NETHERLANDS: Snapping selfies on vacation is a big part of any trip for most people these days, with pictures of half-obscured backgrounds and big toothy grins fired off to friends and followers within seconds of grabbing the shot.
While an eagerness to get the best selfie occasionally results in injury, or even death during that awkward moment when trying to connect thumb with shutter button, most smartphone shots of course pass off entirely without incident.
In the Netherlands, however, there’s selfie strife of a different kind, with growers of the nation’s famous tulip flower accusing millennials of trampling through the colorful fields in a bid to get a decent photo with their own mug in it.
Local tulip grower Simon Pennings, who tends to numerous tulip fields near Amsterdam, told media that the problem has worsened in recent years and mainly involves younger folks taking selfies.
“Last year I had one field and there were 200 people in the field,” Pennings told the news outlet. “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.”
The grower said thousands of people make their way onto his property every day, with many causing costly damage to the flowers while trying to grab a selfie.
Damage to the tulips has become such a problem that Dutch tourism officials and local growers have decided to launch a social media campaign explaining to travelers that’s it’s really not a good idea to go galavanting through the fields in search of the best photo opportunity. They’re happy for visitors to marvel at the fields from the roadside, but entering them for the purpose of a killer Instagram shot is causing more harm than good — for the growers, at least.
According to Dutch News, growers are planning to put up banners and signs asking travelers to keep out of the fields. Physical barriers may also be put up, while some of the more popular spots could also introduce volunteers tasked with keeping an eye out for transgressors.
Janine Fluyt of Amsterdam & partners, a non-profit that helps to promote local tourism, said that these days, “It’s all about the picture and not the place you are in — that’s our selfie society,” adding, “In a broader sense, you are welcome here if you come and respect the city, everything and everyone in it.”