Corso Zundert 2016 is a Dutch flower parade that features floats made from millions of dahlias.

An Annual Dutch Flower Parade Uses Millions of Dahlias to Create These Dazzling Floats

An Annual Dutch Flower Parade Uses Millions of Dahlias to Create These Dazzling Floats

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Sept. 9 2016 9:09 AM

An Annual Dutch Flower Parade Uses Millions of Dahlias to Create These Dazzling Floats

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The winning dragon.

Werner Pellis

On the first Sunday of September every year since 1936, Zundert—a small town in the Netherlands that is the birthplace of Vincent van Gogh—puts on the world’s largest volunteer-run flower parade, with a raft of over-the-top floats made from local dahlias. (Last year’s parade featured a special theme edition with floats inspired by Van Gogh to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the artist’s death.)

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

On Sunday, Corso Zundert 2016 did not disappoint, with bonkers-looking entries from competing local districts electrifying the streets of the town in the form of outsize flower-based foxes, red-haired ladies, dragons, and other creatures and abstractions, with each 66-foot-long, 33-foot-high float made from some half a million dahlias.

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Malou Evers

The organizers point out that the all-volunteer event is also a competition, with a winning entry picked by an “independent and professional jury, consisting of people with a background in art and theater.” The winner is announced during the second passage through the center of the town, before a crowd of 75,000 onlookers seated in bleachers along the side of the road, they said, “leading to emotional scenes”—so emotional in fact that the town has created a special phrase to describe this phenomenon, which it dubs the “Zundert jubilation.” “The districts go to great length to build the most beautiful float,” they said, “and for people in Zundert, winning the parade is among the best experiences in life.”

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

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Erwin Martens

Watch Dutch TV coverage of the parade below:

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.