Corso Zundert: the gigantic annual flower event in the Netherlands you’ve probably not heard of

A parade float in the shape of a giant chubby yellow monster against a blue sky facing the right side with arms and three fingers per hand outstretched.

Last Updated on: 8th April 2024, 07:29 pm

And no, it’s not Keukenhof.

This annual, flower themed event in the Netherlands draws big crowds and is a big deal for the locals who spend months preparing for it. It’s a massive event, literally.

 

 

Learn about the amazing flower parade that has been running since 1936 in the Netherlands.

What is Corso Zundert?

To borrow from their own words, Corso Zundert is the biggest flower parade in the world and rests solely on the shoulders of its passionate volunteers, literally.


Corso Zundert is a 2-day annual event of parades of massive floats, hand built and hand decorated with colourful dahlia flowers nailed to the float and manually pushed along the road by dedicated participants. It has been UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage listed since 2021.

Some floats even have mechanical and electrical moving parts, music, and sound effects blasting from speakers, and performers. Each year there are many floats, each with its own theme and many at least 2 stories high. The event is the largest of its kind in the world and has been running since 1936.

A parade float in the shape of maroon and orange dinosaur with an open w featuring many sharp white teeth against a white sky.
A dinosaur parade float during the parade. Photo copyright and credit: Author
Viewed from the front: Many rows of dancers in pink dresses, white tops lead other dancers in yellow dresses. Behind them is a large elephant parade float walking along the neighbourhood street. trees and buildings in the background.
Dancers leading the parade at Corso Zundert 2022. Photo credit and copyright: Author
A front view of a giant smoking jack-o-lantern parade float in the middle of the street with trees and crowds on either side against a white sky.
A smoking pumpkin parade float at the parade. Photo copyright and credit: Author
A marching band dressed in blue uniforms and black pants with drums and trumpets walk by audiences in bleacher seats.
Performers at the parade. Photo copyright and credit: Author

 

Every float has a theme, and not only are the floats a spectacle for the audiences but the even is also a competition, with an overall winner chosen by a panel of judges. The 2-day event consists of a parade on the first Sunday of September when the floats are paraded along the closed track twice, before taken to a nearby outdoor exhibition area, where visitors can go view it up close that evening or the next day on Monday. The floats are lit up with electric lights at night.

Where is Corso Zundert?

Corso Zundert is held in the town of Zundert, the birthplace of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh in the Netherlands. A series of roads forming a circular track are closed for the event, the floats are paraded on the road along this track and stadium seats are set up along the sides of the road at some locations.

Crowds in an outdoors covered bleacher seating area with parade floats passing them,
Seats at the parade. Photo copyright and credit: Author

When is Corso Zundert held?

The event is held over 2 days starting on the first Sunday of September and the following Monday. Giant floats decorated with flowers get paraded up and down the street in Zundert, Netherlands.

 

The parade travels along a closed B shaped track, stating around 1:30pm and ending around 4:30pm. Around 6pm the floats go to an open air outdoor display area nearby to be displayed for the exhibition, for which a separate ticket would be required.

A giant purple and white robot shaped parade float in a large open parking lot on display with many people walking around.
A surveillance robot parade float with electronic screens and cameras on display at the exhibition. Photo copyright and credit: Author

How are the floats made?

The floats are built in tents by individual hamlets around Zundert. Building of the floats starts around June and everyone is free to help. Work on the floats is usually in the evening after 7pm, but during the day on Saturdays, and also Sundays in August. The floats are then decorated with flowers from each hamlet, which maintains their own flower fields. Depending on the design, the flowers are usually nailed, or otherwise attached to the floats. There are also open tent days where the general public can go see the workers building the floats.

Close up of slices of purple cabbage shaped parade floats.
Close up of flowers on purple cabbage parade float. Photo copyright and credit: Author
A close up showing white dahlia flowers with long green stems attached to a frame on the parade float used to decorate the float.
Close up of flowers attached to a wire frame for one of the parade floats. Photo copyright and credit: Author

How to get to Zundert

The town of Zundert is near the Belgium/Netherlands border between the towns of Breda in the western part of North Brabant in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium, but is closer to Breda. The parade itself is a track of several streets in the town, starting on the south western end of Molenstraat street at the intersection of Lijsterstraat and Molenstraat on Molenstraat street (“straat “meaning “street”).


Nearest major gateways to Zundert:

If travelling from out of town, first, you need to get to Breda train station.


To get to Breda, the nearest major gateways are:

Amsterdam Centraal train station (134km away), Schiphol Airport (129km away) or Rotterdam Centraal (55km away)From Amsterdam Centraal, the train to Breda takes just over an hour; from Schiphol Airport, the train to Breda takes about 55 minutes to an hour, and from Rotterdam Centraal, the train to Breda takes about 26 minutes.

 

From Amsterdam Centraal:

Take an intercity direct train (the 900 series eg 940, 942…) or 1000 series eg towards Breda, which is the third stop (Schiphol Airport is the first stop, Rotterdam is the second).

 

From Schiphol airport

Take an intercity direct train towards Breda or towards EindhovenThere are several numbers including 942, 944 to Breda, and the 1042, 1044, 1046 to Eindhoven. Check the train service website for full services. Both Intercity direct trains takes just under an hour, around 52-57 minutes with Breda being the second stop, Rotterdam being the first.

Note: at Rotterdam, the intercity direct train changes numbers, eg the 1042 from Schiphol airport becomes the 1153 intercity direct train towards Eindhoven Centraal. In other words, stay on the train until you get to Breda!

 

From Rotterdam Centraal: Take an intercity direct train (the 900 series or 1000 series) non-stop to Breda, about 23 minutes.

 

From Den Haag: Take a train to Rotterdam Centraal (7 stops, about 27 minutes) and proceed as above.


To get to the Corso Zundert venue:

For details on location, see the map here: https://corsozundert.nl/en/praktisch/accessibility/


By car: There are parking sites near the venue, parking costs 5€ and spaces are limited. This event is a large one for such a small town, so you should leave early to get a spot. Check the map on their website, below, to see the location of the car parks


By bicycle: Bicycle is a highly common mode of transport in the Netherlands and Zundert is no different. There are secure bicycle parking stations near the venue. Check their map for details.


By public transport:

From Breda train station (or anywhere along the route), take bus 115. There are extra buses for this event and a temporary stop near the entrance to the event. The bus takes about half an hour from the train station to the flower parade venue.


Note: be prepared to for the possibility to walk about or at least 1km from the nearest bus stop or car/bicycle parking station to the venue depending on where your seats are, as the roads within this area is closed to allow the parade floats to pass and there is only one major entry. Start of September is still very warm, 27°C is not unusual – so decide carefully what you may want to pack and wear, especially for parents with children so you don’t have to make the trip back and forth between your car and your seat.

Where to stay

You can stay either in Breda or within Zundert for the event, as long as you have a way to get to the venue for the parade on time, or the exhibition on Monday, if you do not want to watch the parade, which would be quite a shame.

Amazing! Where do I get tickets?

Tickets to Corso Zundert can be purchased on the official website when ticket sales open. Subscribe to get notified of when tickets are on sale! 

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