The largest flower parade in the world is in Holland. You have to see this awesome show! So go to the Dutch city of Zundert on the first Sunday of September. This is the moment when people from all over the Netherlands gather to watch an extravagant dahlia-covered “Floats Parade”. They might have bought a ticket half a year in advance and this Sunday they take their place in the stands in the center of town to participate in the event. The center of the town of Zundert transforms into an arena of bleachers with thousands of spectators.
Yearly flower parade on the first Sunday of September
When we talk about a “Flower Parade” in Holland we call the event: “Bloemencorso”. This type of event goes back a long time. People always liked to decorate their bodies with flowers and show off. The next thing was horses and carriages decorated with flowers. This tradition reached unmatched artistic heights in Zundert. Nowadays the making of floats is not only volunteer work but also a competition. Twenty neighborhoods in and around Zundert compete with each other to build the most beautiful float. A professional jury judges the creations. As has happened yet for over eighty years.
Holland hosts the world’s largest flower parade
Zundert is just a small town near the southern border of the Netherlands but still, it does host the world’s biggest flower parade. A great honor, of course. In a country famous for its flowers, it’s no wonder flower parades are some sort of national hobby. Well, Zundert attracts international attention nowadays. But there is a lot more: The Netherlands has more than thirty flower parades, large and small, all over the country. In Zundert the focus is on Dahlia. Maybe not the most famous Dutch flower. When you think of Dutch flowers the Tulip is probably the first flower you think of. What about tulips? In spring you can see endless processions of flower floats in cities between the tulip fields.
Dahlia dominates the world’s largest flower parade
Each group participating in the flower float contest has its own dahlia fields where dahlias grow in dozens of shapes and colors. Usually, the elderly plant the flower bulbs, trim the weeds, and pick the flowers to create the floats. There are twenty competing districts and twenty floats (or better put: twenty ‘presentations’ because the presentations neighborhoods can consist of multiple floats).
Did the world’s largest flower parade inspire Vincent van Gogh?
Zunder is the birthplace of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Go. In Zundertas is the most impressive flower parade in the world. So in Zundert you’ll find the Vincent van Gogh museum. The “Vincent Van GoghHuis” is a lively art center and not a classic museum, This museum is an interactive experience for art lovers and tourists. So when you are in Zundert don’t miss the Van Gogh House.
Each neighborhood contributes to the flower parade
Each year, all twenty competing neighborhoods build a huge float of their own design. It’s a social phenomenon with a special character, in which members of the community join together all year long to build the float and maintain the dahlia flower fields. All contributions are on a voluntary basis, no one gets paid. Essentially it is being part of the community and joining in a friendly competition with competing neighborhoods that counts.
The flower parade floats are huge, the biggest is over nine meters high and twenty meters long. The organization sets maximum measurements for the floats because vehicles tend to become too large. And still, floats can contain more than half a million dahlia flowers. Float construction starts in May. During the last three hectic days before the event in each neighborhood, the people put flowers on the framework of the float. Literally, hundreds of people per hamlet participate in this marathon session. The arranging of flowers goes on until the very last minutes prior to the procession.
How to win a flower float competition
Moreover, the parade is a competition. An independent and professional jury decides who is the winner. The jury consists not only of people with a background in art but also in theater. They determine during the parade which of the twenty competing floats is of the most outstanding quality. The jury announces the results during the second passage through the center of town. Consequently, this leads to emotional scenes (dubbed the ‘Zundert jubilation’). Finally culminated in emotional outbursts when the jury asked the winning float to stop. In any case for the good people in Zundert, winning the parade might be the highlight of their lives.
History flower parade Zundert
The Bloemencorso Zundert has come a long way since it first began as a humble parade of flower-covered bicycles and horse-drawn carts in 1936. Originally a flower parade was held to celebrate Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday on August 31. After the queen stepped back the festival quickly became an annual tradition and the floats grew in size and became more intricate each year. The Queens Day aspect finally disappeared when Queen Juliana took the throne because her birthday is on April 30. Moreover, Queen Juliana fled to England when German troops occupied the Netherlands. Then there was no queen anymore to honor with flowers as Hitler’s Germans ruled Zundert.
High-tech floats dominate the flower parade
During the Second World War, flower parades were forbidden. As a result of the end of the war in 1945, an unparalleled enthusiasm quickly took off in Zundert and the flower parades blossomed as never before. Furthermore, the technical development of the floats is impressive and the flower parade grew into an event with international allure. Especially since the younger generations got involved more and more. Moreover, the character of the floats through the years became very dynamic. Numerous innovations and style evolutions were the result since each new generation left its marks.
An impression of the flower parade in Zundert
On YouTube, you can watch multiple very nice impressions of the flower parade Zundert. Some of these impressions are made by the TV channel broadcasting Brabant | Omroep Brabant. The best way to find these videos on Youtube search for the words Zundert and Corso.
➔ Hoogtepunten Corso Zundert
➔ Corso Zundert Optocht
➔ Winnaar Corso Zundert