With spring upon us, many people are taking advantage of the Easter break to do some gardening. Planting flower bulbs is a popular activity during this time of year, but have you ever

wondered whether the European Union (EU) is an importer or exporter of orchid, hyacinth, narcissi, and tulip bulbs?

According to data from 2022, the EU exported a total of €100.6 million worth of these types of bulbs, while imports were only €30.9 million. This means that the EU is predominantly an exporter of orchid, hyacinth, narcissi, and tulip bulbs.

Out of all EU countries, the Netherlands was responsible for a staggering 81% of all exports of these bulbs, amounting to €82 million. The other top exporters had shares of total exports below 10%: Lithuania (7%; equivalent to €6.7 million), Poland (5%; €4.8 million), Denmark (2%; 2.1 million), and Latvia (2%, 2.0 million).

The data also shows that most of the orchid, hyacinth, narcissi, and tulip bulbs are exported to European territory. Switzerland is the EU’s main partner in this product, importing €31.3 million worth of those items (31% of the total). This European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country was followed by the UK (€21.4 million; 21%), Norway (€11.5 million; 11%), Russia (€9.4 million; 9%), and Ukraine (€5.5 million, 5%).

Aside from these bulbs, the EU also exports €20.9 million worth of other bulbs, tubers, tuberous roots, corms, crowns, and rhizomes, in growth or flower, with the Netherlands leading as the main exporter in this category as well. The Netherlands accounts for €10.5 million or 50% of the total export.

It is clear that the Netherlands is a significant player in the export of flower bulbs from the EU. The country’s mild climate and expertise in horticulture have made it a leader in the production and export of these bulbs. In fact, the Netherlands is often referred to as the “bulb garden of Europe”.

The Dutch have been exporting tulip bulbs since the 16th century, and the industry has only grown since then. Today, the Netherlands exports millions of bulbs every year, with tulips being the most popular. In addition to tulips, the Netherlands is also a major exporter of other flower bulbs such as hyacinths, narcissi, and daffodils.

The export of flower bulbs is not only important for the Dutch economy but for the EU as a whole. The demand for these bulbs is high, and the EU has managed to secure a significant market share. The fact that the EU is an exporter of these bulbs is also indicative of the continent’s agricultural strength and ability to compete in the global market.

In conclusion, while many people may not think of flower bulbs as a major export product for the EU, the data shows that it is a significant contributor to the economy. The Netherlands is the driving force behind this industry, but other EU countries are also involved in the production and export of flower bulbs. As we enjoy the beauty of spring flowers, it is worth remembering that behind their vibrant colors lies a thriving industry that is important to the EU and the world. Photo by Sarah McD from Oregon, USA, Wikimedia commons.