Discover the Largest Tulip Festival in the U.S.

The Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan is the largest tulip festival in the United States.

Written by Mike Edmisten

Updated: May 16, 2023

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Tulips are one of the most welcome signs of spring. When colorful tulip blooms appear, it means that the gray doldrums of winter are over and a season of renewal and rebirth has begun.

The tulip is so beloved that entire festivals have been created to celebrate its annual spring arrival. No festival does it bigger or better than the one held in western Michigan every spring, though. The largest tulip festival in the United States is the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan.

Pair of Dutch wooden shoes on a rock in a tulip garden.

The largest tulip festival in the U.S. is in Holland, Michigan, which is only fitting.


Dutch Roots

The city of Holland traces its roots back to the mid-1840s when a group of Dutch Calvinist separatists formed a colony. They were fleeing religious persecution and settled along the coast of Lake Michigan. Thousands of Dutch immigrants would follow. Today, the Dutch influence is seen all over the city of Holland, including the wooden shoe factory, the windmill, and, of course, the tulips.

The Dutch-Tulip Connection

While tulips did not originate in the Netherlands, they certainly became the country’s adopted plant. The tulip is the official national flower of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has come to be known as “The Flower Shop of the World.” Approximately 60% of land in the Netherlands is agricultural or horticultural, and most of it is used for growing bulbs. The Netherlands exports billions of tulips each year. In fact, 77% of the world’s flower bulbs come from the Netherlands.

Holland, Michigan, fully embraces its Dutch tulpenmanie (“tulip mania”) heritage and is on full display during Holland’s annual Tulip Time Festival.

The Netherlands grows billions of tulips each year.

The Netherlands grows billions of tulips each year.

© Rodphan

Festival Beginnings

In 1929, the city of Holland planted its first tulips, a crop of 100,000 bulbs. When the flowers bloomed the following spring, both locals and visitors were so drawn to them that the flowers became an immediate tradition. It’s a tradition that is well into its ninth decade now.

Today, more than six million tulips color the small city of Holland during the spring bloom! The blooms fill city parks. They line Holland’s streets. The city absolutely erupts into amazing color each spring.

It is fitting that Holland’s Tulip Time Festival is the largest in the United States, considering the tulip’s centrality in the culture and economy of the Netherlands. The festival earned Holland its well-deserved nickname, The Tulip City.

The Tulip Time Festival

The Tulip Time Festival stretches over eight days in early May. The calendar is filled with events. There are three parades during the festival: the Volksparade, Kinderparade, and Muziekparade. Cultural events such as Dutch dancing performances are scheduled throughout the festival.

Floral arrangement sessions are available where you can learn the basics of floral design from the pros. You can even create your own amazing arrangement to take home with you.

The Art in Bloem Fine Art Showcase and the Tulip Time Quilt Show showcase local artists. Tulip Time Photo Walks are a great opportunity to refine your skills and catch some amazing shots under the guidance of expert photographers. 

Races, such as a 5k, 10k, and a Kids Fun Run, are part of the festivities, as are concerts and loads of Dutch-themed food and drink options.

But there is no doubt that the tulips are the heart and soul of the Tulip Time Festival. The festival’s website includes a guide for finding all the best tulip spots. These sites have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of tulips. But then there is one site, Veldheer Tulip Gardens, that features four million!

Veldheer Tulip Gardens and Windmill Island Gardens

This farm that grows millions of tulips had a rather humble beginning. In 1950, Vern Veldheer created a hobby farm. He started with 100 red tulips and 300 white tulips. From those 400 tulips in 1950, the farm has expanded to over four million tulips today! While you’re visiting Veldheer Tulip Gardens, be sure to check out the Wooden Shoe Factory, as well as the Delft Factory, where Dutch pottery is made.

And no visit to Holland would be complete without a trip to Windmill Island Gardens. It features the only authentic Dutch windmill still operating in the United States. This windmill grinds wheat into flour the same way it was done for centuries in the Netherlands. The Island’s gardens are home to over 140,000 tulips during the Tulip Time Festival. The Island also features a street organ that was a gift from the city of Amsterdam, a hand-painted antique carousel, and buildings that are wonderful replicas of Netherlands architecture.

tulips line paths at Windmill Island Villiage in Holland Michigan. Tulips are in abundance during the annual Tulip Time Festival. The Dutch heritage is on display throughout the gardens.

During the annual Tulip Time Festival, tulips line the paths at Windmill Island Villiage in Holland, Michigan.

©Craig Sterken/

Eight Days of Tulip Magic

The Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan, is a magical eight-day event. Where better to celebrate the arrival of spring than in The Tulip City, home to the United States’ largest tulip festival?

Tulips garden at Veldheer Tulip Gardens in Holland, Michigan during Tulip festival

Veldheer Tulip Gardens in Holland, Michigan, will leave you awestruck with over four million tulips!


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About the Author

Mike is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on geography, agriculture, and marine life. A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University and a resident of Cincinnati, OH, Mike is deeply passionate about the natural world. In his free time, he, his wife, and their two sons love the outdoors, especially camping and exploring US National Parks.

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