Tulip Fest Hits Union Sq 4/7 and Visitors Can Snag 10 Free Flowers

The Consul General of the Netherlands in New York, Ahmed Dadou, will present an exclusive New York tulip variety to the City of New York as part of the festivities that celebrates the first flower of spring. And those who want free tulips need to register at: Tulipday.com

| 29 Mar 2024 | 06:30

It is no secret that Holland is the epicenter for all things tulips but in the coming days New Yorkers will have a chance to experience the bloom and colors themselves, and even take home ten free flowers.

Royal Anthos, which represents Dutch companies that distribute bulbs around the globe, is now bringing their popular San Francisco tulip festival to New York. On Sunday, April 7 between 11.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Union Square Park, over 200,000 tulips will be on display. Furthermore, visitors can each get TEN free flowers.

“We’re overjoyed to share the beauty and excitement of the many tulip varieties with New Yorkers for this one-day event,” said Mark-Jan Terwindt, Managing Director, Royal Anthos.

Among the 200,000 tulips that will blanket Union Square are all sorts of blooms in a rainbow of colors. After all, there are over 3,000 varieties. Visitors can choose which ones appeal to their personal style. Ruffled, parrot, traditional or multi-colored.

At what will become an annual event called Tulip Day, the Consul General of the Netherlands in New York, Ahmed Dadou, will present an exclusive New York tulip variety to the City of New York. This new tulip, FUTURE400, commemorates this year’s anniversary of the first Dutch settlers landing on Governor’s Island 400 years ago and symbolizes another 400 years of collaboration and friendship between the United States and The Netherlands.

As Boris de Waard of P. Aker Seeds and Flowerbulbs explained, it takes “20 years” to develop a new variety of tulips unlike other flowers.

But that doesn’t mean flowers can’t be named after people. At the recent San Francisco show, a tulip was named after Jill Biden. Another tulip was recently named after New York event planner extraordinaire David Beahm.

There has long been a special relationship between the Dutch flower bulb sector and the United States. It dates back to 1951, when Royal Anthos and the Dutch and United States Departments of Agriculture signed an agreement to launch the so-called Pre Clearance Program. This program safeguards the quality and health of flower bulbs and perennials: partly through strict standards for diseases and pests, and partly thanks to US and Dutch inspectors conducting joint phyto-sanitary inspections in the Netherlands before shipping.

Because of the floral expertise of the Dutch–and its famous Aalsmeer Flower Auction–it is not only cut flowers that are sold around the globe to florists. What is not as known is that the country also harvests millions of bulbs which are then distributed throughout the world.

In countries on every continent, you may hear local farmers proudly discuss their local wares when in fact it is Dutch bulbs that have been exported and planted. Millions of them. Not only that, but local farms in New York and elsewhere often have Dutch heritage as well as Dutch bulbs

And let’s not forget that New Amsterdam was named after–well you guessed it–Amsterdam because of the Dutch influence on our hometown.

Furthermore, the Dutch tulip bulb market is part of history– and Hollywood. Films were made highlighting how one tulip bulb in 1634 sold approximately for 10,000 guilders, equal to the value of a mansion. Until, of course, the “bubble” crashed in 1637 and became a cautionary tale.

Trends that floral lovers may want to know before picking their special tulips is that two colors are trending in EVERY country. No, it’s not orange or red or even yellow.

When asked, Joost de Jong of VWS and Paul Grout of P. Nelis & Zoons, and Boris de Waard of P.Aker Seeds and Flowerbulbs echoed the same exact sentiment.

“Pink and white,” said de Jong. “Light pink and white are big sellers,” added Grout of P. Neils & Zooms.

Perhaps it is, as I suggested, because in such turbulent times, people are seeking calm and peace in their environments. “Interesting,” said Joost de Jong Boots of Flowerbulbs, Bonne Boots.

Another trend is the growing popularity of double tulips–which means multi-petaled. These flowers are lush and lavish. Reminiscent of pillowy peonies, these blooms have far more than the six large petals of traditional tulips.

John Kelder, who runs Kelder’s Farm in upstate New York, (Kerhonkson) explains that the Dutch have been perfecting bulb manufacturing for hundreds of years. “They’re so good at it,” he says.

In fact, Kelder’s Farm will have its own tulip festival on April 13th for those who may miss the New York City experience.

As he and others mention, tulips are “the first big flower of spring” and helps us “get out after the long winter and experience the beauty of these flowers.”

Those who want free tulips should register at TulipDay.com to download tickets. But anyone can enjoy the sight of a sea of beautiful tulips welcoming spring.

Jill Brooke is the editorial director of Flowerpowerdaily.com and is a former producer at CNN, and former reporter at the NY Post as well as a past editor in chief of Travel Savvy and Avenue magazine.