“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Destinations — Tulip Time

From the air Holland’s patchwork of tulip fields look like a bold canvas painted in the manner of the Dutch school called De Stijl. Vibrant blues, reds, pinks and yellows sprawl to every horizon of the western Netherlands. The tulip season begins in March and lasts until August, but are at their most spectacular in mid-Spring.

The tulips are grown by farmers who hope to profit from florists worldwide, but thousands of tourists gather to see their spectacular kaleidoscope bulbfields in their rainbow glory. The cultivation of flower bulbs began some five centuries ago. Holland produces more than nine billion bulbs every year, the great majority of them for export.

Their spectacular colors of today’s tulips have their roots in the Tulipmania of the 17th century. A craze swept Europe and the Americas for the most eye-catching blooms. Bulbs were sold for small fortunes before the tulip bubble collapsed due to over-production. The region between Haarlem and Leiden became known as “De bollenstreek” — the bulb district. It retains that name today.

Like the rainbow its vibrant spectrum mimics, this super-saturated technicolor landscape is short-lived. When the blossoms fade, as all flowers must, the fields are returned to more mundane crops of vegetables.

Here are some photos we came across at travellingtwo.com’s Cycling The Dutch Tulip Fields