Now that the winter holidays have come to a close – it’s time to plan for the spring holidays. Holland, the home of the most tulips in the whole world, blooms only once a year in March & April. North and South Holland, the two western provinces of The Netherlands, have made an industry by being the world’s largest exporter of flowers. Auction houses like Sothebys and Christies, come here each year to act a third party seller between the farmers and bidders around the world. FedEx and DDHL transports hundreds of thousands of bulbs, by truck and plane.
The Aalsmeer flower auction in Holland is the largest in the world. It’s the year-round international marketplace for millions of fresh flowers. Located 10 miles southwest of Amsterdam, the co-op owned auction handles over 60% of the world’s cut flower trade. Auction visitors see flowers bought and sold in a matter of seconds.
The nearby town of Brussels, in Belgium, begins to plan for their annual “flower carpet” to be held August 13-15, 2010.
Near Holland, is the famous art town of Maastricht – where the single most important art fair (*you’ve never heard of) is held each year. Anyone who is anyone in the art world travels – usually via private plane – each year. (more about TEFAF Maastricht: The European Fine Art Fair)
For 10 days a year, the southern Dutch town of Maastricht becomes the World’s premier hub of glamor & wealth. A serious fair for serious buyers attracts $2 billion of fine art to be bought and sold. gallery owners, museum directors (from Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the like), billionaire collectors and wealthy spouses attend. Most collectors bring their art consultants, who are sometimes directors of a museum where the collector sits on the board. Often the collector will buy something specifically with it in mind to loan to that Museum. Auction houses also send representatives as buyers at Maastricht may want to sell someday; Sotheby’s often sends its European chairman, Henry Wyndham. Here you will find pieces by Rembrandt, Breugel, Rubense, Picasso, Matisse, Bracques, Graff diamonds, illuminated manuscripts, Han Dynasty tomb figures, and so on … prices range from a few hundred dollars to $90 million.
The Dutch of Amsterdaam city can be skipped (don’t listen to your college boyfriend – it’s really not that great), but the town of Leiden has valid historical importance to Americans, as it is the town the Pilgrims traveled from – common misknowmer states them as Britisih.
The time to go is April when millions of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils blanket the Dutch landscapes. Astute travelers begin in Lisse (next door to Amsterdam), the most famous town for Spring bloom. The Keukenhof Park (in Dutch: Kitchen Court), is the world’s largest flower garden with 7,000,000 (seven million) flower bulbs planted annually and is where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe show off their hybrids. Keukenhof is open annually from the last week of March to mid-May.
The Netherlands produce more than nine million bulbs a year over 10,000 hectares of Dutch landscape. Bulbs are planted in late October and early November, and bloom in April. According to the Daily Mail in London, 3+ billion tulips are grown each year and 2/3/ are exported to the U.S. and Germany. When the flowers are gone, the land will be cultivated for a rather more mundane crop of vegetables.