Picturesque Golden Age canals, premier league art, cosy cafés, and liberal urban living combine to make Amsterdam one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals.
On the first Sunday of September, the largest flower parade in the world takes place in Zundert, 78 miles south of Amsterdam.
Since 1936, volunteers from nearby villages and twenty hamlets have come together to create extraordinary, gargantuan floats, crafted using wire and layers of papier-maché, and decorated with thousands of colourful, locally grown dahlias.
The floral sculptures are as elaborate as they are enormous—some tower 30 feet high—and the procession through the streets of this tiny town draws spectators from around the globe.
Similar to the Rio Carnival, the parade is a competition, with the twenty hamlets vying for the individual float prize as judged by a professional, independent jury. Hundreds of local people within the hamlets, of all ages, will work together for up to 3 months to create their masterpiece.
Getting there & doing it
Zundert is a 1.5-hour drive from Amsterdam. Designated parking lots just outside the town are within walking distance of the parade.
Tickets for general entry (where you stand on the pavement to watch the parade) can be booked online or on the day. Grandstand tickets, with reserved seating, need to be booked in advance, and are well worth it – the parade takes around two hours from start to finish. The best section of grandstand is Section A, which is higher up and gives the best view.
When to do it
The parade takes place on the first Sunday of September, starting at 1.30pm.
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