I knew Dutch people liked flowers because the Netherlands is really famous for its tulip industry: the Keukenhof is an icon of Holland for good reason. But now I have learned the true reason.
After enduring an autumn and a very long winter, at last the weather forecast shows around 15 and sometimes even 20 degrees Celsius, and I am incredibly happy that spring is finally here. But it's not only me, a student from a tropical country who is really longing to see the sun. Dutch people are too. They enjoy the sun like crazy when the spring comes - and especially the flowers.
It is amazing how the strong flowers survive the harsh winter, and when they start to come out in spring the Dutch rejoice. There are flower parades to make the spring merrier. Amazingly big cars and figures are created from flowers one day before the parade. My friend and I visited just at the right time, just before the cars were brought back to their own cities. The owners then give away some flowers and huge crowds of people gather in line to get free flowers. Some people took a lot of flowers in pots or in their bicycle baskets, and also packets of tulip bulbs in their bags. They really came prepared for the event. Meanwhile I just got some tulips to brighten up my house.
And that is the other crazy thing Dutch people do: they buy a lot of flowers and put them beautifully in their windows sill. In Indonesia, flower are rarely put inside a house, because we usually only give them during special ceremonies. A bouquet of fresh flowers is amazingly expensive in my country so I usually only see artificial flowers in houses. It is also nice to see wild flowers in the streets here, but in my country flowers don't grow near the street because there is so much traffic and pollution. So I really enjoy it when I'm out cycling and see a lot of colour from flowers along the street.
Astrisia Artanti, Indonesia, first year student of Master of Food Safety