Is there anything more wonderful than Spring? The melting away of winter, the magic of new beginnings and the comforting reminder that change can be beautiful.
One of the biggest reasons I love living in Amsterdam is because of the graceful and gallant spring we get to experience. Doorsteps are dressed in flower pots filled with tulips, wisteria crawl up the charming canal houses filling streets with its wonderful scent, and the four hundred thousand trees in the city begin getting used to wearing their leaves again. And how can I talk about spring without mentioning the vibrant display of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils that shoot from the ground reaching the sky in the surrounding countryside flower fields?!
These are five ways to experience spring in the extraordinary city of Amsterdam in your future travels.
1. Flower Markets & Shops
In spring, the flower markets are saturated with colorful varieties of tulips, peonies, ranunculus and roses amongst many many more. Holland has a huge share (almost half) of the worldwide trade in floricultural products, making it a dominant global supplier of flowers, particularly tulips. Because of this, flowers are relatively cheap all year round.
There are flower stalls scattered everywhere in the city, but my favorite place to buy flowers is in my local area of De Pijp, home to the famous Albert Cuyp Market. The best flower stall is half way up the market at the intersection. The same place have a brick and mortar shop which is located round the corner on Gerard Doustraat where you can walk into their refrigerated room and pick flowers by the stem to create your own bouquet! I also love Lindengracht Market when I am in Jordaan at the weekends, where there are beautiful stalls.
Other shops for flowers are:-
- Bloemenweelde Amsterdam; a modern florist with a pottery section as well as flowers.
- A.P Bloem; an independently owned flower studio specializing in upscale, wild-inspired designs - my go-to for gifting
- Bloemenmarkt; the famous floating flower market great for bulbs and dried flowers, albeit expensive due to being a major tourist attraction.
2. The Tulip Festival
To celebrate the national flower, the city installs over 500,000 blooming tulips in 85 public locations across Amsterdam. Bridges, museums, gardens and parks are embellished with large flower pots or planted directly in the ground, making walks and bike rides around the city that much more prismatic.
Saskia Albrecht, founder of the Tulp Festival wants to re-introduce the tulip back to the city streets and created the motto ‘a tulip for every citizen of Amsterdam’. Residents are encouraged to decorate their windows, balconies and gardens with flowers to brighten up the city. The Tulp Festival happens every year in April and has also been installed this year despite the COVID-19 outbreak.
For a full list of locations and more information, click here.
Keukenhof, established in 1949, is one of the world's largest gardens located in Lisse, thirty minutes south of Amsterdam. The park is over seventy nine acres in size and welcomes over 1.5 million visitors every year when it is opened for eight weeks annually. Keukenhof was founded by a consortium of bulb growers and flower exporters to exhibit their products and support the export industry. Every year in fall, seven million bulbs are planted for the next year, donated by growers. Although the park is closed this year due to COVID-19, Keukenhof is open for virtual touring via their website here.
4. The Tulip Fields
One of the most breathtaking sights I have experienced in this life is the beauty of the budding flower fields this country so majestically displays! Holland transforms into a technicolor sea of flowers in every color, which you can often see from the window seat in a plane, but best enjoyed by bike. Delicate yet poised tulips sway in the light spring breeze, creating the most dreamy settings. The air is infused with the sweet aroma of the blooming flowers and you can't help feeling mesmerized by the size of the expansive fields.
The flower fields are scattered all over the country but some of the best tulip fields can be found in Lisse, Noordwijkerhout and Noordoostpolder. Lisse is where the famous Keukenhof is, making it easier to access from Amsterdam. You can rent bikes from the car park at Keukenhof and cycle around the flower fields via a proposed bike route. Staff there will provide you with information on which fields are in full bloom at that particular moment.
Please note you cannot and must not trespass onto the farmer's private property without permission. Due to mass tourism, many of the fields have been blocked off as visitors have not respected the flowers or rules. You must speak to the farmers before stepping onto the fields, who will usually welcome you.
5. Spring On The Streets
Whilst walking or biking around the charming narrow streets of Amsterdam, you can't help but notice how the residents and council take pride in adorning their homes, doorways and parks with blooms. From creeping wisteria to opulent magnolia, you will see it all with a handful of bikes, a recipe for the most picturesque photographs.
Amsterdam Bos and Westerpark boast their cherry blossoms, whilst the Amstel River glimmers in wonderful wisteria. For an easy walking route, start on Kinkerstraat and walk eastwards towards Magere Brug. Cross the Amstel and take a right to admire the biggest and most beautiful climber with its twining stems.
The beauty of spring in Amsterdam is something to behold. There is perhaps no better way to enjoy the best the season can offer than experiencing it in and around the city of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is busy year round with Jan-Feb being quieter months and April being the busiest due to the tulip season. The city is entirely flat. Comfortable shoes are recommended as you will most likely cycle at some point. English is spoken throughout the city by everyone. The currency used is Euros. Trespassing is strictly prohibited when visiting the tulip fields. Please stick to the cycle or walking routes and do not enter the fields unless the farmer has granted you permission.