Day trips Nature

Tulips fields Netherlands: 10 things you want to know

Tulip fields Netherlands | 10 things you need to know about seeing tulips in Holland | Your Dutch Guide

From the end of March on, fields across The Netherlands are starting to dot with flowers. From the moment we chuck out the Christmas tree, we buy tulips for our homes. But the fields don’t start to bloom until the early spring. But when they do, it’s aspectacular sight. If you want to see tulip fields in The Netherlands, there are several places to go see them (some very un-touristy) and some rules to follow. Read all about Holland’s tulip fields in this article. 

Tulip Fields Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Tulip fields Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Tulip Fields Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Tulip fields The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Fun fact: tulips are not Dutch

Though Holland is famous for its tulips and soil in the Holland provinces, Flevoland, Drenthe, Zeeland and Groningen has proven perfect to grow tulips on a large scale, tulips are actually not from The Netherlands originally. They are from the mountains of Kazakhstan and found their way to The Netherlands via Persia, China, Turkey and Antwerp.

Tulipmania in Holland

Around 1593 the tulip first appeared in The Netherlands. At first, they were just grown in the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden and only visitors were allowed to set eyes on the pretty flowers, but soon tulips spread all over the country causing Tulipmania. This is actually considered an official era in Dutch history. This period in the Dutch Golden Age was a time in which contract prices for bulbs of the highly fashionable tulip reached bizarrely high levels. At some point in this era, one tulip cost what the average man would earn in 10 months. The market collapsed in 1637. Tulipmania is considered the first speculative bubble.

Flower fields, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Flower fields The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Not all flower fields in Holland are tulip fields

From early March on it’s possible to spot flower fields in The Netherlands. The first flowers to pop up are narcissus and hyacinths. So if you’re a bit early to the party and would like to see flower fields: you can. I must say that seeing fields and fields of bright yellow varieties of narcissus and amazingly smelling hyacinths is almost as good as seeing the tulip fields in The Netherlands.

What happens to all these tulips?

It may come as a shock to you. But flower farmers are not in it for the flowers. The bulbs are actually their livelihoods. The bigger the flower bulb, the more money the farmer can collect for it. Not long after tulips bloom the growers will chop off the actual flowers, leaving the stem and leaves. These provide nutrition for strong bulbs. 

Even though we Dutch love our tulips, and we love them in our houses and gardens, most of the tulips and tulip bulbs are exported. The Netherlands export over three billion (!) tulips and bulbs abroad every year.  

Rules about seeing tulips in tulip fields

Tulip fields The Netherlands | Rules to visit Tulip fields in Holland

When you visit the tulip fields in The Netherlands it is crucial that you stick to a couple of rules. Yes, the fields are enchanting. I know. But if you walk into the flower fields, you may trample or damage the flowers. Or you may be carrying diseases on your clothes or shoes that will irreparably damage the tulips and the bulbs. This may cause a lot of financial harm to tulip farmers. But you can enjoy tulips, whilst still minding the fields.

  • Don’t walk into the fields. You may trample or damage the tulips. Or diseases on your shoes will hurt the entire crop.
  • Take a telephoto lens to take close-up photos from the tulips.
  • If you’d like to stand in between the flowers, you may do so in designated fields. De Tulperij, The Tulip Barn and Tulip Store Show Garden are designated show gardens full of amazing tulips, other spring flowers and fun props for you to take that perfect Instagram photo.
  • Of course, Keukenhof Gardens is like a Disney World for tulip lovers. So if you’re into taking photos, Keukenhof Gardens is where you should go.
  • Don’t pick tulips from the fields! It’s incredibly disrespectful to the farmer. In every tulip field area in The Netherlands, there are dozens of stalls by the roadsides and at the flower farms to buy flowers and bulbs at very good prices.

Sleeping with the tulips: De Groene Bollenschuur

Photo by De Groene Bollenschuur Hillegom | Your Dutch Guide

Photo by De Groene Bollenschuur Hillegom | Your Dutch Guide

How amazing would it be if you could wake up in the morning, open the curtains and be greeted by thousands of tulips? Well, this is a reality if you stay at De Groene Bollenschuur. This bulb barn conversion in Hillegom stands proudly in the middle of several flower fields. See the sun rising and setting over the fields whilst enjoying all the comfort of this lovely holiday home.

When to see tulips in The Netherlands?

From mid-March to mid-May parts of The Netherlands are transformed into a sea of flowers. The crocuses are the first ones to pop their heads up in March, followed by hyacinths and narcissus. In general, tulips start to bloom in mid-April and will show their colours until mid-May. If you want to make sure you’re going to see tulips, watch the weekly flower forecast.

Tulip fields Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Holland tulip fields | Your Dutch Guide
Tulip fields Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Tulip fields Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Where to see tulips in The Netherlands

Bollenstreek

The area surrounding the famous Keukenhof Gardens is probably the most famous part of The Netherlands to see the tulip fields. We call it ‘Bollenstreek’: the area of the bulbs. Around Voorhout, Sassenheim, Lisse and Hillegom hundreds of flower fields can be admired. If you’d like to see the flower fields, I advise following this route.

Beemster

De Beemster is an area just a few kilometres north of Amsterdam. And it’s the perfect place to spot tulip fields. Simply hop on a train to Purmerend and start your Tulip walk from there. If you have a car at your disposal it’s also possible to take a Tulip drive.

North Holland

Amsterdam is part of the North Holland province and north of the capital is the perfect place to spot tulips. Holland boven Amsterdam has created several walking and cycling routes leading you pats many pretty flower fields.

Texel

Visiting Texel is always a good idea in my opinion. And especially in April and May when the flower fields are in full bloom. This map shows you where to spot the prettiest flower fields.

Flevoland

From Amsterdam, it’s just a short train ride to Almere or Lelystad and it would be very much worth it as the Flevoland province is a beautiful place to see tulip fields, and it’s still a bit of a hidden gem. So you’ll probably have the entire place to yourself. I know I did when I visited with my son. This route will show you all the flower fields around Dronten and I found this route around Zeewolde very lovely too (I especially enjoyed the area around Juttepeerlan). If you’d like to pick your own tulips you can do so at Hanneke’s Pluktuin in Biddinghuisen. I can highly recommend staying at ‘t Voorhuys in Emmeloord, renting a bike or taking a car and seeing tulip fields and other amazing Flevoland sites on this particular route.

Drenthe

If you ever need an excuse to visit Drenthe, the tulip fields are an excellent reason. It’s much quieter than in the areas near Amsterdam and you’ll see just as many pretty tulips. Take a walk around Diever or rent a bike and cycle the Diever-Dwingeloo, Dwingeloo-Ansen-Diever or Diever-Dwingeloo-Beilen route. If you’d like to pick your own bunch of tulips, Tulpen Pluktuin Drenthe is an amazing place to visit.

Goeree-Overflakkee

Goeree-Overflakkee is a complete hidden gem when it comes to Holland tulip fields. This part of Zeeland, not too far from Rotterdam, is the perfect place to see tulip fields in The Netherlands far away from the crowds. The area between Dirksland, Middelharnis, Oude-Tong and Nieuwe-Tonge is the place to spot beautiful tulip fields. This route will lead you to a lot of fields.

Zeeuws-Vlaanderen

Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is the part of Zeeland closest to Belgium and a fantastic place to spot tulip fields in spring. If you’d like to combine a holiday at sea with some tulip spotting, I really recommend heading to Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. You’ll find most flower fields in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen around Hulst.

Holland tulip fields | Your Dutch Guide
Tulips Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Tulips Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
The Tulip Barn, Hillegom | Your Dutch Guide

Where to see tulips near Amsterdam?

Bollenstreek

Lisse and Hillegom are the most famous parts of The Netherlands for flower fields. You can take a train to Hillegom and explore the tulip fields on foot from there. I, however, suggest booking a rental bike (in advance) that you can pick up at the station, as by bike it’s just perfect to follow (a large part of) this route so you can see the best of de Bollenstreek and its stunning fields.

Keukenhof gardens

The Keukenhof Gardens. It’s A Thing. Personally, I think driving or cycling through the fields, taking in the giant scale of it all, is the best experience to have. However, if you are pressed for time and you want to see tulips arranged in the most creative ways and be able to lots of photos of these creations, Keukenhof is the way to go. I advise you to buy your tickets online in advance and get there early. From Amsterdam Central Station take bus no. 397 to Keukenhof Gardens. From Amsterdam-Zuid train station take bus no. 341 to Keukenhof Gardens.

Keukenhof gardens by bike

If you’re interested in seeing the Holland tulip fields but you’re not too keen on planning it all yourself, a Keukenhof guided bike tour is really fun to join. The Keukenhof bike tours are run from mid-April to mid-May and they sell out pretty quickly, so you better book ahead. During this guided bike tour you will see loads and loads of tulips (wth many photo opportunities), Keukenhof castle (surrounded by flowers) and windmills. It’s the perfect day trip from Amsterdam in April or May.

Beemster

Beemster what the area a little north of Amsterdam is called. And if you’d like to see tulips during your stay in Amsterdam, Beemster is probably the easiest way to see them. Because, from Amsterdam central station, simply take the train to Purmerend and start your tulip walk from there.

Flevoland

Almere and Lelystad are just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam. I would advise you to take the train to Lelystad, grab a rental bike and discover the most beautiful flower fields with this bike route.

Keukenhof Gardens The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Keukenhof Gardens The Netherlands (photo by: Mill-Cris Toala Olivares) | Your Dutch Guide
Keukenhof Gardens The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Keukenhof Gardens The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Visit Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse is probably the most famous place in The Netherlands to see tulips and other flowers in full bloom in spring. Every year, over 7 million flower bulbs bloom over 32 hectares. The wonderful smell is overwhelming as well as the interesting and creative displays. Children will enjoy a special treasure hunt, the playground, petting zoo and maze. Since visits to Keukenhof are extremely popular with both Dutch as foreign visitors I advise you to book your tickets online, well ahead. From Amsterdam central station bus no 397 will take you directly to Keukenhof Gardens. Before or after your visit I recommend joining this bike tour to see a little more of the Lisse and Hillegom area and see the amazing tulip fields.

Tulip fields The Netherlands
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Tulip fields Netherlands | Everything you need to know about Holland tulip fields | Your Dutch Guide
Tulip fields Netherlands | Everything you need to know about Holland tulip fields | Your Dutch Guide

Fun day trips from Amsterdam

Utrecht

Utrecht, The Netherlands | Top things to do in Utrecht Holland (photo by Jurjen Drenth) | Your Dutch Guide

Rotterdam

Rotterdam, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

The Hague

Binnenhof The Hague | Your Dutch Guide

Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk, The Netherlands | Windmills of The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Muiden

Muiden, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa
    March 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    They look beautiful! I have learnt some new things here. My Mum was a florist and used to get up very early to go to the market in the UK to collect her flowers from Holland.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    March 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    That is such an interesting post and just look at the pictures – so so so gorgeous!!!

  • Reply
    Bea
    March 28, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I didn’t think I wanted to see this, but have changed my mind 😀 #wanderfulwednesday

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 28, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Haha, glad I changed your mind Bea!

  • Reply
    Ruth
    March 29, 2018 at 4:44 am

    Wow, your photos are incredible and would love to visit Holland during tulip season. I will need to plan a tip well since I tend to visit Europe in May or October. The facts about the flowers are very interesting. I do not understand the idea behind the bulbs being the important thing. So, the stronger the bulb the longer the life of the plant?

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 29, 2018 at 9:37 am

      The beginning of May is a great time to visit, though it can be quite busy as it’s May vacation here. Since The Netherlands are an export country through and through, strong tulip bulbs are very important for trade. When they’re strong, they can travel further, they will keep longer and will be of more use to the end user.

  • Reply
    Erin Gustafson
    March 29, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    We loved basing in the beautiful little town of Haarlem to explore the tulip fields two years ago. We, unfortunately, didn’t get those lovely blue skies in your fabulous photos, but the fields and fields of colour more than made up for it! Have you seen the tulip parade? Bloemencorso Bollenstreek? Charming and fun flower filled floats – parade ends in Haarlem, but we caught it en route from Keukenhof.

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 30, 2018 at 8:56 am

      The corsos are spectacular! If you ever have the chance, go and see the flower corso of Zundert!

  • Reply
    Clare
    March 29, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    This is such a useful, informative post, Esther. I was particularly interested to read more about the history of tulips in the Netherlands. I love tulips and seeing the fields of them is something I’d love to do one day.

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 29, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Perfect timing, we’re heading to the Netherlands in a few days! Can’t wait to see these tulip fields in person.

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 30, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Oh, how exciting! I hope the weather cooperates and you’ll see loads of flowers!

  • Reply
    Setarra
    March 30, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Such an informative post about tulips, I learned so much. I think it’s super cool that “Tulip Mania” is an actual are in Dutch history. A real example of “flower power” haha. Just added Keukenhof Gardens onto my travel to-do list thanks to your post!

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 31, 2018 at 7:43 am

      Haha! Yes, I guess we have flower power down to an art form.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 30, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I loved seeing the Netherlands in November but what I really wanted was to visit in Spring for tulip season! These photos are beautiful and just reminding me that some day I’ll have to make it back… in the correct season 😉

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 31, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Oh to be honest, I don’t think there is a right season to visit The Netherlands. It’s fun whenever you come. Personally, I love autumn in The Netherlands as fall foliage and autumn cuisine is pretty amazing here.

  • Reply
    Corey
    March 31, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Tulip Mania! Love it. So many great bits of info and facts here. I could just stare at tulip fields all day long, and your photos are stunning.

  • Reply
    Kat
    March 31, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Love this Tulip Guide post 🙂 You’re right that there are other places in the world to see tulips – Kashmir in India also has tulips, in fact, they are promoting the festival now 🙂

    • Reply
      Esther
      March 31, 2018 at 8:19 am

      Indeed, I’ve seen beautiful tulip displays in Istanbul as well!

  • Reply
    Sandra
    March 31, 2018 at 9:06 am

    This looks beautiful! I’ve been to the Keukenhof Gardens. But I would love to see the tulips in the fields.

  • Reply
    Lolo
    March 31, 2018 at 10:00 am

    I’m DYING to visit the Tulip fields! And when I go, I’d love to fly into the Netherlands for an overhead view of the fields! So many great tips here, I definitely pinned for later!

  • Reply
    Tomas Novak
    March 31, 2018 at 11:26 am

    wow, I am totally speechless! I’ve already heard about Hollands tulip field even saw some photos. But this post… Thanks a lot, it goes straight to our Pinterest bucket list board.

  • Reply
    Jessi
    March 31, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Such gorgeous colours! I’ve only seen the tulips at Keukenhof so far but that was enough to blow me away 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 31, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    What gorgeous photos, and very informative! Two years ago I visited Amsterdam and we made a day trip to the Keukenhof Gardens, I didn’t even know there were other ways to see the tulips! A bike tour sounds quite nice, I’ll have to remember that for my next trip! Thanks for the information 🙂

    • Reply
      Esther
      April 4, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Oh, the bike trips are fabulous! Can’t make it this year, but next year for sure!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    March 31, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Wow — so lovely and colorful! We had a trip planned here 2 years ago, but we had to postpone to the fall due to a health issue. Maybe someday I can visit in the spring!

  • Reply
    Jill
    April 1, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Most definitely something I want to do someday. Beautiful – and beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 1, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    This post reminded me that I wanted to read and learn more about Tulip Mania. I find it fascinating. Your photos are stunning. I love nature and flowers, so I would love being able to do the Flower Field Route.

  • Reply
    Jonny
    April 4, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Totally agree with you about Keukenhof, and I’m not even Dutch. You’ve probably seen this before, but I was laughing at the sheer absurdity of tourists *inside* the park (expensive entrance fee and queues) straining to get a photo of the surrounding tulip fields immediately outside (free, uncrowded). Tulip madness, indeed.

    Great post, very informative!

    • Reply
      Esther
      April 4, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Haha, this is exactly what I mean 🙂

  • Reply
    Steven
    April 9, 2018 at 10:38 am

    The last time I went to the Netherlands it was during winter … I have to go back there during spring because those pictures are so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    April 26, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Omg all of those colours, I adore Tulips they are my favourite flower I would be in my element x

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