By Scott Roane
The bulb-region (bollenstreek) flower parade (bloemencorso), one of the largest and most spectacular flower parades of the year, starts on Saturday April 21, in the city of Noordwijk, around 20 kilometres from Amsterdam. Departing at 9.30 a.m. it winds its way along a 40-kilometer route through the picturesque bulb fields, to arrive in Haarlem at around 21:00 hours. The procession is made up of 20 large floats and more than 30 decorated luxury cars, interspersed with marching bands. Hundreds of thousands of spectators congregate along the route to gape at the colourful displays which come in all shapes and sizes. If it holds, the sunny weather should make this year’s parade particularly stunning.
The convoy takes in the famous Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden where approximately seven million flower bulbs are planted annually. On arrival in Harlem the floats, created with more than 1.5 million hyacinths and thousands of narcissus and other tuberous flowers, are kept on display until 5pm on Sunday.
A train service to Noordwijk and Haarlem runs from Amsterdam Central Station every 15 minutes.