After thousands of euros' worth of damage, the tourism board is begging young people to be more respectful.
First it was the Californian poppies, now it's the Dutch tulips. The quest for the perfect selfie with a floral background has turned into a damaging stampede that has angered tulip farmers in the Netherlands.
Simon Pennings is one grower who owns more than forty fields outside Amsterdam. He described the selfie-takers' antics to CNN:
"They cross all over the fields and they damage the [tulips]. Last year I had one field and there were 200 people in the field. We have to keep them clear... We have fields nearby the road and all the time, from 10 o'clock in the morning to nine in the evening, they take pictures."
People are failing to respect the field's boundaries and stepping right into the tulip beds, which results in crushed flowers and damaged bulbs. Pennings estimates that thousands of people walk into his fields each day and "once caused 10,000 euros' worth of damage to his plants." He told CNN, "For me, that was the point where I said, 'This has to be changed.'"
The Dutch tourism board is now urging visitors to be more considerate. It has released online suggestions, including urging people to imagine how it would feel to have someone march into their own backyard without permission.
Whereas tulip tourists used to be older people in their 50s or more, the trend has shifted to millennials and Gen Z'ers in the past two years. Instagram is blamed for fuelling this rise, which suggests that young people are heading to the tulip fields in hordes not so much for the tulips as for the proof that they were there.
It is hard to deny the photographic allure of a brilliant field of tulips (although Pennings says the selfie-takers prefer pink hues), but it's a worrisome trend when natural sights are being harmed in the process. It shows a selfish disregard for the very things that are most attractive, not to mention an unfortunate focus on getting that perfect Insta shot, rather than simply enjoying the scenery.
If you're inclined to selfie-taking, take note of this. Be aware of how you do it and call out Instagrammers who don't appear to be respecting reasonable boundaries. Whether you're on private land or public, it's crucial always to leave no trace.