Lonely Planet Writer

Visitors to the Netherlands are being asked to take 'tulip-friendly selfies'

The Dutch tourist board has launched a campaign to encourage tourists to take “tulip-friendly selfies” as local farmers suffer thousands of euro in damage from visitors trampling on flowers and bulbs in search of the perfect picture.

Dutch tulip growers are pleading with selfie-taking tourists to be more respectful of their blooms. Image by Abdullah Asiran/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Flower fanatics flock to the Netherlands every spring to admire its patchwork of colourful tulip fields. It’s such a sight to behold that many visitors try to bottle the memory by posing for photos inside the fields. Unfortunately, it has led to an increasing number of tourists carelessly trampling on flowers and bulbs in search of the perfect picture. The Dutch tourism board says that flower-growers suffer hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage due to people wading through their fields. To limit the damage they’ve launched a campaign encouraging tourists to take “tulip-friendly selfies” from outside the fields with the social media hashtag #watchyourfeet advising people to be more mindful.

Fences have been erected to keep tourists out of the fields. Image by Abdullah Asiran/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Farmers have also installed fences fields urging visitors to enjoy the view but from a respectful distance. Signs printed in Chinese and English — saying “Enjoy the Flowers, Respect Our Pride” have appeared at the edge of many fields. The tourist office said a group of 40 “ambassadors” made up of voluntary guides, will teach visitors about the history of the tulip fields and remind them why it’s important to respect the colourful landscape. The message is: “You are very welcome, please come and visit the flower fields, but please be aware that you’re not allowed to visit the fields inside,” a spokesperson for the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions told Lonely Planet.

Tulips near the canal in Zaanse Schans, Netherlands. Image by Shutterstock

The message applies to all flowers, not just tulips. “Do not walk into the flower fields, however tempting it may seem,” the campaign warns. “The flower fields are on private land. Wading through the flowers may damage the flowers and bulbs or spread diseases to the flowers. Such actions cost flower growers lots of money every year.”

Every spring the Netherlands is awash with colour as flower fields begin to blossom. Image by Koen Van Weel/AFP/Getty

Instead visitors are asked to take photos from the edges of the fields or visit some of the special cutting gardens where visitors are allowed to walk between the flowers such as Hanneke’s Pluktuin, the Zomerbloemen Pluktuin, or the Tulpenpluktuin van de Boerenshop.

For a complete guide to the do’s and don’t of tulip-selfies, see here.