On Day 3 of the Ultimate Holland Experience we departed from The Hague early in the morning. The Hague was a pleasant experience and I wanted to spend more time exploring the city. The Hague is a a location I will be returning to soon – so much more to see. Edwin Groeneweg, The Dutch Travel Advisor, lives in The Hague area and he took our group to many unique, off-the-beaten-path sites. We would be happy to coordinate your next Netherlands trip through Edwin’s group.
Ultimately, we would end our third touring day in Rotterdam. There was so much to see on the route laid out by Edwin. Our first stop was Flora Holland. The Flora Holland flower auction is the largest in the world. Combining all the buildings that make up Flora Holland would equal a city the size of Monaco. More than 21 million cut flowers are sold EACH day.
As a former operations director I very much enjoyed our day among the flower growers and sellers. For those who may have a transport, shipping, or simply a flower interest, the Flora Holland tour will surely impress. I probably have 200+ pictures of the Flora Holland facility. Edwin can coordinate this incredible backstage visit…
Arcadia – Chrysanthemum grower
Through Edwin’s coordination we were able to visit private growers near Flora Holland. It’s important to note that these tours are not open to the general public. Our first private grower visit was Arcadia. They produce about 10,000 stems a week! With Edwin’s support, we had an hour-long visit and a supervised tour with the owner of the facility, René Eikelenboom.
Our next private grower was OlijRozen. They are specialists in the field of breeding, propagation, production and marketing of cut roses and potted roses. For nearly a century OlijRozen has specialized in the cultivation of cut roses. In 2004, they started breeding pot roses.
After leaving the flower growers we headed to Lisse. We had a very enjoyable lunch as guests of the Huang family. We were within sight of Keukenhof, often called the Garden of Europe. Each year approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the park. Unfortunately, Keukenhof is only open to the public for short periods – late March to early May. If you are headed to The Netherlands for Spring Break dates, this is an excellent time to view the gardens.
Perhaps the optimum flower-viewing time is the 2nd or 3rd week of April. Not to miss: the Annual Flower Parade which features floats richly decorated with flowers. The parade travels along a 42 kilometer route from Noordwijk to Haarlem, usually passing by Kuekenhof in the afternoon. In 2015, the parade will be on April 25th.
Keukenhof is huge and features many attractions – there are boat tours through the bulb fields, walk in a working windmill, a steam calliope, interior flower exhibitions, and of course, the beautiful garden. I haqve been fortunate to visit Keukenhof a few times… here are a few pictures from previous visits!
Our next destination would be the city of Delft, world-famous for… Delft pottery. Our first stop was a behind-the-scenes look at DelftsePauw, a family-owned business that exclusively produces and sells hand-painted Delftware. We learned that 95% of all Delftware produced in the world is fake…. NOT made in Delft, nor hand-painted! Your may not recognize the name, but there’s no mistaking the blue and white colored pottery.
At Delft Pottery de DelftsePauw, we enjoyed an informative tour and demonstration… and then it was shopping time. You can take this same tour, and then have your purchases shipped home for very reasonable rates!
We drove into the city and set off on a private walking tour. Delft is well-known for its ties with the Dutch Royal family and the famous painter Vermeer (Girl with the Pearl Earring). In addition to the Delft Blue earthenware, you’ll find lovely canals and historic churches. We visited the Old Church, the New Church, and had some free time to shop for cheese and grab a beer in a café! This historic town is a jewel, and not to be missed. (It’s much prettier when it’s not raining!)
Upon arrival in Rotterdam, we journeyed across the Erasmus Bridge to our overnight hotel, the Nhow Rotterdam. This is a new hotel which opened in January 2014. It’s located on the Wilhelmina Pier in the building “De Rotterdam” with views of the river Maas and the city skyline. The Wilhelmina Pier is also home to the cruise terminal – very convenient (and can be very crowded!).
The Nhow Rotterdam is a very contemporary hotel with many modern, state-of-the-art features. It’s in the largest building in The Netherlands, an excellent location, and quite stylish.
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