Dutch Flowers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome Will be Displayed for Easter

The Dutch floriculture sector prepares for a colorful Easter display by featuring some of the most divine flowers.

By: THURSD. | 27-03-2024 | 6 min read
Special Days
Dutch flowers at easter mass

This year, once again, sufficient sponsors have been brought together to realize the Dutch flower decorations for Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. A long-standing tradition can be continued. Piet van der Burg, artistic director of the project, has been preparing his new designs, as well as enthusing flower growers and growers’ associations for months. Various parties within the floriculture sector will donate their products and render their services – as preparations are now in full swing.

Sponsorship of the Dutch Flowers at St Peter's Square

It has become a well-established tradition for St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, Rome, to be decked out in an array of vibrant flower arrangements during the Pope's Easter Mass. The custom began when Dutch florists decorated the square for Titus Brandsma's beatification in 1985, and it has since grown to represent the positive ties that exist between the Netherlands and the Vatican. Large quantities of Dutch flowers will also make the square a riot of color this year.


Dutch flowers for Easter in St Peters Square


It is known that every year, one particular type of flower takes center stage in the overall decorations. This year, Gerbera will be the main flower. Growers' Association Summit Gerbera is donating no fewer than 3500 large-flowered and mini gerberas in a wide variety of colors. Meijer Roses from Pijnacker is making 1200 white and purple/pink Avalanche roses available. Specialist breeder Evanthia and FlowerXL are bringing 1,000 robust stems of Matthiola StoX in 4 colours and the Zentoo Growers Association is contributing 600 stems of single-flowered chrysanthemums. Vreeken Bouvardia and Peelen Anthuriums will also offer beautiful cut varieties.


Easter Mass in Rome with Dutch flowers quote


Easter mass St Peters Square Rome
View over St Peter's Square in Rome


Delphinium Nursery N.G. Wigchert from Noordwijkerhout is a regular sponsor with richly flowering delphiniums coming in three colors, offering approximately 500 flowers. Lastly is the sponsorship of Tak Global, in collaboration with Coloríginz/OZ Import, from De Kwakel – donating a wide range of cut greens.

As usual, a large-scale contribution is provided by producers from the flower bulb region. UNEX Inc. from Voorhout sponsors all tulip bulbs – and Roma Nova facilitates the cultivation until their actual flowering, together with several enthusiastic volunteers. Flower and Plant company W. Oskam & Zn. BV, also from Voorhout, is practically every year a major contributor with their daffodils Tête-à-Tête – also this year. The flower bulbs will adorn a total length of 465 meters on St. Peter’s Square.

Van der Slot Transport from Noordwijkerhout will once again take care of the logistics line from the Netherlands to Rome.

An Emblematic Floral Display for Easter

The overall arrangement will result in an ensemble of a wide variety of colors, in which the bulb flowers will form the basis and the cut flowers will be processed in various colorful layers rising above them. All the products together will adorn an area of approximately 170 square meters, with dozens of flower arrangements around the main altar, on the steps leading up to the podium, as well as the central balcony of the papal loggia.

All contributions combined will create stunning decor, with which the Dutch floriculture sector demonstrates a spectrum of unique products to the world.


Publicity in the Netherlands and Worldwide

On Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024, the entire Easter High Mass will be broadcast from Rome by broadcaster KRO-NCRV, from 9:50 AM on TV channel NPO 2 – followed by the Pope’s traditional blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and to the world”) at 12:00 PM. This year, there is once again plenty of attention in the media for the flower gesture from the Netherlands. KRO-NCRV will also broadcast a report, between the end of High Mass and the “Urbi et Orbi” (so: sometime between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM), in which the viewer is taken from several occasions during the preparation period in The Netherlands to the unfolding of the floral splendor in St. Peter’s Square. This report will be repeated in the KRO-NCRV program “Kruispunt”, at 05:30 PM, again on TV channel NPO 2.

With all broadcasts together, the flower decorations will be shown extensively. Worldwide, the Easter Mass in Rome, which is broadcast and shared by the Vatican media, is watched by millions of people. Vatican News offers video, radio, podcasts, images, news, and audio in more than 30 languages and has seen the number of visitors and pages viewed online grow strongly in recent years.

Worldwide, the Easter Mass in Rome, which is broadcast live and shared by the Vatican media, will be watched by millions of people. Vatican News offers video, radio, podcasts, images, news, and audio in more than thirty languages and has seen a strong increase in the number of visitors and pages viewed online in recent years.


Easter mass bulb flowers in Rome


From Holland to Rome

Transport company Van der Slot from Noordwijkerhout – involved in this Easter flower tradition from the very beginning in 1986 – will once again ensure that all flowers and other materials reach their destination in Vatican City. On Tuesday 26 March 2024, Van der Slot Transport will leave with a big truck combination full of Dutch products. After all the flowers have been blessed during a ceremony at Keukenhof in Lisse, the transport goes straight to the Eternal City – Rome. Monsignor Hans van den Hende, bishop of the Diocese of Rotterdam – to which Lisse also belongs – and also president of the Dutch Bishops’ Conference, will perform the blessing at 11:00 AM. From 10:30 am that morning, the gates of Keukenhof are open to anyone who wants to be present at this ceremony.

In Rome, artistic director Piet van der Burg, supported by a team of volunteers, will steer all the activities of the actual flower decoration in the right direction – with the desired result of St. Peter’s Square in full bloom. On Easter Sunday, the Dutch flower display will be officially presented to Pope Francis, by the Frisian Church – the Dutch Roman Catholic parish in Rome, of which Rev. Fr. Dr. Antoine Bodar is the Rector for which he shares:

"The Solemnity of Easter, the feast of the Resurrection, always represents a new beginning, new hope, new life."


Easter mass bulb flowers and delphiniums in Rome


After losing several previous sponsors, beginning 2022 Paul Deckers, the floral designer who used to be the Art Director and arranger for this occasion, canceled. It almost seemed that – after a tradition of thirty-five years – Dutch flowers would no longer adorn St. Peter’s Square at Easter. Rector Bodar and members of the council of the Frisian Church in Rome came into action, to guarantee the continuity of this remarkable tradition – ensuring the support of both old and new sponsors. Paul is happy they found somebody to replace him, he now spends time with his daughters on Easter. Piet van der Burg is the new head designer.



Can't get enough?

Subscribe to the
newsletter, and get
bedazzled with awesome
flower & plant updates