This is your call to visit the Netherlands, as the tulip fields just started to bloom all around Holland!
And even though the daffodills and hyacinths are almost finished, the tulips were a bit late this year and have just sprung. They are now gradually turning the rural regions of the Netherlands into a colorful patchwork.
If you want to know where to find the most colorful and impressive tulip fields and how to visit them with respect for the farmers, keep reading! But first I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
When do the tulip fields bloom exactly?
Depending on the weather most tulips start blooming around half April until half May, after which the fields are cut. As it has been quite cold this year most tulip fields just started to bloom now and will differ in blooming stage per region and tulip breed, as some types start blooming sooner than others.
If you visit from next week until start May, you are guaranteed to see the fields in full color. And depending on the type of farmer, the fields will be cut before or after half May, so don't wait too long!
Where to find the best tulip fields in the Netherlands?
In spring tulip mania starts with multi coloured flower fields spread out along the coast of The Hague and Leiden, all the way up to Alkmaar in the north. But also on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee, in the Noordoostpolder, in the center of the Netherlands, and even Groningen.
Lots of fields and special routes can be found here, of which I will share the exact locations further on in this blog.
Is it ok to visit & take pics in the rural tulip fields?
It's a pure delight to drive past these fields by car, bike, or E-chopper, like I did many times, providing amazing photo opportunities! This is totally free to do and fine, as long as you don't enter the fields without permission. There are many misconceptions about taking pictures in random fields, which is usually NOT allowed! However don't despair, as it is still possible to take those Instagrammable shots in front or even in the fields, with permission of the farmer or at special locations.
In this blog I will tell you exactly how to do that respectfully and where. Of course, as always, based on my own experiences, including many of my own, and some of my fellow photographer's pics, to share the beauty of the Dutch tulip fields with you at the same time:
Tips for respectful tulip field exploring
Always check if the fields are freely accessible and if the gate is open already, before entering
Don't walk in the flower beds or even in the rows, unless you have permission of the owner
Never pick the flowers, unless they are already on the ground (makes a nice photo prop) or just buy some in advance to bring for photography
Do not jump over the rows or lie in between the flowers, unless it's ok with the farmer
Talk to the farmer, if possible, to ask what his preferences are. Some are quite ok with you walking in between the flower rows, as they only harvest either the flowers, or the bulbs
Different farmers however have different opinions, as walking in the fields can bring diseases to the flowers which go into the bulbs, ruining their harvest. But some are not too worried about that and like the promotion of the industry and their fields
If not sure, always take your pics in front or at the beginning of the tulip field
Or go to below mentioned showgardens and special fields designated for photography
And always remember to buy some bouquets, if offered, at the local farmers for support!
There are several special flower fields in Zuid-Holland, designated for photography, including props and cute photo settings.
My friend Iohanna of @ExploringTulips wrote a great blog about several of these locations, such as Tulip Experience Amsterdam, the Tulip Barn and the nicest hotels to stay in the area, for a mid-week or weekend trip.
Check out her blog for all info, maps and links: ExploringTulips.com
Top tulip field locations throughout the Netherlands
In this province you will find most tulip fields in the south west, around Lisse, Hillegom, Sassenheim, Voorhout, Vogelenzang, de Zilk and Noordwijkerhout, also known as the 'Bollenstreek'.
On TulipFestivalAmsterdam.com you can find out more about the seasonal flower events including a very convenient map on which you can find several tulip field locations.
Here you can check almost real time how they look and if they’re blooming already.
But this map also indicates several bike rental locations and hotels throughout Zuid-Holland, located near the flowerfields:
Tulip fields & showgarden Voorhout
Another great flower location in this area, free to visit, is the showgarden of my friend Michel of @PassionforTulips in Voorhout.
With 400 tulip variations this showgarden has no entrance fee and is accessible 24/7. Dedicated to showcase the variety of tulip bulbs he sells online, with several fun props placed in and around his field, differing per year.
Last year he had a swing placed in front of the field and even a Fiat 500 in the middle, very photogenic, as you can see here!
His garden is situated right next to fields and flower farm of van der Slot Tulips, both accessible free of charge.
@JanvdSlot is a friendly 4th generation tulip grower, who's always happy when you promote his fields through photography, as long as you do it respectfully!
That means NO flower picking, NO walking directly through the flower beds or lying in them, to prevent damage of his crop.
And of course make sure to buy a few of his tulip bouquets for photography, to take home with you and give away, as his tulips are the best and sold for very sharp prices!
The tulip fields in Voorhout are very diverse and colorful. Combined with a visit to the showgarden this makes a nice half day out, and is still open until half May!
Find all info on this website: Tulip Store Showgarden
For a fee you can also visit the famous Keukenhof in Lisse. Although this renowned flower attraction can get very busy, especially in the weekends and during holidays, it’s a stunning and impressive display of floral combinations. With over 7 million flower bulbs planted, it’s the world’s biggest flower exhibition, where you can easily spend a full day.
Make sure to check their website in advance for all info: Keukenhof.nl
For free cycling routes around Keukenhof, check the best colorful tulip routes in this area.
Last year and last weekend were my first times exploring the tulip beds of this northern region of my homeland. And although the fields here are in less abundance as the ‘Bollenstreek’, the tulip fields above Amsterdam, near Alkmaar, are quite impressive as well.
Holland boven Amsterdam
Last weekend I was invited by the tourism board of the region with a group of photographers to shoot in the flower fields of Triflor and farmer Tom around Nieuwe Niedorp, ’t Veld and Winkel.
And as you can see in above picture, they did not disappoint!
There should also be some nice fields in Limmen and the Noordbeemster area.
Tulip fields & windmills
What makes this region extra unique is that there are some fields with windmills in the background as well. This makes the ultimate Dutch postcard setting and you can find some of the nicest near Ursem and Schagerbrug.
My friend @Vlinderlin, who lives here and hosts regular photo walks, is organizing a tulip field photography walk, with access to the most special fields of this region, this weekend on the 24th of April!
There are still a few spots left..For all info and to sign up, check: Vlinderlin-tulip photowalk
Tulip fields & historic steam train
Also very unique is that there's a historic steam train, riding through the fields near Zwaagdijk, Benningbroek, Abbekerk, between Midwoud and Oostwoud and between Oostwoud and Twisk.
A beautiful sight, if you're patient enough, or just in time to catch it passing by:)
But you can also ride the train yourself!
Find out how and when on their website: Stoomtram.nl
Some lesser known tulip fields can also be found in the outskirts of the Netherlands, on this island in the southwest of my country, which I will explore myself next week.
Several colorful fields are spotted here near Oude-Tonge and Den Bommel. But I'm sure you will find even more when you just drive around here, which makes a scenic route as well.
But also in the Noordoostpolder, in the center of the Netherlands, there are many tulip fields and even special routes to follow. Most should be located near Dronten, Swifterband and Lelystad.
However you can easily download the exact cycling routes for all tulip fields in this area for free. Or buy different longer routes to follow by car on this website: TulpenRouteFlevoland.nl
Lastly I’ve heard about several smaller tulip fields in the north of my homeland too. So if you’re visiting Groningen or live in this area, make sure to head out to the north of the province, to look for the colorful fields, spread a bit more apart.
They might be harder to find, but I was told that last year there were some tulip fields here near Wolderdorp, Spijk, Garsthuizen, Zijldijk, ’t Zandt and Midhuizen.
And besides flower fields, the Netherlands has even more to offer! Find out what, per region and theme on this Netherlands page: ACL.com/Netherlands.
I hope you will enjoy the tulip fields as much as I always do! To help you with this in my next blog I'll happily share all my top tips for fun flower field photography and how to take the best tulip field shots!
Have I stimulated you to visit the Netherlands or have you visited the tulip fields before? If not, make sure to go soon, but remember to explore respectfully!