Bloemencorso

Bloemencorso is a Dutch word meaning "flower parade." In the springtime, usually from about mid to late-April, you will find 2017 Netherlands flower parades towns, villages, and regions throughout the country. Neighboring Belgium celebrates the end of the long winter in a similar way. "Bloemen" means flower, and "corso" means parade, and these celebrations feature the flowers for which the Low Countries, particularly Holland, are so famous. While spring is the prime flower viewing time, the Low Countries grow and import many other flower varieties, and the parades occur periodically through about mid-September.

The first Bloemencorso in Holland coincides with the glorious flowering of a number of different bulb flowers—hyacinth and daffodils, lilies, narcissus, dahlias, and caladiums. But it is the tulip that is most prominently featured. All of these flowers can be viewed at in magnificent cultivated landscapes at beautiful Keukenhof Gardens, located about halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague. The bulb growing area (Bollenstreek) provides the oldest and most famous 2017 Netherlands flower parade mid-April. It winds its way from Noordwijk to Haarlem, a distance of about 25 miles, and passes Keukenhof Gardens in the late afternoon. Visitors to the gardens are allowed to leave the grounds as the parade passes and re-enter afterwards without paying an additional admission.

Each Netherlands flower parade boasts its own unique character and theme, but one thing is common for all them—floats, called "praalwagens," decorated with flowers. Many of them are completely covered like the floats in the Tournament of Roses Parade held each year in California. Even boats get into the act. The Amsterdam canals and the canals of Bruges are full of glass-topped excursion boats, houseboats, barges, water taxis, and small private boats used for personal transportation. These participate in floating flower parades during the season. The streets all over the Netherlands are filled with bicycles. These also get decked out in the spirit of the season. As with the Tournament of Roses Parade, the floats are created mostly by volunteers who begin months ahead of the parades and utilize millions of flowers in the process. Also like the Tournament of Roses Parade, the floats are available the day after the event for up-close viewing.

Virtually every Bloemencorso is free of charge. You just need to know the date and route, and the best viewing points. In addition to Keukenhof, another flower destination is the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the world largest auction. Blossoms appearing in the flower shops of your hometown quite likely were flown in from here. Many Amsterdam tours and day trips come here where you can watch the fascinating and fragrant proceedings from walkways above the auction floors. You can also (free of charge) visit the Amsterdam Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt), located between the Museumplein and Dam Square. It is possible to purchase bulbs everywhere; be sure to check the customs regulations of your own country if you intend to bring them home. The Dutch love their fresh cut flowers, and you will find bustling markets specializing in flowers in towns and villages across the country.

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