By Hannah Carter-Moore, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nothing makes you feel more like an Amsterdammer than cycling around with a bunch of tulips in your basket <3
While winter clings onto Amsterdam well into the new year, tulip season feels like an optimistic marker of spring, offering a welcome window into the immaculate vibes that is Amsterdam in full, sunny summery bloom.
The third Saturday in January kicks off tulip season in Amsterdam with National Tulip Day. We cycled to Museumplein – the square that homes some of Amsterdam’s most renound galleries (think Van Gogh, the Rijks museum, modern and contemporary art museums) – which hosts a huge pop-up picking garden. It goes without saying that tulips were in their multitudes. Crates of red, pink, purple, yellow and white tulips filled the middle of the square. There was something so wholesome about seeing people leave the garden with large bunches of paper-wrapped tulips bundled in their arms.
After waiting in the queue that spiralled around the square, we were each given a brown paper bag to fill with flowers. By this point in the day the red, pink and purple tulips had been ransacked so they were a hot commodity that people were practically racing each other for. We accepted our yellow and white fate and got hunting for the prettiest, juciest tulip buds. A brass band serenaded us with what I assume were Dutch bangers akin to singing ‘sweet caroline’ back home. The mood in that square was honestly unmatched – a little bit of joy to kill the January blues!
Come April, when tulip season really gets into full swing, we went to see the tulip fields near a place called Sassenheim. While you can pay to see the garden at Keukenhof, we decided to go the authentic route (natch) and see the tulip fields in their un-groomed natural habitat. And it did not disappoint. A sea of colour stretched out before us and not to be dramatic but it was as if I was seeing purple and red in their purest form. We picniced and cycled about soaking it all in. After a beaut day, back home we went to admire our photos and pop a few antihistamines .