Spring has finally arrived! Though, actually, we’ve been enjoying an early spring here in the Netherlands. That’s also why the cherry blossoms are already in full bloom.
These 400 sakura trees stand in the Kersenbloesempark at the Amsterdamse Bos, ever since they were gifted by the Japan’s Women’s Club (JWC) in 2000. The Kersenbloesempark was initially planted in celebration of 400 years of cultural ties between Japan and the Netherlands.
Amstelveen is home to a community of about 1700 Japanese expats and every year a hanami matsuri (“flower viewing festival”) is held at the park, when it is customary to have picknicks under the beatifully blooming trees.
The memorial stone in the last photo was was laid in 2012, exactly a year after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Yearly ceremonies have been held ever since; the wilted tulips are remnants of last month’s commemoration.