The (Tulip) Road Less Traveled: Noordoostpolder

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.

Our map of the tulip route

Our map of the tulip route

This way to the tulips!

This way to the tulips!

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!

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Doing his best chicken

                                                                       Doing his best chicken

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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.

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Notice the one lone red tulip in the center?

                                                         Notice the one lone red tulip in the center?

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                                                                         “Attempting” a selfie 😉

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IMG_0996After 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.

The village of Urk

                                                                            The village of Urk

With it's adorable harbor

                                                                      With it’s adorable harbor

You can see a lighthouse in the distance.  I love a lighthouse!!!

                                 You can see a lighthouse in the distance. I love a lighthouse!!!

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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.

One of the mosaics along the route

                                                              One of the mosaics along the route

IMG_0994There 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,

Julie

8 thoughts on “The (Tulip) Road Less Traveled: Noordoostpolder

  1. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the post. Could you please post exactly where this visitor center was located? I cant seem to find anything when I google.

    Thanks!

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  2. Hello ! With a friend, we would like to take pictures of the tulip fields, but the goal is to go into them to have closeups… Do you think it’s possible without getting caught by the farmers ? Thank you very much !

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    • I think overall the farmers really don’t like people going into the fields. However, you can usually get around the edges of them without an issue. But they really don’t want you in the middle, walking all over them. And much of it is private property. That being said, my guess is that they are fairly used to tourists doing it!

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  3. HI Julie
    Is it possible to recommend a beautiful place to stay on this tulip journey.
    We are looking for axcomodatkon overlooking a tulip farm or in one!
    Can u help?

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    • Hi Tammy! Sorry for the late reply! Honestly, I’m not really sure the best places to stay around the fields. But try booking.com or perhaps an airbnb?? Wish I could be more help!

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