World’s Biggest Parade With Millions Of Dahlia Flowers


September 10, 2017

By Yoav Shai

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On September 3, Zundert, a small town in the southern part of the Netherlands, again hosted the biggest flower parade of the world. Inhabitants of twenty hamlets spend months to create the most magnificent float in a fierce competition.

The parade is a beautiful example of community art. All work is done by volunteers and everyone is involved. The whole town goes crazy about the parade, which is a tradition that started out in 1936 and grew a bit out of hand. The current parade used in total some 8 million dahlia flowers, which were all put on the floats by hand.

This year’s winner was ‘On a pedestal’ by the hamlet Schijf, that won the parade for the very first time in their existence. The float featured about 260 actors, all dressed up and masked.

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‘On a pedestal’, by the hamlet Schijf, winner of the parade

Photo Malou Evers

A people carrying their king with their bare hands. It might suggest a tribute, but in fact, it is indigenous suffering.

Some 260 actors from the hamlet were all dressed and masked and ‘carried’ the float through the streets. Schijf only takes part in the parade for about ten years and won for the first time.

‘Under attack’ of the hamlet Helpt Elkander, 2nd prize

Photo Malou Evers

‘Under attack’ is about refugees from now and from the past. Everywhere and at all times, people are on the run for war and for natural disasters. Their suffering inspired float designer Louise Joosen. About 120 actors from the hamlet accompanied the float.

‘Threatened’, a huge bald eagle with many moving parts

Photo Erwin Martens

The proud American bald eagle, the icon of Western prosperity and symbol of endless possibilities. But the eagle has now fallen prey to growing industrialism and the maturing consumer society. Its hunting area has been turned into a large, toxic dump covered with wrecked cars, fast food packaging, and waste. It desperately tries to maintain itself … but for how long?

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Chased away!

Photo Malou Evers.

A cloud of smoke from a forest fire transforms into a gorilla.

As the world turns

Photo Malou Evers

This float is a technical masterpiece, consisting of what are probably the biggest wheels ever built. The wheels are nine meters high.

‘Weave’ on its way to the parade

Photo Paul Ranft

The hamlet Stuivezand transports their float ‘Weave’ to the parade on early Sunday morning.

‘Under the skin’, a volcano in flowers

Photo Malou Evers.

A volcano built from dahlias that are colored black and gray using mortar. The lava is shown by 450 led panels that are built into the float, together with smoke machines and audio equipment.

Screen print

Photo Malou Evers

Two people from the hamlet Kapelleke are printed from four colors on nine-meter high moving panels.

Compilation of the floats’ passage

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