I’ve always liked flowers, who doesn’t like flowers? When you live in Holland, you fall in love with them. I have fallen hard, for the second time.
Arriving in The Hague 20 years ago in winter left a lot to be desired. The sun didn’t peek out til 9:15 am in January and would set early, at 4:15 pm. You could say this much darkness was something an expat has to get used to.
Once I mastered riding my Dutch bike in a full-length winter coat, I dared to cycle to work, like everybody else. As I cycled slowly with the masses, the American in me kept being distracted by the flower stands I would pass -the vibrant colors, the masses of pretty bunches, the low cost of 50 tulips for 5 guilders/$2.50 (this was before the euro). Flower stalls were a true head turner, and part of the reason for causing a few mishaps in the bike lanes.
Helping out the Dutch economy as best I could, and also feeding my craving, I bought bunches of flowers at least twice a week. It was just too cheap and easy and beautiful. Flowers truly lifted my spirits and brought happiness into our home in a dark and chilly new country. It’s the little things. My addiction to flowers has never waned, and I brought this dependency back with me to America for 16 years.
Now living in Holland once again, the flowers are still screaming at me from the stands “I am so pretty and you need me.” I am a sucker, fixating on all the colors and arrangements. I listen to the screams of these fragrant bunches, dish out some euros and take them home with me, vaseloads of happiness to grace the rooms our new home, this time, in Amsterdam.
Holland is the size of West Virginia and produces and trades the most flowers, plants and trees in the world. At certain times of the year, I try to book flights back to the USA so I can catch a bird’s eye glimpse of the flower fields in full bloom from the air. It is truly nothing short of spectacular. It isn’t a bad view from a car or train window either. There are at least 60 km of flowers growing sustainably at all times of the year in the NL, either under glass or in the fields, with very low impact on the environment.
At the largest flower auction warehouse everyday in Aalsmeer, 20,000 different flower varieties like sea lavender, calla lily, carnation, freesia, hydrangea, lisianthus, cymbidium, amaryllis, zanthedeschia, chrysanthemum, daffodils, roses and tulips, just to name a few, are offered for sale. And they sell in minutes. Once sold, they are carted off for delivery to countries across the globe. You could say the Dutch are flowering the world with happiness, and addictions.