The Tulip Festivals in Holland
Presented by Guest Blogger Rutger H. Cornets de Groot.
When The Geo Group invited me to write something about the Tulip Festivals in my native country, The Netherlands, I thought to myself, “Tulip Festival? Is there such a thing?” Well, there must be, because people from all over the world flock to Holland for these events. The only thing is, it is not really a festival. It is the celebration of billions of tulips and other bulbous plants that blossom towards the end of April in the Bulb Region of Holland. Apparently my home country is world famous for something I don’t even know about.
Click here to see pictures of the Tulip Fields.
Or, take Hans Brinker. Everybody knows him, right? He put his finger in a hole in a dyke to stop the water from flooding Holland. The only problem is, nobody in Holland knows about him. He is a character in a fictional book written in 1865 by an American author, Mary Mapes Dodge. Few people in Holland have read her book. Hans Brinker is not a Dutch hero, but an American hero.
Or, take this final example. Just 20 minutes from Schiphol, the international Dutch airport, there is a town called Zaansche Schans. It’s much like an open air museum, with both well-preserved and replicated historical windmills and houses. Each year, the town attracts close to a million visitors, mostly people who have a few hours to spare in between flights, and who look at this as a time-saving opportunity to add Holland to their European itinerary. After all, Zaansche Schans has it all–from cheese making to clogs, tulips, Volendam costumes, and traditional Dutch cookies. A bit like an Amish town, only not preserved by faith but by commerce.
The only problem is, it has nothing to do with Holland. Or perhaps I should say it has nothing to do with the modern Dutch today. It has been decades since I last saw a pair of clogs. Or a windmill, for that matter.
Oh yes, there is another side to Holland and to the Dutch as well. And I don’t mean the sex-crazed, drug-using advocates of free abortion and euthanasia who have gained notoriety all over the world. That would be just one stereotype to counter another. Besides, the Dutch have ceased to be quite so liberal in recent times.
What then is Holland? Well, it has many aspects. Think of it as a cubist painting with various facets that can all be seen at the same time. Like this painting by Piet Mondrian, which is almost like a map of Holland in springtime, with the tulip fields all blooming. A Tulip Festival, after all.