When people think of going to see the tulips in the Netherlands, the most common place that comes up to see them is Keukenhof and the driving route that is nearby. And I’ll be honest, that’s where I had seen the vast majority of tulips here as well. Until, that is, a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of the Noordoostpolder region.
I had never heard of the Noordoostpolder before last week and so I was a little nervous about taking visitors to an area that I hadn’t had a chance to scope out beforehand. Armed with a little bit of printed information that I got off their website, we headed off towards the visitor center in the hope that they would have a better map of the area than the website provided!
Laying 4 meters below sea level, this area located in the northeast of the country was built up from reclaimed land of the Zuiderzee around the time of WWII and has the perfect conditions for growing tulips. It is less than an hour’s drive from our house and we were pleased to see the closer we got, the more tulip fields we saw.
We made our way to the Visitors Center where we were, in fact, able to get a much better map than we started out with and luckily the roads were all marked with Tulpenroute signs along the way – there was no possibility of getting lost.
We saw field after field after field of brightly colored tulips. Eventually it just became a sea of color around every corner. The farms we drove by were adorable and with perfectly manicured lawns – it made me want to just pick up and move here. Beautiful homes, tons of green and a rainbow of tulip fields in your backyard? I’ll take it!
The driving was slow as we stopped at almost every field we saw. I stayed in the car while Josh jumped out and took pictures. Sometimes the kids would get out and he’d get a few shots of them, sometimes they stayed in the car. Same with the Giddy family. I’d love to do this route by bicycle someday (and on a much less windy day) as I imagine it’s beautiful to just bike by these fields. We only did about 1/2 of the 100km route before we felt we had probably tortured the children enough.
After viewing the tulips, we decided to make our way to Urk, a small fishing village in the lower west corner of the Noordoostpolder. It was listed in the guide book as a must see place and as it was on our way home, we thought it would be a fun place to visit, hopefully get something to eat and just meander around. What we forgot about was that it was King’s Day. This is not a bad thing – it just made parking a little bit of a challenge. But what we found was that people were all out celebrating in the streets, in a small festival by the docks and everywhere else. It was a sea of orange and of happy people out enjoying their day off.
I suspect we barely touched the surface of this beautiful area. There was a mosaic route that we missed which was supposed to include tulip fields with mosaics within them as well as mosaics made of flowers in the center of each town (we did see a few of those) – I imagine that’s an amazing sight.
There was also a horse-drawn carriage tour but it is not until this coming weekend. We only made it to one of the several villages – Urk. It was an adorable fishing village and with it being King’s Day, filled with people in a celebratory mood. We will definitely go back to this area, even in the tulip offseason to check out other parts like UNESCO island Schokland and to visit the Netl park, neither of which we had opportunity to do on this visit. The Netherlands may be a very small country, but it is certainly packed with fun places to visit and beautiful places to see!
Knuffels en kussen,