Every January, Amsterdam celebrates National Tulip Day, which officially kicks off the tulip season. Tulip growers in the Netherlands are inviting everyone to pick a bunch of tulips for free in a specially constructed picking garden. National Tulip Day will return to the city for the 11th time in 2024, with the theme Let's Dance. The Dutch tulip growers and tens of thousands of visitors ensure a colorful start to the new season.
'Let's Dance' on National Tulip Day 2024
Everyone can agree that the tulip is extraordinarily unique in the world of flowers and many, but MANY around the world have designated it as their favorite flower. It is the flower that dances. No other floricultural product changes as dramatically in the vase as the tulip. You see them grow, bloom, and dance all in one. It's safe to say that with tulips, there is a party in the house every day. If you're going to be in Amsterdam on the third Saturday in January then you're off to an amazing start for 2024. During National Tulip Day there will be a grand tulip (dance) party on Museumplein for everyone to freely enjoy. Together with volunteers and tens of thousands of visitors, this celebration ensures a colorful start to the tulip season.
Although normally there are no blooming tulips to enjoy in January, on the third Saturday of January it’s National Tulip Day in Amsterdam and people love to inaugurate the uniqueness of this flower's season by getting all together and celebrating the beauty of the flower. From that day forward, tulip flowers will be promoted at hundreds of flower shops all along Amsterdam and other Dutch cities.
If you're planning a visit for that time of the month, remember that visitors are allowed to pick tulips for free in a specially designed tulip pick-up garden where there will be around 200.000 tulips in the free pick-up garden. Yep, an event you cannot miss out on!
A Little Tulip History
Tulips are bulbous spring flowering plants in the lily family that get their name from the Persian word for turban. They have a bright, bold color, and cup shapes, and are extremely symmetrical. Did you know that? Tulips did not originate in the Netherlands, despite the country's love and respect for the flower. They originated in the Tien Shan mountain ranges of Central Asia and were unique and rare plants that captivated Western Europe. Tulips were first introduced to the Netherlands at the end of the 16th century.
Tulips had become everyone's obsession at the start of the 17th century, and everyone wanted the flower to be a part of their garden decoration. They quickly became a major trading product in Holland and many other parts of Europe, and were sold for exorbitant prices - for example, the flower was said to cost ten times more than a working man's average salary in the Netherlands, and was more valuable than their homes alone! Between 1596 and 1598, over a hundred bulbs were stolen from Carolus Clusius' (the man responsible for tulip recognition in the Netherlands) garden in Leiden, an event known as Tulpenmanie, which translates as 'Tulip Mania'.
Tulips are still extremely popular in the Netherlands and are celebrated at both National Tulip Day (the third Saturday of January) and festivals (Amsterdam Tulip Festival, 23 March - 14 May 2023). Millions of visitors, both locals and tourists, flock to Keukenhof, the Netherlands' most popular tulip destination, to marvel at the gardens in Lisse (30 minutes from Amsterdam). If you visit Amsterdam in April, you will see over 850,000 colorful and distinctive tulips that can be seen from the gardens of museums, private homes, and other locations throughout the city. The Netherlands is the world's largest commercial producer of tulips, exporting approximately three billion each year.
Since 2012, there has been a National Tulip Day, and Dutch tulips are widely available in over 1,000 different varieties until the beginning of May. From bright yellow to deep purple, lily-shaped to fringed, bi-colored to double-flowered.