The Tulip: Serious Business


While tulips from all over the city are awakening from their deep Winter slumber, Ottawa gets ready for its 59th year of the Tulip Festival, but when walking around Ottawa and seeing the burst of colours of the beautiful tulips, it is hard to imagine that the Tulip Festival was born out of Europe’s darkest moment in history: World War II. Despite the tragic event, the Canadian Tulip Festival is a festival based on Peace and Friendship and is now the largest Tulip Festival in the world, attracting each year hundreds of thousands of people from all over Canada, as well as Europe and Asia.


The Princess and the Tulip
When the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Princess Juliana and her two young daughters, secretly boarded a Dutch vessel bound for Halifax. TheQueen Wilhelmina decided to send her daughter and heir, Princess Juliana, to Canada as England was not safe. Once out of harm’s way in the Ottawa region,Princess Juliana would be able to carry on a government-in-exile if the Queen were captured or died. The Dutch royal family lived like all others during the war, the princesses attended a local public school and Princess Juliana volunteered for the war effort while her husband, Prince Bernhard, was at war.

In 1943, Prince Bernhard and Princess Juliana gave birth to their third royal child;Princess Margriet Francisca. She was a

symbol of hope and inspiration for the Dutch who were fighting for their survival in Europe. As Princess Margriet Francisca was the only royal baby ever born in North America, her birth marked an important bond between the Netherlands and Canada. To ensure Princess Margriet’s Dutch citizenship, the Canadian Government temporarily ceded a room at the Ottawa Civic Hospital to the Netherlands.

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