spring finds romance in lisse, holland, a small village with postcard-perfect windmills and flower fields.
lisse celebrated its 800th birthday in 1998.
its fields are so gorgeous, this part of the netherlands is known as “bollenstreek”, or bulb region.
thousands of acres are in bloom this season: first, hyacinths scent the spring air.
then it’s the annual explosion of tulips, daffodils and narcissus flowers.
blossoms grow in vibrant strips, like a mondrian painting — a vast block of red, then a strip of yellow, an oblong of purple, and a wide border of green, all framed by tidy rows of tilled earth.
another field sports a strip of icy blue, one of the famous holland canals for farm irrigation.
flowers are at their peak in april and early may.
then, in true medieval fashion, they’re beheaded. (you could say they lose their heads for glory and gold.)
these flowers are grown only for their bulbs. lisse is one of the world’s top exporters of spring bulbs, sending them off to 100 countries.
flower fields are relatively modern, since land in this region in the first 700 years was used mostly for huge, hunting estates for nobles and other wealthy landowners.
lisse lands are now farmers’ cooperatives. they hold an annual bulb auction too — largest in the world — called “bloemenveiling.”
an annual spring parade celebrating the wealth of beauty here winds through lisse streets: “bloemencorso.”
some visitors bike through the region, so they can swing past the fields on their way to keukenhof.
we took the bus.
lisse is less than an hour southwest of amsterdam, so a comfortable, affordable trip.
and on a rainy day, those big, bus seats were great for snuggling.