Fall foliage in Amsterdam

What’s your favourite season?  Some people say that you tend to favour the season you’re born in and this actually holds true for me.  Born in November, I’m a real sucker for fall.  I love walking to work on crisp fall mornings—preferably with a hot beverage in hand.  I love fall fashion especially the layering of rich textures of tweed & wool with pretty plaids & beautiful brocades.  But most of all, I love LOVE the gorgeous colours that explode everywhere you look—especially in the foliage.

Fall foliage - yellow leaves

Fall foliage in Europe is predominantly yellow without the fiery reds and oranges in North America

Autumn in Amsterdam is very beautiful but the grey clouds and constant rain definitely make me miss Toronto’s fall season.  Apart from the blue skies, I especially miss the fiery red and rich orange colours in the trees.  Early this season, I started researching for fall foliage drives in Europe and was so surprised to not find any.  I learned that the red hues are actually only seen in North America and East Asia (e.g. Japan, Korea) whilst Europe perplexingly only features mostly yellow.  Scientists trace this back to climactic fluctuations and insect migrations from 35 million years ago.  Basically, all the studies (a few links at the end of the post) simply validate my Google search for “fall foliage routes in Europe.”  Results?  Nil.

So last weekend, when I spotted these deep red leaves in the Albert Cuyp Street Market, I knew I had to get them.  My plan was to combine the red branches with a few orange flowers to recreate the fall foliage colours from back home:

Fall foliage - red leaves and orange flowers

And I did this in 4 very easy steps:

Step 1: Get a vase that will hold the arrangement.   Make sure that it’s tall enough to support the branches as they’re usually sold two feet long.

Fall foliage - get a vase

Step 1: Grab a tall vase that will support the height of the long branches

Step 2: Prep the flowers & branches.   Like any other fresh-cut flower arrangement, make sure the bottom of each flower stem is trimmed diagonally to assure the best water absorption.  You don’t need to do this to the wooden stems of the leaves—just make sure they’re “fluffed” enough for maximum effect.

Fall foliage - prep the flowers and branches

Step 2: Trim the flower stems and “fluff” the leaves

Step 3: Arrange the red leaves in the vase.  Try to spread the foliage as wide as possible.

Step 4:  Add the orange flowers to the arrangement.  You will notice that in mine, I kept the orange flowers in the foreground and kept the red leaves in the background.  Distribute them as you prefer.


Fall foliage - arrange stems and flowers

Step 3: Arrange the leaves; Step 4: Add the flowers

The finished product is an arrangement that I’m keeping on my mantle.  I will enjoy it with a couple of scented candles, a good book, my favourite throw, and pretend that I’m back home.  Now if I can only get a cup of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, it will be as good as being on my couch in dear ol’ Toronto.

Fall foliage arrangement on mantle

A little bit of Toronto in Amsterdam

Foliage arrangement cost:

  • Flowers: €2.50 per bunch
  • Leaves: €2.50 per bunch

Further reading on why fall colours are different depending on which side of the ocean you’re from:

4 thoughts

    • Thank you, Karen! I miss the fiery hues big time and I’m really hoping that one day I’ll be able to do the legendary drives in New Hampshire or New England. For now, I’ll enjoy the bright yellows here in Amsterdam.

      • I do hope you get to drive on some of the scenic New England roads when the colors are so vibrant. I just returned from Germany and Austria where I enjoyed the fall foliage…not the crimson colors but beautiful.

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