The official 2023 cut tulip season kicked off amid massive interest from the public. Tulip Promotion Netherlands (TPN) organised National Tulip Day on Saturday 21 January. This year was the first edition to take place on Museumplein in Amsterdam. The picking garden with 200,000 tulips, where the public was invited to pick tulips for free, was the highlight of the day. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the picking garden could not go ahead as planned in 2021 and 2022. Dutch Olympic speed skating champion Irene Schouten was the guest of honour. She christened a new tulip (“Dutch Pearl”) and performed the opening ceremony.
TPN President Arjan Smit: “National Tulip Day has developed into a world-class event with many international visitors. Interest from domestic and foreign press was also high, and tulips were trending on social media. We could not have wished for a better start to the tulip season, since retailers in the Netherlands, Germany and England also got involved.” The theme of National Tulip Day was ‘Typical Dutch’, with several references to Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. The design of the picking garden, for example, was based on a detail from one of his paintings, and tulip growers were visited by ‘The Milkmaid’ and ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’. The white-and-pink ‘Dutch Pearl’ tulip, christened by Irene Schouten, was a reference to the latter.
National Tulip Day has been held since 2012. The day marks the start of a new cut tulip season every year on the third Saturday in January. Until the end of April (for approximately 100 days), Dutch tulips will be available worldwide in more than 1,000 different varieties. From bright yellow to deep purple, from lily-shaped to fringed and from bicoloured to double-flowered. With a whopping 2 billion stems per season, the Netherlands is the world’s largest tulip producer.