Of course Holland is world-famous for its tulips, but it also has a wealth of other botanical delights.
One of the highlights is the flower market that is held every day in Amsterdam. Taking place on the Singel canal, all of the flowers are displayed on amazing floating barges.
The tradition dates back to when the flowers would have arrived by the country’s waterways – of course, there are now delivered by road rather than boat – but the barges give a nod to the rich history and traditions of this market.
As well as tulips, the range of flowers and plants on sale is incredible, ranging from geraniums to indoor orchids.
Get the best deals
If you do plan to purchase something at the flower market, then you could get a real bargain. Despite appealing to tourists, prices are very reasonable as each trader competes with each other over price. You also don’t need to purchase in bulk, with sellers happy to sell smaller bundles of flowers and plants.
However, remember you are unlikely to be allowed to travel back home with any plants or flowers. Double-check that your purchase is allowed by customs otherwise you could be forced to bring them home. Many of the sellers offer a mail-order service or have an internet site so it be easier to order once you are home.
The flower market is open every day of the week between 9am and 5.30pm and on Sundays between 11am to 5.30pm.
One of the best times of year to visit the market is December, when the barges are transformed with Christmas flowers and trees.
The market is located along the Singel Canal, between Dam Square and Rembrandtplein and is an easy walk from most central hotels.
Visit a flower auction
An alternative to the market is the flower auction held every weekday at FloraHolland in Aslsmeer. Open at 7am, more than 19 million flowers and around two million plants are sold every day. It is a great spot to absorb Dutch culture and the bidding can get very confusing, as well as very heated!
Visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour of the world’s largest flower auction. With special signs in various languages pointing out the highlights of the venue.
The Tulip Museum
If you prefer to look at flowers rather than buy them, then Amsterdam is also home to the country’s Tulip Museum.
Located in the Jordaan region of the capital, the museum looks back at the history of the famous bulb and the role it has played in Holland’s economy and culture.
Visitors can enjoy plenty of exhibits, including a series of tulip paintings by Judith Leyster, a seventeenth-century painter and colleague of famous Dutch portraitist Frans Hals.
The museum also has a well-stocked gift shop selling various tulip-related souvenirs – perfect for finding something to remind you of your trip to Holland.