AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: As stores in Amsterdam and across the Netherlands cautiously reopened after a COVID-19 lockdown, thousands of free bunches of tulips were being handed out.
National Tulip Day, held each year to celebrate the start of the growing season for the iconic flowers, a major export for Dutch farmers, is usually marked by an improvised flower garden in front of the royal palace on the capital's central Dam Square.
But with pandemic lockdown measures continuing to restrict large public gatherings, organizers went to Amsterdam's World Heritage-listed canals to hand out their flowers.
Arjan Smit, chairman of Tulip Promotion Netherlands, an association of hundreds of Dutch growers, said, "It is a gloomy and uncertain time for many people with the ongoing pandemic. So we are going to provide some joy. We hope to create many happy faces by handing out tulip bouquets," as reported by The Associated Press.
In 2021, Royal FloraHolland, a Dutch flower and plant auctioneer, saw record sales of $6.4 billion due to higher prices for plants and cut flowers.