Group photo of several UGA students inside a giant decorative clog in front of a picturesque windmill
First day of the Flowers and Photography study abroad trip, near Amsterdam, Holland

A nice shot from Keukenhof gardens, just outside Amsterdam in the Netherlands the day we arrived for our Flowers and Photography study abroad trip. I’m not going to lie, this day was a bit rough from around the noon mark onward, as most of us had departed Georgia in the afternoon only to arrive in the Netherlands early the next morning with very little if any sleep and a whole lot of jet lag. Keukenhof was just what the doctor ordered though; we were surrounded by blooming tulips, hyacinths, anthuriums, picturesque canals and windmills and crisp cool breezes all day. Between the flowers, glades, canals and a performer playing an accordion on a plaza , the entire place felt like a fairy tale.
The Netherlands is a world leader in horticulture, specifically greenhouse and flower production, which was the reason for our going to this country, and this garden showed that exceptionally well. Even though it was toward the end of their tulip season, the fields were still stunning. On the plane ride in, one of the first things we noticed were fields and fields of color where farmers were growing out tulip bulbs for sale all over Europe and beyond. Although Keukenhof is primarily a botanical gardens that welcomes tourists with its plethora of photogenic locations and garden beds, many other farms specialize in growing these plants for their bulbs or other vegetative structures, which they dig up, separate, and sell for planting in gardens, pots, or yards. Other growers harvest the flowers instead, and sell them for bouquets or other uses.
Throughout the rest of our eight days in the Netherlands, we toured the facilities of several such growers. These included Dümmen Orange, which specializes in breeding plants for exceptional flowers or other characteristics and then propagating them so growers can produce enough plants to meet demand (my rose photo was my favorite variety they had in their variety trial greenhouse), as well as Syngenta flowers, a worldwide company whose greenhouse facilities in the Netherlands are among the largest and most advanced in the world.
Overall, the Netherlands were an incredible experience, socially, culturally and academically, and I learned so much in my time there. Stay tuned for follow-up posts on Belgium and France!