The wonderful world of Tulips from the air
I know many of you have a bucket list of things you would like to see and do. One of my bucket list things to do was flying above the flower fields. I never thought it would be possible until I met Pieter, a helicopter pilot in the Noordoostpolder. Pieter has been flying there over the largest tulip fields of the Netherlands for five years now. Three years ago I booked my first helicopter flight (together with my dad) and I knew immediately that this was something to share with the readers of Tulips in Holland and I have been working with Pieter since than. Have a look at his story.
Photo: Tulip fields in the Noordoostpolder.
Pilot: Pieter Veendrick
Age: 28 years
Flying hours: 1000
Helicopter: Hughes 269C
Duration: flights from 6 minutes
Location: Creil, Noordoostpolder (around 1 hour by car from Amsterdam -> not in the Keukenhof area)
Pieter tells: From a young age I worked with tulips. My father has a farm in Creil and twenty years ago he grew tulip bulbs. Behind the land of the farm I picked the most beautiful tulips for sale to the tourists. Every weekend I stood together with my brothers along the road, to sell our freshly picked tulips and we earned ƒ150, – per day.
Photo: Pieter (left) and brother Sjoerd (right) sell tulips along the road (1998).
In those years around ten thousand tourists came to the Noordoostpolder to drive the Tulip car route. Over the years the tourists increased and we expect around eighty thousand tourists in the area this spring season. New cycling and walking routes have been added to the maps and you can even discover the area by horse-drawn carriage. And the children from the villages in the Noordoostpolder still sell their freshly picked tulips along the road.
Photo: Helicopter flights from the Tulpenbelevingsveld in Creil (2017).
When I started my helicopter training, I often flew over the Noordoostpolder. With all the colors of the tulips, the land really pops out in the spring. I was convinced that more people find this special, so I started the Tulpenvliegroute (Tulip flight path). Instead of selling tulips, I started selling helicopter flights flying over the tulips.
Every year that I fly the Tulpenvliegroute (Tulip flight path), it is a festival for the eyes. Every day the surroundings looks different. New fields are coming into bloom, tulips are headed in other fields … The landscape in the Noordoostpolder looks like a large Mondrian’s painting from above: they are bright colors in straight boxes.
55 years ago my grandfather started a bulb farm in Creil. Over the years, farmers have discovered that this soil is very suitable for growing tulip bulbs. Tulip farmers from all over the Netherlands have since moved to the Noordoostpolder to farm here. That is why you will find over 2000 hectares of tulip fields here. These are the largest tulip fields in the world.
With the Hughes 269C, a small helicopter, you have the most beautiful view. As far as the eye can see, you can see tulips. With a flight of 12 minutes or longer, I have the time to tell you about tulip cultivation, helicopters and the Noordoostpolder by headset. For example: Did you know that you can find Europe’s largest inland wind farm here? You feel so tiny when you fly past a windmill, they are immense! The wind farm here provides about 400,000 households with energy. From the air you can also see the dike that stops water from the IJsselmeer, the largest lake in the Netherlands. The Noordoostpolder is five meters below sea level. There is plenty to enjoy here!
Photo: View over the tulip fields and the wind farm. (Photo made by Klaas Eissens AV productions)
Do you want to fly above the tulip fields with Pieter? Have a look at our tickets for flight only and tickets for a day tour incl. helicopter flight here. Keep in mind that the helicopter flights leave from the Noordoostpolder (1 hr drive from Amsterdam) and that the heli pad is not accessible by public transportation. When you travel by your own (rental) car make sure you drive the 120 km tulip route as well.
Source: Tulips in Holland
Photo credits: Pieter Veendrick, Klaas Eissens AV Productions & Tulips in Holland