Gardens and guardians: Rambo tulips in the 'world's flower shop'

Holland’s reputation for home grown tulips surpasses that of any other country both for quality and quantity, so much so that it’s dubbed “the flower shop of the world” by budding admirers who come to catch that special time during spring when its fields bloom.

But for many Dutch, this isn’t a time for romantic strolls and Instagram moments. This is the time for work. In the sleepy town of Obdam, 50 kilometers north of Amsterdam, Menno Boots from the Dutch flower company of Borst Bloembollen BV gets up at 4 a.m. every morning to tend to a very special type of tulip.

“Since 2019 we are very famous because of the Rambo tulips in America,” said Menno. “ In America they want to have them with the Golden Globes and since then, these tulips are famous in Holland and also outside Holland.”

The tough guy named “Rambo” is due to its particularly heavy build. The flower, which is produced from the Bloembollen factory in Obdam, graced the tables of the prestigious film awards earlier this year, presenting its image alongside Hollywood's rich and famous.

The sea climate in Holland’s northern regions is perfect for growing tulips. In and around the fields of Bloembollen, there are more than 1,000 different varieties. Due to the high demand, Menno is joined by up to 200 workers during the harvest season. Everything runs like clockwork as timing and temperature are vital for accurate selection.

Holland remains the dominant global supplier of flowers worldwide. An estimated 77 percent of all flower bulbs traded in the world come from Holland, the majority being tulips. With an emphasis on sustainable production, companies like Bloembollen recycle in almost all parts of the production process, making it a very popular choice for environmentally conscience industries that can also pull in a large profit.