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Parade in the Netherlands Celebrates Vincent van Gogh With Giant Flower Floats

Margaret Tionquiao

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  • Zundert, Netherlands has been holding a unique tradition for eight decades, a parade of flower-filled bicycles featuring their popular dahlias
  • The tradition started years ago in 1936 as a tribute to Queen Wilhelmina on her birthday
  • This year, however, the locals staged the same parade with a unique twist – they highlighted the works of their very own Vincent van Gogh

The parade of giant floats once again traverses the streets of Zundert in the Netherlands. As it has always been for eighty years, the floats are still covered in thousands of dahlia flowers. This year, however, there is a unique twist: the designs were inspired by the works of Vincent van Gogh, a renowned artist who hailed from Zundert 162 years ago.

According to a Zundertenaren, their “grannies and grandads” had started it in 1936, but even now they “still can’t have enough. “The fever burns within us,” he added.

The Zundertenarens have cherished their parade from the very beginning, and had passed it on from generation to generation. Because of its nature, the parade attracted a great deal of public interest, particularly in the 1950s. This year, it’s even garnering more attention because of their chosen theme.

Corso-Zundert-parade

This parade of Zundert is the largest of its kind in the world. Even more amazingly, it is purely voluntary work.

Started in 1936, it has been held annually, pitting all twenty neighborhoods against each other as a professional jury decides on who built the most beautiful float.

Corso-girl

The first of this parade was a modest contest, with Miep de Bie (the Corso girl) by Henk Groenhuis named as the first-ever winner. This year’s event, on the other hand, is extremely extravagant as it features bicycles covered in flowers or horse-drawn carts, among others.

Corso builders gathered and spent the summer months in the Corso tent, welding coarse to fine temper prickle and paper-mâché for the model cars. The residents created towering sculptural floats with the colors, motifs, and imagery of Van Gogh’s signature style and several self-portraits.

Much like the builders, the designers are also volunteers. It would definitely appear that they are playing a lead role, as they invent the idea and make a scale model that serves as the guide during the actual car construction.

The parade cars are really huge, weighing about 20 tons and measuring 9 meters high and 19 meters long, just as it has always been since 1989.

There is great solidarity among the neighborhoods in the Netherlands throughout the year, but on Corso Sunday, they compete as the jury makes the final verdict.

Since 1936, the region’s reputation as a global supplier of dahlia flowers is already celebrated in this parade. Now eighty decades later, the parade continues, but the original venue has become an area for dahlia bulbs: a 33-hectare land where 600,000 dahlia bulbs in fifty different species reside.

If you want to see more, watch the video here:

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