Only dahlias must be used to decorate the massive floats that in early September invade the small town of Zundert. 20 flower sculptures from 20 districts compete to build the most spectacular, crazy or ingenious one.
Everything started in 1936, and after the break of the war, the parade was continued in 1945. Since then, the Corso Zundert festival has been growing every year bigger, staging more complex and beautiful creations.
The design of the floats have a strong artistic component. The process to build one of them takes all the year, and involves the volunteer work of Zundert residents. Flowers have to be fresh, so they can't be added to the float until 2-3 days before the parade, when hundreds of neighbours are required to complete the job.
The photos below are sorted from oldest to the latest edition. This is a selection of the winning floats or the ones that have drawn our attention, on a journey through time from 2002 to 2015:
2002 winner: Mothers' offspring. The dahlia fields in Zundert have an area of 33 hectares with a total of approximately 600,000 plants.
2004 winner: Camouflage. According to the Flowers Commission of Zundert, 8 million of dahlia of 50 different colours are needed, harvested by volunteers from the 20 teams.
2005 winner: Tangle. A surrealistic knot of giraffes.
2006 winner: Army. The power of thousands of purple dahlias.
2007 winner: Manually Controlled Elephant. A mechanical machine that seems out of the Machines of the Isle park in France.
2008 winner: Booming City. The night version of this float displayed 20,000 LEDs of light, showing the busy traffic of this original city.
2009 winner: Rhino. An excellent design brilliantly executed, using only two colours.
2009: Closing act. The legendary artist escapologist Lucas Gazpar will exhibit its world famous trick. Maybe for the last time...
2010 winner: Balloons that seem to be floating after its seller.
2010: Molecular. A metal grid playing with the viewer. The fish appeared and disappeared depending how you looked at it.
2011: Canned food. A giant squid in movement getting out of a can full of details and jokes, like the expiry date: All the floats are destroyed when the festival finishes.
2012: Protest! A very original idea, creating a permanent effect of movement, using minimal resources and few colours.
2013 winner: Crazy gold. Incas, El Dorado and a superb use of the perspective.
2013: A colossal Venus de Milo levitating over the crowd, thanks to this brilliant photography.
2014: Censorship. In the the Netherlands, it is perfectly possible to find a huge copulating couple in a family-friendly festival.
2014: Haute Cuisine. Four king size perfectly detailed waiters, serving the audience.
2015 winner: This year the parade was honouring the most illustrious son of Zundert, Vincent van Gogh.
All the photos by courtesy of the official website of the event, Corso Zundert