Area used to grow bulbs up by more than a fifth since 2013

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robbert Frank Hagens | Art in Media
In 2023, the area of agricultural land used for bulb cultivation increased by 21 percent to over 28 thousand hectares relative to 10 years previously. The number of farms active in cultivating bulbs alongside other agricultural activities has increased, but fewer farms do this as their main activity. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of definitive figures taken from the 2023 Agricultural Census.
More than half of the agricultural land used for flower bulb cultivation is dedicated to growing tulips. In 2023, this area increased by 32 percent to over 15 thousand hectares relative to 10 years previously.

The area used to grow lilies also increased by nearly 28 percent. The increase in the area used to grow tulips and lilies seems to have dominated other popular bulb varieties such as narcissi (-11 percent) and gladioli (-33 percent).

Area used for flower bulb cultivation
PeriodenTulips (1,000 ha)Lilies (1,000 ha)Narcissi (1,000 ha)Hyacinths (1,000 ha)Gladioli (1,000 ha)Dahlias (1,000 ha)Other bulbs and tubers (1,000 ha)

Slightly more farms are engaged in bulb cultivation

The total number of farms active in flower bulb cultivation has increased by 7 percent to 1,639 in the previous ten years, representing a 108-percent increase on 2013. This includes farms that grow flower bulbs as a secondary activity alongside other agricultural activities, as well as farms that grow flower bulbs as their main activity. Until 2013, the number of cultivaters was still declining steadily.

The majority (55 percent) of flower bulb farms are active in growing tulips. Along with lilies (25 percent) and narcissi (12 percent), these are the types of bulbs that most growers cultivate.

The number of growers decreased for almost all bulb crops with the exception of tulips and lilies, while the latter has increased by 30 percent since 2013.

Largest part of arable land at farms mainly active in growing flower bulbs 

Just over a third of all farms growing flower bulbs do this as their main activity. In 2023, there were 577 farms; 12 percent fewer than ten years previously. These farms account for 61 percent of the total flower bulb cultivation area.

Nearly a quarter of all bulb-growing farms are crop combination farms that grow various crops. The number of these farms that also grow bulbs has more than doubled relative to 2013. Collectively, they accounted for 12 percent of the total bulb cultivation area.

In 2023, 14 percent of bulb-growing farms were classified as other horticulture farms. The number of other horticultural farms growing bulbs as a secondary activity fell by nearly 21 percent relative to 10 years previously. These farms accounted for 12 percent of the total bulb cultivation area in use.

Area used for flower bulb cultivation, type of farms
BedrijfstypeFlower bulb farms (1,000 ha)Other horticultural farms (1,000 ha)Crop combination farms (1,000 ha)Cut flower farms (1,000 ha)Mixed crop-livestock farms (1,000 ha)Other farm types (1,000 ha)Arable farms (1,000 ha)

Exports of flower bulbs rises to more than one billion euros

In 2022, over one billion euros of flower bulbs were exported, nearly 30 percent more than in 2021. The total volume of flower bulbs exported that year was nearly 7 billion.

Tulip exports in particular increased compared with five years earlier, while export value increased by 44 percent to 320 million euros. Simultaneously, the volume of tulip bulbs crossing the border increased by 16 percent.

The export value of narcissi also rose (by 32 percent). However, the export volume of this bulb variety fell. Both the export value and export quantity of gladioli were down in 2022 compared with 2017.

Export value main flower bulb varieties
PeriodenTulips (mln euros)Narcissi (mln euros)Gladioli (mln euros)Hyacinths (mln euros)
**more provisional figures