Over 35 year-long Dutch flower tradition continues at Vatican Easter celebration

On Easter Sunday, St. Peter's Square was decorated with more than 35,000 flowers and plants from the Netherlands. It is a tradition that began with the legacy of St. Titus Brandsma, who was canonized by Pope Francis last year.

Dr. Charles Lansdorp, florist, explained, "It started because there was a Dutch priest in '85 who got beatificated, and so that was the opportunity for us to start doing this."

Dr. Charles Lansdorp has been involved with the Vatican Easter floral decorations since 1987. For him and his team, preparations take place year-round.

"It already starts after Easter because you have to think about next year," Dr. Lansdorp said. "Especially the bulb flowers, because you have to force the flowers that they are all ready on the exact time. The cut flowers, it's easier because you harvest them maybe a week before, and then you do the preparations in the Vatican."

For over 35 years, Easter at the Vatican has been one of the biggest events for the Dutch flower industry. Each year, the floral arrangements feature a new addition: this year it was Avalanche roses. 

"You get the feeling of spring. It's like walking in a Dutch tulip field," said Dr. Lansdorp.

As a native of the Netherlands, Dr. Lansdorp says it is special to have Dutch influence at one of the Church's most important celebrations.