pumping windmills of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk are a must.
Canals & Waterways
Whether it be through Haarlem, Alkmaar or Utrecht - or even past the Windmills of Kinderdijk. The view from the waterways often gives a unique perspective on a place.
Little fishing towns & villages
This will enable you to explore places like Volendam, Hoorn & Monnickendam. So we'll be exploring - let's see what we find.
King's day - 27th April
When we booked this trip we knew it would also cover the King's day celebrations so we're prepared to don some orange attire and celebrate like a local.
Oh yes - we both love cheese, and the Dutch have greats such as Edam & Gouda, plus plenty more to discover. I feel a Dutch cheeseboard at some point on the trip.
We will be in Alkmaar for the weekly Cheese Market, not sure what to expect except a large selection of round cheeses. We'll also visit the town of Edam, another famous Dutch cheese.
Visited Holland in the flowering season? What was your experience of this wonderful country?
Inspired to visit the Netherlands in bloom?
Does the idea of a mini road trip around some of Hollands others towns and cities interest you?
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