Spring in the Netherlands is only really considered to have started once the flowers at Keukenhof start coming out. The gorgeous pavilions full of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other spring flowers are a feast for the eye, and attract thousands of visitors every year.Flowers and bulbs are two of the most famous Dutch export products. The main concentration of plantations is in the Bollenstreek (bulb region) south of Amsterdam. The Keukenhof garden itself is located in Lisse. An open-air flower exhibition organised in the town in 1949 quickly became an annual event, giving rise to the permanent Keukenhof.
The park has since become one of the most visited attractions in the Netherlands. New flower fields are planted every year based on a particular theme. For instance, the Brandenburg Gate, Big Ben and St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow have all been immortalised here in flowers. In total, there are around seven million flowers in bloom in the park during the season. The endless variety of colours and types are unique in the world: For instance, there are more than 700 species of tulip alone.
There are over thirty different flower shows at Keukenhof, where they form an important aspect of the garden. Over 600 growers present their finest flowers, while leading arrangers create exclusive shows, each consisting of an impressive creation of the flowers in focus at a given time. The show gives a comprehensive picture of what can be achieved with flowers. At the end, the breeder of the most beautiful flower receives a prize. The shows are held in the various pavilions at Keukenhof during the day.
The floral splendour continues undiminished outside the gates of Keukenhof and you can rent a bike in the car park to explore the area. A fabulous Flower Parade (Bloemencorso) is organised every year in April, with some twenty floats taking a 40-kilometre route from Noordwijk to Haarlem, accompanied by marching bands.
The Keukenhof is open between March and May, when the flowers are in full bloom. More information on the exact opening hours can be found on the website. There are buses to the park from Leiden and Schiphol.
Anyone feeling inspired by the beautiful flowers shouldn’t miss the souvenir shop, which sells bulbs that conform with guidelines for export to Asia and America. This way you know for sure that you can take them home.
Address: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse
More information on: www.keukenhof.nl