Free time: Books and bulbs

Updated: Oct 20, 2018

The weeks are generally structured so that there is class in the morning and a site visit in the afternoon. Our evenings and weekends are our own and an occasional Friday is left free as well.


I went in search of the Friday Spui book market and arrived as some of the stalls were getting set up. Each vendor had a sort of niche such as rare books, children's literature, specific languages, art prints, and more. Some of the books had interesting ephemera included such as a cover letter included with a Māori customs book sent to "Mr. van Delf" by the New Zealand Department of Education.

I next investigated the Bloemenmarkt, the "floating" flower market on the Singel canal. The greenhouses are on barges, but permanent in a way that it's difficult to tell that they are on the water.

Backside of the Bloemenmarkt on the Singel canal

Walking through the stalls is heavenly! There are infinite colors and pleasing scents to experience, and locals intermingle with tourists to find the best cut flowers and perfects bulbs and tubers to take home.

Something I discovered was that agriculture (the border control categorization under which tulip bulbs falls) brought into the United States and Canada must bear an inspection seal. Since certificates are valid for only 6 weeks from date of issue, my flowers must be examined 4 August or later to satisfy my 15 September return date. The newest stamp I found was for mid-July. Even so, the selection is very limited and the bulbs pricey. As much as I'd like to take a Dutch bulb home to plant as a souvenir, I think I'm better off sticking to bulbs I buy in the USA.

Agricultural inspection certificate

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