In many European villages there is celebrations around the flowers, or gardens to be precisely this season where they are raging.
In this post we bring a singular parade, a parade with dahlias, that celebrates in Zundert, a village at south of Holland. Zundert’s flower parade is an annual explosion of dahlias, because its float are made with this flower. Zundert’s village districts and surrounding church villages are engaged in a severe competition every year to build the finest float to be judged by a professional and independent jury. The entire village joins in, young as well as old, man and woman, worker and manager. The tradition of the parade joins generations, sexes and social classes.
This parade with dalhias celebrates the first weekend of September (this year was celebrated the days of 7 and 8 September). This parade came into being in 1936 as a celebration of Queen Wilhelimina’s birthday at that time. Initially the floats were modest as far as size is concerned and mostly consisted of decorated bicycles and a single farmer’s cart.
During the period of World War II this event languished and it was not until 1945 when recovered since then has evolved as we know it today.
Zundert’s flower parade has always had a quite strong artistic aspect. Since the fifties good contacts have existed with the Art Academy in neighbouring Breda. Professional artists are part of the jury of the floats and advise the designers. Just like the builders of the floats, these designers are all volunteers from Zundert. Inhabitants of Zundert educated at the Art Academy, often become designers of floats, inspired by this artistic aspect. Or the other way round: Young float designers are following an education at the Art Academy, because their artistic interest was inspired by the parade.
Since the sixties the grow of dahlias has become a major job. In the old days dahlias were picked on famers’ yards in the wider surroundings of Zundert, but later on the village districts started creating their own dahlia fields.
Since the sixties the floats have continually increased in size but especially during the eighties the increase is strong. Then, the organising foundation had to establish definite limitations. Maximum sizes were set to 19 metres (length), 4.5 metres (width) and 9 metres (height). A presentation, however, was allowed to take up more floats. These days the presentations are often extremely complex, consist of several seperate floats and often have moving parts.
At this moment the dahlia fields put together take up an area of 33 hectares (81 acres) with 600000 dahlia bulbs of fifty different species. All dahlias are grown especially for the flower parade, there is no commercial growing of dahlias in Zundert.
The parade never has a theme. Designers are completely free. Only twice a theme parade took place, in 1990 and in 2003, when the parade honoured Vincent van Gogh who was born in Zundert. For its most famous inhabitant Zundert’s flower parade is prepared to make an exception.
As you can see are amazing the floats that are constructed for this parade. Definitely worth a visit in early September.
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