The Netherlands: Where big business blossoms

Updated Jun 2, 2016

FloraHollandFrom mid-March to mid-May, portions of the Netherlands become a vibrant quilt of contrasting tulip colors. When viewed from the air, these rows upon rows of blossoming bulbs may remind one of Mark Rothko’s paintings.

The Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of cut flowers. In 2014, 52 percent of the plants and flowers exported globally came from the Dutch. The flower industry makes up more than 5 percent of the Netherlands’ gross domestic product.

Columbia is second in the cut flower exporting business, shipping more than $1 billion in blooms. It also controls about 70 percent of the U.S. flower market.

About 800 varieties of tulips can be found on Dutch flower farms. There are so many different variations of tulips that the Dutch Horticultural society has separated them into several categories.

Most of the tulips are located in the province of Flevoland and in the area called the Kop van Noord-Holland. The world’s largest flower auction, FloraHolland, also takes place in the Netherlands.

The reason why the tulips flourish is because of the Netherlands’ cool spring weather and the constant draining of the polders, providing the tulips the moist soil they need.

The best time to see the tulips in their peak season is in mid-April, according to

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