Photo Credit: Werner Pellis

The village of Zundert’s most famous native would have been awestruck at the sights, smells, and sounds of these 500,000 dahlia tributes.

Every year, the Corso Zundert parade brings out the competitive streak in locals who spend an entire year planning massive floats covered in dahlia flowers.

This year, to honor Vincent Van Gogh on his 162nd birthday, the colossal creations were themed around the artist’s paintings and self-portraits.Elsewhere Events-circus

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Dutch citizens take the parade very seriously, and usually start conceiving ideas for the float days after the competition ends – that’s 363 days of planning for the next celebration.

Between the months of May and August, teams of competing workers toil over the float’s frame, culminating in a feverish scramble the night before the parade when fresh flowers are finally nailed into place.

“By the First Sunday of September the fever burns within us,” the Corso Zundert website reads. “Will the moving floats be finished in time? Are there enough dahlias? And who is going to win this time?”

Photo Credit (and top) by Werner Pellis

The first Zundert flower parade took place in 1936 in honor of Queen Wilhelimina’s birthday, but the ‘parade’ only consisted of a modest bicycle and farmer’s cart. Since the village is known for having over 50 different species of dahlias, the idea of a larger flower parade eventually blossomed.

In order to keep a cap on the competitive craziness, the judges have limited the float size to 62 feet long, 15 meters wide, and 30 feet tall.

Because of its historical significance in the Netherlands, winning the trophy for best float is considered to be one of the greatest honors a Dutch citizen can receive in their lifetime.

Photo Credit: Erwin Martens
Photo Credit: Werner Pellis

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