A local expert’s guide to the Netherlands’ most gorgeous tulips - Ahulan

A local expert’s guide to the Netherlands’ most gorgeous tulips


Nienke Panis-Ringersma has built a career studying the region’s flowers. From road vacations to bulb harvesting, these are her favorite seasonal activities.

Few sights are as unforgettable as candy-colored tulips blooming in January. The Netherlands, the world’s biggest exporter of tulips, reveres them. In the weeks leading up to spring, rows of blooms cover the nation in technicolor streaks, especially in the Bollenstreek “Bulb Region” between Haarlem and Leiden, arching towards the North Sea. Tulips attract travelers wanting to see them.

Tulips in Holland, owned by Nienke Panis-Ringersma, currently posts tulip photographs and weekly floral updates on X, Instagram, and TikTok. As a qualified national tour guide, she eats, sleeps, and dreams tulips, says her husband.


We asked Tulips in Holland photographer Nienke Panis-Ringersma about the greatest Dutch tulip blooms. “People in the Netherlands are very down to earth,” says Panis-Ringersma, whose Facebook photos and tulip facts get millions of likes. “They’re accustomed to flower fields. Tourist season is when highways are crowded with unaccustomed bikers.”

Panis-Ringersma loves her country’s bulb flower so much she made it her job. “I think it’s the excitement,” she adds. “Flower stores sell tulips in December. The third weekend of January is National Tulip Day. In Amsterdam’s museum plaza, 300,000 tulips are set against the Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum. Many tulip festivities begin before spring. I adore the flower and aroma at this lovely spot. Each tulip is unique. A magnificent tale awaits.”


Here are Nienke Panis-Ringersma’s favorite Dutch tulip season activities.

1. Best overall: Keukenhof

“You want number one? Panis-Ringersma recommends Keukenhof.

Keukenhof Gardens, commemorating its 75th anniversary in 2024, is the Netherlands’ most popular tulip experience, bringing over a million people to its eight-week season with its lushly designed “inspirational” gardens and windmills. “Around 7 million bulbs are planted by hands, not by machine, every year,” explains Panis-Ringersma, whose passion of tulips began at Keukenhof, where her grandpa worked as a ticket collector. “It’s the most beautiful spring garden in the world.”

Respectful Flower Viewing

Visitors to the Netherlands must not park near or stroll through tulip fields. “Flower fields are commercial,” explains Panis-Ringersma. You may harm crops by entering with your usual shoes, which carry in germs. Hyacinths are particularly susceptible. You don’t want people snapping photographs and collecting flowers in the fields. Some visitors believe the fields are for them.”

Visitors may enjoy picnics, flower displays, and educational “whisper boat” tours through Keukenhof’s modern art sculpture gardens. Plan ahead—Keukenhof is only open from the first day of Spring until the first week of May, depending on the weather. “The best time to go is the $1m question,” adds Panis-Ringersma. Each year is unique… We had a really warm winter. I recommend visiting in mid-April this year.”

Website: https://keukenhof.nl/en/

Address: Stationsweg 166A 2161 AM Lisse

Email [email protected]

Visit Keukenhof on Instagram

2. Highlight of culture: Bloemencorso Flower Parade

To fully experience tulip season, watch the Bloemencorso Flower Parade.

“A flower parade is a festive festival,” explains Panis-Ringersma. “It’s about 20 different floats, marching bands, cars very lavishly decorated with all kinds of flowers, people enjoying themselves, street entertainment… every town is a very festive atmosphere.”

Bloemencorso Flower Parade insider tip

Panis-Ringersma recommends attending parade day festivities. “Not many people know that there’s the Night Parade on Friday evening,” adds. “Noordwijkerhout is a little town. People congregate to watch the parade floats, drink, and dine on the terrace.” Lighted floats make the Night Parade beautiful.

Visitors may witness volunteers create floats with thousands of flowers on float Construction Days (Wednesday to Friday). Haarlem displays the floats one more time on Sunday afternoon following the procession.

Every third Saturday in April, the Bloemencorso procession marches from Noordwijk to Haarlem via the Bollenstreek and Keukenhof. “It’s full Day,” adds Panis-Ringersma. “To view, people queue up three to four lines thick. People prepare their seats three hours before the procession to provide a Disney-like experience. People sit on the streets waiting for the procession.”

Note from Panis-Ringersma: watch from Noordwijk. “Lots of people try to see the parade around Keukenhof because it passes the gardens,” adds. “But that’s quite busy. Visit Noordwijk in the morning. Beautiful beach town.”

Enjoy Dutch Stroopwafel pastries or lunch at Hudson Restaurant, Panis-Ringersma’s relaxed Dutch restaurant, while waiting for the procession. “What a festive day,” says Panis-Ringersma. “Every town is having markets … it’s an absolute must-see for people traveling to the Netherlands.”

Website: https://bloemencorso-bollenstreek.nl/en/

Telephone: +31 252 428 237

Bloemencorsobollenstreek on Instagram

3. Best interactive: Tulip farm visit

For those who can’t get enough tulip viewing, Panis-Ringersma recommends visiting a farm. “Because everybody really wants to go into the fields, which is not allowed,” adds. “So, please go to a tulip farm where it is allowed!”

All three of Panis-Ringersma’s Bollenstreek farm suggestions are central. “All three are founded by bulb growers,” adds. “So they know exactly what they’re doing. All are hands-on.”

A family-run Tulip Experience in Noordwijkerhout with approximately 1 million tulips is Panis-Ringersma’s first choice. “Go to the field to see at least 700 tulip varieties,” adds Panis-Ringersma. “The tulip industry has several tulip-themed items. Pick your own tulips. Very enjoyable.” What tulip goods?”She says tulip-scented beer, vodka, Aperol Spritz, soap, vases, napkins, and wallets. “If you can name it, everything with tulips.”

Visit Tulip Barn in Hillegom, 30 minutes outside Amsterdam, to see 750,000 tulips in the farm’s gardens and producing area. Panis-Ringersma adds “they are more focused on making Instagrammable photos.” “So, for a bit younger target audience.”

Further south, Panis-Ringersma prefers De Tulperij in Voorhout. “You can go together with the bulb grower,” says. You’re entering fields. He will dig up some tulip bulbs and show you how they develop and what they do each year. The setting is fascinating.”

Web: https://tulipexperienceamsterdam.nl

Address: Delfweg 37, 2211 VK Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands

Phone: +31651368784

Instagram: @tulipexperienceamsterdam

4. Kid-friendly: Tulip picking

Panis-Ringersma recommends Bollenstreek tulip picking for families with impatient kids and cars. “Not in the regular fields where you can say as you’re walking, ‘Oh, I like this one!'” she adds. “No, just go to a to a picking farm and pick your own tulips.”

Tulip Road Trip Map

Panis-Ringersma’s tulip road trip map is ideal for driving or biking the Bollenstreek.

“The green map square is Keukenhof,” she says. “All yellow stars are flower fields. The pink line runs across flower fields; the blue leads to the seashore. Whether you’re biking or driving, tulip fields are always blooming in spring.”

There are other Bollenstreek picking farms, but Panis-Ringersma suggests Annemieke’s Pluktuin, a Hillegom tulip nursery owned by husband-and-wife duo Annemieke and Pieter. “Pluktuin means ‘picking garden’,” says Panis-Ringersma. “Tulip picking is an absolutely brilliant experience, especially when you go with children to walk into the field and get the tulip with the bulb and you can take the bulb and the tulip with you back home or to the hotel.”

Site: https://annemiekespluktuin.nl

Address: Haarlemmerstraat 15A, 2182 HA Hillegom, Netherlands

Phone: +31653839979

Picking Garden Holland: Instagram

5. Best for tulip lovers: Hortus Bulborum

The Hortus Bulborum ancient bulb garden in Limmen is a spiritual learning center for Panis-Ringersma, a tulip photographer who became an expert.

Did You Know?

“An interesting fact about tulips,” explains Panis-Ringersma. “It’s not native to the Netherlands but people think it is.” The Himalayas are where tulips grew as a little red mountain flower before being introduced to Turkey in the 1400s. “People from Turkey went to the Himalayas and took this magical flower,” explains Panis-Ringersma. “They thought, ‘Very intriguing. Let’s try taller or other colors. In the late 16th century, it reached the Netherlands. People might have thought, “Okay, it’s an ugly bulb, but it blooms beautifully.”

“It’s like a living museum,” she adds. Around the 16th century, tulips entered the Netherlands. Their fans liked them early on. One site in the Netherlands preserves 16th-century and subsequent bulbs. Here, you may see the oldest Dutch bulbs still flowering.”

The Hortus Bulborum has nearly 4,500 historical spring bulbous plants, including tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, which are seldom grown nowadays. The garden’s outstanding bulbs include a 1557 Fritillaria Persica and a 16th-century Duc van Tol Red and Yellow tulip.

“So, you can visit and it’s a small garden,” explains Panis-Ringersma. “Great apple pie! You should go there for coffee and apple pie and to see all the flowers.”

Web: https://hortus-bulborum.nl/en/

Address: Zuidkerkenlaan 23A, 1906 AC Limmen, Netherlands

Phone: +31617291643

Hortusbulborum on Facebook

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