The Amsterdam Tulip Festival traditionally is the start of spring in Holland. Millions of spring flowers, like tulips, show their brilliant colors to visitors from all over the world. During the festival, there are many flower events in Holland. Flower gardens like Keukenhof, the Dutch Flower Parade and various tours for sightseeing the amazing tulip fields. Many of the activities are close to Amsterdam and ideal to combine with a visit to one of the most beautiful cities in The Netherlands and Europe. Despite their synonymity with the Netherlands and Dutch horticulture, tulips actually originated in the Middle East and only started appearing in western Europe after the end of the Medieval period. Historical sources suggest that famed Dutch gardener Carolus Clusius was the first European to fully recognize their potential. He began planting specialized tulip nurseries around the time he became the director of the University of Leiden’s botanical gardens, in 1593.