St. Peter's decked out with Dutch flowers St. Peter's decked out with Dutch flowers  (Vatican Media)

Dutch floral decorations fill St. Peter’s Square for Easter Sunday

Stunning floral decorations donated by Dutch floriculturists formed the backdrop for Pope Francis’ Mass in St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday, continuing a tradition which began in 1985 with the beatification of the Dutch Carmelite Saint Titus Brandsma.

By Stefan J. Bos – Noordwijk, Netherlands

"We thank God for these beautiful plants and flowers. And we pray for God's blessings over the transport and the drivers for a safe journey."

The words of Bishop Hans van den Hende of the Dutch port city of Rotterdam echoed through the Keukenhof, or Kitchen Garden, one of the world's most extensive flower gardens.

He used blessed water to sprinkle vehicles containing tens of thousands of flowers last week before they were transported to the Vatican for the Easter Sunday celebrations.

The Bishop said: "It's fantastic that these flowers are again in Rome. Because Easter is the most important feast we have as Christians, as it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His victory over death. It is beautiful that these colorful flowers from the Netherlands underscore Easter as the most crucial celebration."

As Easter arrived early this year, Dutch flower arrangers chose the Avalanche rose as the central flower, seen in spectacular white and four other colors.

Among other plants and flowers are also thousands of Dutch tulips used in decorations and tens of thousands of flower bulbs, connecting St. Peter's Square to the altar, resembling the image of the famous flower fields in the Netherlands.

White and yellow colors

As usual, yellow and white prevail to show the Vatican City State’s representative colors, say flower arrangers.

It brings a smile to the face of Alex van der Slot. For years his firm has been involved in the annual transport of flowers to the Vatican from the Dutch bulb-growing region in South Holland.

He explained that "it began with an initiative by friends from the Catholic parts of the Bollenstreek (Bulb-Growing Region), including the towns of Noordwijkerhout and nearby Leiden."

Van der Slot recalled that they soon expanded their idea. "And now it's an honor to be allowed to bring the flowers every year to the Pope."

It is the 38th time they have brought them to the Vatican, with Dutch people eagerly awaiting the Pope's famed words: "Bedankt voor de bloemen" or "Thank you for the flowers."

Listen to our report

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

09 April 2023, 11:19