Specialization and scaling up in Dutch bulb cultivation

Which flower bulbs are the most grown in the Netherlands? In the 2021 edition of 'The Netherlands in Figures' from the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Dutch statistics office answers this question, among others. 

The Dutch grow tulips and lilies the most, followed by daffodils, hyacinths, and gladioli. In 2021, flower bulbs were grown on 27.3 thousand hectares of agricultural land. The open ground cultivation of flower bulbs was carried out on around 23 thousand hectares in the period from 2000 to 2014. In the following years, the area increased by almost 4 thousand hectares, but in the last three years, the growth has stopped.

The growth in the acreage after 2015 was due to the expansion of tulip cultivation. The area devoted to tulips increased by 2.3 thousand hectares in the period from 2015 to 2021. In recent years, the tulip acreage already accounted for about half of the total area devoted to flower bulbs. In 2021, the area of open-field tulips stood at 14.5 thousand hectares, 53 percent of the total bulb area. Lilies accounted for over one-fifth of the acreage.

Fewer gladioli
The specialization of flower bulb cultivation of lilies and tulips has been ongoing for years. The area devoted to lilies grew from 1.1 thousand hectares in 1980 to 5.8 thousand hectares in 2021, while that of tulips increased from 6.3 thousand hectares (1980) to 14.5 thousand hectares (2021). The area planted with gladioli decreased by almost two-thirds in 2021 compared to 1980, while that of daffodils stayed at 1.5 thousand hectares.

Bulb growers
The scaling up of flower bulb cultivation continues from year to year. The number of companies engaged in the cultivation of flower bulbs has decreased by more than 40 percent since 2000, from 2.7 thousand (2000) to 1.6 thousand (2021). The flower bulb acreage grew from 22.5 thousand hectares in 2000 to 27.3 thousand hectares in 2021. The average bulb grower currently has over 17 hectares of flower bulbs, which is 2.1 times more than in 2000.

Bulb growing regions
Flower bulb cultivation is strongly clustered regionally. Nine municipalities have more than a thousand hectares planted with flower bulbs. These are Den Helder, Hollands Kroon, Schagen, Medemblik, Midden-Drenthe, Noordoostpolder, Noordwijk, Drechterland, and Koggenland. The largest uninterrupted flower bulb area is in the Kop van Noord-Holland. The municipalities of Hollands Kroon, Schagen, and Den Helder, the so-called Noordelijke Bollenstreek, accounted for 28 percent of all flower bulbs (acreage) in 2020.

Source: CBS


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