History of Anna Paulowna

How do we attract tourists?

During the fifties, there was little to do in the polder. During Spring and Summer, the nearby dunes and beaches attracted strings of tourists. So close and yet so far, for they rarely strayed into the polder. How do we get those people to leave the beaches behind and visit us? That is the question that plagued the Henk Jonker, Dick op ‘t Veld, Jan Kortehaas and Koos Onderwater, the then members of the VVV-board. Their solution? Organizing the Flower Days!


How did it all start?

In the past, some inhabitants of Breezand would sometimes place homemade flower pieces in their gardens or they would make shapes with the tulip heads during Spring. These were the humble beginnings of the Flower Days.

The Flower Days officially started in 1953, with nine participants that each created a mosaic that laid out on the ground. During the following edition, to gain more visitors, six flower girls took a beautiful black car to the Schager Market. There they handed out not only flowers but also flyers with information about the Flower Days. Modest in today’s view of publicity, but during the 50s the publicity stunt was talk of the town.

Taking the mosaics off the ground

During the first editions, there were no prices handed out yet. What we did get, however, was a lot of media attention, especially in Bert Garthof’s radio show 'Weer of geen weer.'

The following year, the number of participants rose to forty, more and more people wanting to try their hand at creating mosaics.  With more participants, there was also more variation in the mosaics. The mosaics, initially laid out on the ground, more and more often started to be displayed standing up. People often started work on these mosaics during winter, creating the shape of chicken wire and straw and filled in with hyacinths during spring.


The Flower Day commission takes charge.

After 15 years the VVV handed over control of the organisation of the Flower Days to the Flower Day commission. At that point, the number of contestants had well passed 100, including a lot of participants that do not have the luxury of a bulb field full of hyacinths in their back gardens. The Flower Days is mainly characterized by a sense of belonging, which is the custom among the participants.


Storing hyacinths

Hyacinths have been distributed from one central point for about 25 years. This practice started when one year the hyacinths flowered much earlier than usual. To make sure the Flower Days could continue, a kind-hearted farmer made one of his cold stores available for storage so the Flower Days could go ahead as planned. Poor weather has as times plagued the Flower Days, but it is a rare occasion when the event doesn’t go ahead as planned.


100 years of flower bulbs

2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the first flower bulb farmer settling in Anna Paulowna. A good reason to map out the flower bulb cultivation in the polder. On the website ‘100 years of flower bulb farming in Anna Paulowna’, you can find information and pictures on the farming of flowers in the Anna Paulowna polder in past, present and future.


The history of Anna Paulowna


Anna Paulowna was the name of the consort of King Willem II. She gave her name to the polder. What covers about 193 square miles. The plot between the mainland and the former island Wieringen was enclosed by dykes and laid dry between 1845 and 1846, during king Willem IIs reign. Therefore the Anna Paulowna polder is still relatively young.

The county Anna Paulowna was established on August 1, 1870. Before this, it was part of county Zijpe. Since January 1, 2012, Anna Paulowna was merged with Wieringen, Wieringermeer and Niedorp to make up the county Hollands Kroon.


The Oude Veer

A former, current channel, the Oude Veer, sanded out by centuries of ebb and flow, divides the county into on Eastpolder and a Westpolder. Other stream channels are Kromme Tocht, Lage Oude Veer, Lotmeer and Amstermeer. Sea fish can still be found in the Amstelmeer such as flounder, shrimp and mussels.


Ferry service and tram

In the past, there was a ferry service in Wieringen, when this was still was an island. There also was a tram that drove from Van Ewijcksluis to Schagen. The tall building of the Seed and seed potato growers Association Anna Paulowna in Van Ewijcksluis reminds us of this.


The dyke broke

In 1916 the Eastpolder and some parts of the Westpolder were flooded after a storm surge. The dyke had broken through at the landfill site. This storm surge, which flooded several parts of the Zuiderzee coast, prompted the construction of the Afsluitdijk.


Hollands Kroon

As of January 1, 2012, the counties of Anna Paulowna, Niedorp, Wieringen and Wieringermeer formed the county of Hollands Kroon. The new county has 22 village centres, 47,000 inhabitants and an area of 620 km2. This makes Hollands Kroon the fourth-largest county in the Netherlands in terms of area. The former county of Anna Paulowna is 7,881 ha and has over 14,000 inhabitants.