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Dutch farmers to tourists: Tiptoe past tulips, don’t trample

Associated Press
A farmer checks for bad weeds in a flower bulb field in Noorwijkerhout, near Lisse, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

The Hague, Netherlands – Dutch farmers have a message for tourists: Please don’t trample upon our tulips.

Bulb fields close to the Netherlands’ North Sea coast are a major tourist drawcard each spring as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other flowers bloom and transform the region into a patchwork of vibrant colors that provide the backdrop for many a holiday snap or Instagram post.

The visitors, however, increasingly are walking into fields, damaging flowers and the bulbs so new signs are urging tourists to enjoy the view but to stay out of the fields.

While visiting tourists pour money into the region, the damage they do to plants also comes at a cost. If a tulip plant is trampled, the bulb it springs from will not grow sufficiently to be sold.

Simon Pennings gestures as he explains one of the new banners, with the text in English and Chinese reading "Enjoy the flowers, respect our pride" , at the entrance to one of his flower bulb fields in Noorwijkerhout, near Lisse, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

A similar campaign last year was seen as a little too unfriendly so new signs have been made and farmer Simon Pennings said he plans to place “ambassadors” in fields to explain to tourists why they should stay out.

One of the new banners, with the text “Enjoy the flowers, respect our pride,” was placed next to a field Wednesday, but didn’t deter a visitor from walking into the field to snap a photo.

Pennings has seen it all before.

“Bicycles, people, dogs, children, we see it all” in the fields, he said.

“Last year, I had one field with 300 tourists in it,” said Pennings. “Managing the tourists was almost a full-time job.”