This week the Lentetuin opens in Breezand, The Netherlands (1-5 March). This once a year flower show event is run by the local bulb growers each first weekend in March. Being one of the earliest of the season it marks start of the start of the busy bulb blooming season.
I visited the show a couple of years ago and it is a wonderful trip into the countryside of North Holland. I took the train heading North from my small town close to the International Airport getting off the train in Anna Paulowna. There, I quickly boarded a small waiting van driven by a local volunteer that took me straight to the door of the event in the small town of Breezand.
I could instantly relate to the charm of Breezand, it has the small town feel of my former home and farmer town in Northern Minnesota. A tractor equipment dealer was located only steps away from the entrance to the flower show hall. As I entered the hall, it had the same small town feel of my hometown Minnesota county fair. People were friendly and greeted each other as old friends. Flower growers were huddled next to displays talking in hushed tones over the display of the other growers. Who would win the big prize this year?
The exhibit area assaulted my senses with the vast organized colors and varieties of bulbs in a very Dutch background setting. I didn’t really know where to look first. I started taking pictures and soon realized I would never be able to capture the true beauty of the place.
One of the flower exhibiters made sure that I made it into the other building where I found it to be just like the farm shows of my childhood. I felt at home looking at all the tools of the bulb trade, bulb sorting machines, special digging tools, bulbs of all sorts and for all seasons on sale to those attending. The excitement of the show could be felt in the air and it was infectious, putting a smile on my foreign face.
The back area also had a small coffee area that was crazy busy. I sat with some local commercial tulip growers who were attending to find some new tulip varieties. They thought at first I was an American tulip buyer as they really don’t get many tourist seekers on the opening day of the event. I laughed and told them I had just found my way to the event through my co worker who knew I loved flower bulbs.
Surprise showed on their faces as I told them I came by train.
The amazing part of this flower show is that it is organized and run by about 100 local community volunteers. The show has over 20,000 visitors in the five days. Impressive, friendly, and beautiful.
Bundle up if you plan on visiting this weekend as the temps here dip into the low 20’s F. I would suggest attending when they first open (10 am) and purchasing the tickets online from the website so you can skip the line at the entrance to the flower hall.
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