Spring and Cherry Blossoms
March 8th, 2013 by Alisa
Yes, ladies and gents,we've made it. We are on the good side of February, and there are nothing but bright sunny warm days in our future.
JUST KIDDING! The city we know and love and maybe even call home is unfortunately not known for its reliably clement weather. Nonetheless, Amsterdam is a bright and colorful city with plenty to do for all no matter what time of year you grace it with your presence. Spring, even if it is a bit chilly and rainy, brings forth one of the best aspect of Dutch culture that remains hidden for a good portion of the year: its profound love for flowers. The Netherlands are perhaps most famous for their tulip industry - Dutch flower fields and gardens like the Keukenhof are renowned around the world. (SIDENOTE: one of my very favorite things to on warm spring or summer days is visit the Keukenhof gardens. Just trust me on this one: if the sun is shining, take a picnic, some travel buddies and head over to the Keukenhof. DO IT.)
A lesser known flower-related adventure to indulge in when in Amsterdam is the Sakura Festival - the festival marking the flowering of the cherry blossom trees. The Amstelveen neighborhood of Amsterdam is home to many Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Korean immigrants so it sees its fair share of colorful celebrations throughout the year, however, for a portion of April every year the Japanese community of Amsterdam (which is the second largest in Europe) takes charge of the neighborhood. In the Japanese culture, the springtime Sakura festival is usually celebrated by picnicking with your family under a cherry blossom tree, as cherry blossoms represent the beginning and fragility of life.
The Cherry Blossom Festival was first held in the year 2000 after the Japanese Women's Club planted 400 trees to mark 400 years since Dutch-Japanese trade relations began. Both foreigners and locals come together to enjoy traditional Japanese food and drink and admire the beautiful cherry blossoms. If you are in town, and would also like to partake in the celebration of spring, head on over to the Bloesempark where the trees are planted on April 10th.
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