Saturday 28 March 2020

Tulip fever? Most bulbs bought at Amsterdam’s flower market fail to bloom

Not a real flower in sight. Photo:

Most of the bulbs bought on Amsterdam’s flower market fail to bloom and those that do flower look nothing like the packaging, according to research on behalf of the city council and Dutch bulb growers association.

Just 1% of the bulbs bought on the Bloemenmarkt, which is already under fire for selling too much tourist tat, actually flowered, broadcaster RTL Nieuws reported.

Similar results were booked on the so-called Bloembollen boulevard in Lisse, the town at the heart of the tulip industry. Just 2% of the bulbs bought from market stalls on the edge of the N208 went on to bloom, the researchers said.

‘Millions of tourists and day trippers are being conned,’ KAVB director René le Clercq told RTL. ‘The tulip is our national symbol and the bulb sector is important to the Dutch economy. We are extremely angry that conmen are structurally misleading consumers and damaging the sector’s image.’

Amsterdam, the KAVB and Lisse local council have now written to the Dutch consumer authority ACM urging it to investigate.

Earlier this year the last stall on Amsterdam’s ‘floating flower market’ tourist attraction which sold made-to-order bouquets closed down.

For years most of the 16 stalls have been selling pre-packed bulbs, wooden tulips and cheap souvenirs rather than flowers, but the area is still promoted heavily to tourists as a ‘world-famous’ attraction.

The city council’s website also promotes the market as a place where ‘you’ll find tulips of every colour – either in bouquets or as bulbs to plant at home.’ has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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