Bosses at one of the world’s biggest flower gardens are set to dig medieval-style trenches in order to stop bungling tourists from trampling the Dutch tulips as they try to take selfies.
The ‘Keukenhof’ (‘Kitchen Garden’) flower park near the town of Lisse in the Netherlands is one of the country’s most famous tourist draws and one of the largest flower gardens in the world, spanning 79 acres with over seven million flower bulbs.
However, the tulip fields and lush lawns in the meticulously landscaped park are becoming increasingly damaged by selfie-mad tourists, according to the park’s directors.
As the season, which runs from mid-March to mid-May, comes to an end to allow the bulbs to flower, park director Bart Siemerink said that there has been a record number of tourists this year.
Siemerink said that 1.5 million visitors, almost twice the numbers of 2013, as well as social media trends, are causing damage to the displays as brazen tourists leave the paths to take photos among the flowers.
In response, the park has already taken some measures such as fixing low fences around key displays and creating special selfie areas.
However, Siemerink said that “low fences don’t work” and believes that “we will have to start working with ditches”.
Water-filled trenches are not the only measure which Siemerink has in mind to ease the burden.
This year, the park even issued a statement during the busy Easter period to encourage visitors to stay away as the access roads were congested with traffic.
Siemerink said: “It is usually very strange as a business to ask your customers to stay away.”
‘Keukenhof’ is not the only place in the Netherlands where local administrators and residents complain about the effects of mass tourism.
Locals living near the famous windmills of Zaanse Schans complained that tourists often wander into their gardens and try to enter their homes believing they are part of the complex and freely accessible.
In Amsterdam, the authorities are actively trying to reduce tourist numbers by curbing Airbnb rentals and placing more emphasis on quality tourism instead of the hordes of sex and drug revellers who take advantage of the city’s famous red light district.