Keukenhof – A Dutch flower paradise
The spring feel is embracing Amsterdam in its arms and the signs of it are visible just about everywhere around the city and especially its parks. Tiny snowdrops nod and bow to you, delicate daffodils turn their yellow heads towards the sun, purple crocuses sprout and bloom altogether, some of the fruit trees spread their sweet fragrance into the fresh air and even gentle primulas hide behind the trees. The orchestra of early colors and flower beauty starts its tune, but the major highlights are yet to come. The world largest tulip fields are still waiting to burst into colors in the Netherlands, and so are the famous flower gardens of spectacular Keukenhof. Let us share with you what this blooming paradise is preparing this spring and get ready for the flower delight that can only be encountered in Holland.
What’s in a Name?
Keukenhof is a gigantic (32 hectares!) flower garden in Lisse southwest of Amsterdam that manifests the beauty of flowers with 7 million bulbs of 800 various tulip types in full blossom! The name Kitchen Garden comes from the 15th century, when this area was used for gathering herbs for the kitchen of Keunkenhof Castle (worth visiting too with its 400-year old history!). Now this flower heaven is a number 1 attraction if you come to the Netherlands in spring that provides unforgettable experience to flower lovers from all over the world.
In addition to beholding the loveliness, you can learn everything about tulips in the Tulpomania exhibition and get valuable tips from the experts. It is possible to even christen your own tulip here! Get inspired for your own garden and change your whole perception of gardening with the ideas offered in a special inspiration gardens section in Keukenhof. This year you will get surprised by their Delfts Blauw Garden, Romantic Garden, Beach Garden, Vintage Garden and a few more that we will keep a secret this time.
Your kids will love the park of Keukenhof as they will be enjoying their treasure hunt, playing at the Miffy playhouse, learning about animals at the petting farm, trying to escape from the green maze or just observing the flowers around.
Yes, it’s all about tulips here, but the exhibition is extended with bright and fragrant hyacinths, tender freesias, passionate roses, lilies, fancy orchids and way more. Keukenhof is proud to present flower shows inside their unique pavilions. Gifted flower arrangers set up gorgeous displays each week and you can choose the date for your visit depending on when your favorite flowers are featured: http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/discover-the-park/flower-shows/
Even more, Keukenhof is not limited to flowers, but offers the demonstration of some fine art and sculptures by various artists. And while flowers and art will wait for you every day during the season, there are also some special events at the gardens too. Mark your calendar for Dutch Heritage Weekend (1-3 April 2016), Food & Flower Festival (9-10 April 2016), Flower Parade (23 April 2016), Family Weekend (30 April-1 May 2016) and Romance at Keukenhof (7-8 May 2016). In the end it doesn’t matter that much what day you will come to this amazing park, as there is always something going on and the flowers are there for you.
The Golden Age Will Prosper
Every year Keukenhof announces different theme for its gardens, and in 2016 it is “The Golden Age,” the time when the Netherlands became prosperous country due to the trade. To celebrate Keukenhof has prepared an impressive flower bulb mosaic of 250m2 next to the Oranje Nassau Pavilion. This beautiful piece with the Golden Age view is made out of 100 000 bulbs of tulips, crocuses and hyacinths to amuse visitors with its scope. One of the inspiration gardens also demonstrates this theme of 2016.
Best Time for Smelling Flowers
Keukenhof Gardens are open from 24thMarch to 16th May, but what is the best time to see all the rainbow colors at once and breathe in the fresh tulip scent? The blossoming period of the flowers is very much defined by the weather, and the Dutch weather can be quite unpredictable to say the least. It is almost impossible to provide an exact estimate, but based on the previous experience it looks like the last 2 April weeks and the first May week grant a higher chance to see it all. There is a handy weekly tulips and flower update that will give you an even a better idea about the favorable dates for visit as from the beginning of March: http://tulipsinholland.com/faq-tulips-and-keukenhof/weekly-tulips-and-flower-update/
The full day of outdoor fun, millions of flowers and lots of impressions will cost you 16€ for adults and 8€ for kids over 4 years old and it will be worth every penny. It is possible to book tours to Keukenhof from Amsterdam, but it is easy to visit the gardens by public transport- just take the Arriva Keukenhof Express (bus 858) from Schipol Plaza or the centre of the city and you will be at your marvelous destination within 30 minutes. You can learn more about how to get there on the official website of Keukenhof:http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/plan-your-visit/public-transport/
As you visit Keukenhof, don’t forget about vast tulip fields right next to it, which will add up even more to your flower day. Just rent a bike and ride towards the colorful fields of happiness and joy that flowers can give you! Please note that neither Keukenhof, nor tulip fields nearby allow picking your own bouquet there. For this purpose you might want to visit Annemieke’s Pluktuin, where you can pick wonderful flowers and finish your flower adventure: http://www.annemiekespluktuin.nl/en/home/
Enjoy all the flowers in Holland!
This post is also available in: Dutch