Pick Your Own Tulips in the Noordoostpolder
Author: Onno ter Haar, teacher Dutch as a foreign language at Radboud in’to Languages
The Netherlands and tulips — a perfect pair! Would you like to experience the Dutch passion for tulips at a location other than the usual destinations such as Kinderdijk and Keukenhof? Come and pick your own tulips in the Noordoostpolder!
Tulip fields in the Noordoostpolder (image by author)
In spring, the area undergoes a metamorphosis. The vast, barren fields of the Noordoostpolder turn red, white, blue, and orange. Tulip season has returned. While your gaze would normally find its way out to the broad horizon, it is now drawn to the beauty of the flowers. The Noordoostpolder is a relatively unknown part of the Netherlands. In 1942, land was reclaimed from water because more food was required. The land’s man-made origins are evident in the straight roads, ditches, and geometric plots. Islands such as Urk and Schokland suddenly became part of the mainland. Near Schokland, the first Unesco World Heritage Site in the Netherlands, you can still see the boundaries of the narrow former island. It rises slightly above ground level. A waving green cluster of trees is visible from afar in the otherwise open landscape.
Right: Schokland, formerly an island (image by author)
An 88-kilometre tulip route runs through the entire Noordoostpolder, taking you to all the tulip fields. Along the way, you can marvel at the stunning colours of flowers, the immense agricultural plots, the thriving farms, and the typical cloudy Dutch skies above the endless lowlands. That the Dutch are not only enterprising, but also inventive, is proven by the farmer situated near Marknesse who has opened his tulip fields to the public. For ten euros, you get a bucket to fill with tulips that you pluck yourself. Everything is coronavirus-proof: there are marked routes and at the end, you automatically pass the toilets and takeaway coffee. It’s a fine example of Dutch ingenuity: a nice outing for visitors that ends with a house full of tulips!
The Noordoostpolder is part of Flevoland, the newest province in the Netherlands, and there is surprisingly much to see. There is the fishing town of Urk or the village of Nagele with its modern architecture, including the Reformed Church by Johannes van den Broek and Jaap Bakema, which was built in 1959-1960. There is also the landscape artwork “Pier + Horizon” by Paul de Kort, a tribute to Piet Mondrian’s painting series Pier and Ocean from 1915.