Is it OK to trample on the tulips, in pursuit of the ultimate selfie?

We live in an era of narcissism fuelled by sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Many people post images of themselves amongst the tulip fields surrounding the famous spring gardens, de Keukenhof and this often involves traipsing through and destroying farmers’ crops. One such tulip farmer, Simon Pennings claims to have sustained 10,000 euros of damage through tourist vandalism. It may not be intentional but the consequences are the same. Read more about selfie-madness in this Guardian article.

Simon Pennings, a grower near the town of Noordwijkerhout in the bulb region of south-west Netherlands, was the first to erect a barrier in his field, emblazoned with the slogan of a pilot campaign backed by the local tourist board: “Enjoy the flowers, respect our pride.”

During the Easter Bank Holiday roads around the Keukenhof were gridlocked and even visitors with reservations were advised not to come (by car) because of the congested car parks and roads.

My very first blog showed photos taken at the Keukenhof in 2012 and this year I visited again with friends from England. It was busier than I was used to as mid-April is the peak season for the surrounding tulip fields to bloom. Even so, the paths in the garden are fairly wide and people behaved amicably towards each other so that it wasn’t a stressful visit.

Top Tips for visiting the Keukenhof

Go on a week day and avoid Bank holidays if you can.
Park at the additional entrance rather than the main entrance.
Take sandwiches and water because the food on offer is only the unhealthy kind, and overpriced.
Get there before 11 am as that is when the coaches arrive from either Schiphol or Amsterdam.
Take photos of the surrounding fields but resist the urge to trample into the middle of the crop. Better still hire a bike and dodge the tailbacks.
Be mindful that this is not an authentic experience of the country. Dutch people tend to avoid the Keukenhof like the plague!

Some photos of my 2019 visit. The theme was flower power!



About susancarey

Angela writes using pseudonym, Susan Carey. She has dual nationality, GB/NL and lives in Nijmegen. Susan has had short fiction published on multiple platforms and was a runner-up in the 2018 and 2017 Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Competitions. Her writing has also been published and performed by amongst others: Mslexia, Liars’ League, Reflex Fiction, the Casket and of course the wonderful Writers Abroad. In 2020 she published her short story collection, Healer. Tweets at @su_carey
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4 Responses to Is it OK to trample on the tulips, in pursuit of the ultimate selfie?

  1. gillianbrown12015 says:

    Great post Angela and beautiful photos.
    I’ve so often wanted to come to see the tulips but the huge tourist draw has always put me off. One day maybe early in the morning…


    • susancarey says:

      Thank you, Jill. Do come to see the Keukenhof! It is amazing. My girlfriend loved it (she’s a gardener) and stayed from 11am till 5pm. I always like to go with visitors to the Keukenhof as my husband is not a fan!


  2. Sally Robinson says:

    Finally made it to the Keukenhof with my English visitors as all my Dutch friends refused! And was indeed pleasantly surprised. Even went again the following year with more visitors + picnic.


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