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Flower Tulip Parade and Festival April 20, 2024

Am in the initial stages of research to Belgium and the Netherlands, as I've never been to this area before. Due to a great fare sale a few days ago, the flights are booked for a two week trip mid-April, 2024. A poster ( Nigel, maybe.?) mentioned the above Parade.
Is it worth planning the trip around, or is it so crowded to be avoided? Looks like a small Rose Bowl type experience. We will definitely go out to the tulip fields, just wondering if the Festival and Parade should be priorities. ( The husband wouldn't be into waiting an hour to get a good view of the parade, if that's what's needed. ) I did see that one can visit the float construction area beforehand. So my initial draft itinerary would be to first stay in Haarlem the week before the Festival/Parade, but I could flip the days to stay in Haarlem during the Festival/Parade at the end of the trip. Trying to balance my interests with a husband who may be in a "seen one tulip, seen them all" mode by the end of the trip. Or- I could send him out on a beer tasting tour.....hmmmm....
Thanks for any guidance.

Posted by
1384 posts

“ Is it worth planning the trip around, or is it so crowded to be avoided?”

I always find these “is it worth it” questions very difficult to answer. Whether or not something is worth it is a very personal thing. But if your concern is about the crowds, you should know that there is no way of escaping the crowds during the tulip season. The tulips only bloom for about 2.5 to 3 weeks and everyone, including yourselves, wants to be in the area during that very short timeframe.
The parade can be easily avoided, but also easily visited. If you want to see the floats without having to wait for the parade to pass by, the best thing would be to go to Haarlem on the day after the parade. The floats are parked in the city center and you can walk past them in your own pace.

Posted by
4981 posts

Dutch Traveler, thanks for taking the time to reply. As luck would have it, we are flying out that Sunday that the floats are on display. I didn't know about the Parade until after I booked flights. I appreciate all your input here on the Forum. Thanks again.

Posted by
4981 posts

Dutch Traveler, I was musing about myself and crowds. For the Xmas markets, I enjoy the vibe, so crowds don't bother me. On our recent visit in May to Positano, the crowds were maddening and the town didn't speak to me. For the tulips, and the Parade, I think the experience will be worth it. I can suggest my husband get a bike and entertain himself away from the Festival.
Sorry, you didn't need to know the workings of my thought processes. You have been quite generous with your help. Thanks again.

Posted by
33123 posts

Pat, I don't know what you look like (fair enough you don't me either) but it might make a bit of difference if you are a tall Dutch person or a short person like my wife who both wants to be in the front (all 4 feet 10 of her) so she can see anything and wants to be at the edge of the road so she can stand on the kerb and look over.

In the smaller towns the crowds were thinner so less looking over folks... that's what we prefer...

Posted by
3980 posts

That is unfortunate that you will miss the day after the parade when the floats are on display in Haarlem. We wanted to catch a bit of the hours long parade in 2018 so just waited in Haarlem as they came rolling into town for the night. I was a bit disappointed in the floats as the strict plant based material only rules of the Rose Bowl Parade don’t apply here. Also the floats are not as complex nor large as the RBP floats. Just helps to put things into perspective. We did appreciate the creativity of the floats and enthusiasm of the participants in this hours long parade.

The most stunning part about about being in the Netherlands during spring bulb season are the extensive fields and the displays at Keukenhof!

Posted by
4981 posts

Mona, 12 hours, I will look at your link. Now I know I'm sending my husband off on a bike- to a brewery , most likely. Thx!

Posted by
4981 posts

Mona, maybe I could get up and look at the floats Sunday before we leave . Our flight out of Amsterdam isn't until 11:45 am.
Nigel, I forgot about the height of the Dutch! Thanks for reminding me.

Posted by
3980 posts

Seeing the floats would be possible early in the morning if you stay in Haarlem before you leave at 11:45. Do give yourselves 3h at the airport though if your flight is AMS to LAX.

Posted by
4981 posts

Will do, Mona, as no one wants to miss the flight home. We miss the dogs!
And -My husband gets very antsy if he's not at an airport early.

Posted by
1384 posts

The floats are already on display in Haarlem on Saturday in the evening. Unless you like to get up veeeeery early in the morning, I wouldn’t go see them on Sunday morning. With a 11:45 am flight you don’t have much time for anything else than breakfast and make sure you arrive at the airport at 8:45 am at the latest.

Posted by
3980 posts

In 2018 we watched the floats roll into Haarlem in the evening because we wanted to see them in “action”. The next day we went back with friends to see them all parked on the street. It was getting pretty dark when they came in that night, it is April sunset hours. It was a bit harder to appreciate their color that evening. Depending where your hotel is you could maybe see some on the street as you make your way to the airport on your last morning?

Posted by
33123 posts

a lot of the fun of the parade is watching the crowd and the various costumed riders of the floats and cars. I think a lot of that would be lost with the static display with no people other than people quietly walking through a one day museum.

Posted by
4171 posts

I've been to this fabulous parade twice. The most recent time was 2013. Please note that it does not take 12 hours for the parade to pass a single location. It takes that long to go from the start at Noordwijk Beach to the end in Haarlem. By the time it gets to Haarlem, all the other locations have long been passed and public transportation along them has probably resumed. The time schedule listed from last year is the rough time the front of the parade will start to pass the locations listed. Please take a look at the map and time schedule from last year at this link: https://tulipfestivalamsterdam.com/flower-parade-route-and-directions/

The closer you get to Lisse and Keukenhof, the more crowded it gets. Last time I was there we had a car and parked along the road to the Sportpark de Roodemolen where it comes into Hoofdstraat. We got there a lot earlier than we needed to, so we had to wait awhile.

We could see down to the corner where the parade turns left coming from Voorhout. There were absolutely no barricades in that area. The floats and bands simply proceeded down the narrow Hoofdstraat and people often stepped into the street to take pictures -- including me. Sometimes things would slow down or stop due to congestion closer to Lisse and Keukenhof.

I love this parade! Both times I've seen it, there have been almost no tulips on the floats because cold weather kept them from blooming. It was quite cold, even in the sun in 2013. However, the hyacinths were in full bloom. Many floats were covered with them and being as close as we were to them, the scent was intoxicating as they passed.

Knowing that Keukenhof would be besieged, we did not go there on parade day. Instead we drove around the fields as much as we could. Some roads were closed due to the work being done in them. For the most part, the product being grown is bulbs, not flowers. We went to Keukenhof a couple of days later. There still weren't many tulips blooming in the outside beds, but the greenhouses were amazing with so many varieties and colors.

While driving in the area we happened upon a Dutch car club outing. The cars were all American cars from the late 40's and early 50's. Studebakers and Packards seemed to be favorites. Now that was a fun surprise!

Edited to add: This trip was made just before I joined Facebook. At that time I was doing a blog about our travels. I just checked and it's still there. If you're interested in seeing my pictures from the parade (Bloemencorso) PM me and I'll give you the link.

Posted by
4981 posts

Nigel and Lo, I'll be there Saturday! Thx

Posted by
2 posts

I need help. I am planning 2024 flower parade trip . I am brining my mom who is 91 from usa, and in great shape. I cannot find a hotel on the parade root who has covered grand stands. She uses a walker for balance in crowed area. I will be staying there for a few nights to enjoy the local area. Should I rent a car vs transfers Thanks in advance

Posted by
3980 posts

@ mitco21 welcome to the forum. You should start your own question under the Netherlands topics for help for your specific trip.