Thursday 09 April 2020

No Dutch flowers for the pope this Easter as coronavirus shuts down Italy

Dutch flowers on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica last year

Coronavirus has put paid to the Dutch tradition of supplying flowers to the Vatican for the pope’s Easter public mass, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.

The Dutch have supplied the flowers for the past 35 years but this year chief arranger has decided to cancel the appointment because of the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Given the developments and the measures which have been taken in Italy we have decided not take any risks, Paul Deckers told NOS. ‘And given official ceremonies are not taking place, then you can assume that such a big event as this will not happen either.’

Alternative locations are now being sought for the flowers, Deckers said.

The basilica is currently closed to tourists until at least April 3.

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