There is just something about a new season arriving that invigorates us, makes us want to live. We recently visited one of the most beautiful spring gardens in the world. Keukenhof, situated in Lisse, the Netherlands. If you love flowers, make sure you put this garden on your bucket list to visit.
As with so many things impacted by Covid-19, Keukenhof has, after a two year closure, this year opened its doors again.
Some images pop up when you think about the Netherlands including the official flower – the tulip. And in Keukenhof there are indeed a very wide variety of tulips you can admire. BUT the garden also has an amazing collection of hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers. The time of your visit will also determine what kind of flowers you’ll see. This year this beautiful spring garden is open from 24th March to the 15th May.
Some historical facts
Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century where it was located on the hunting grounds of Teylingen Castle. Countess Jacoba van Beieren (or Jacqueline of Bavaria) gathered fruit and vegetables from the Keukenduin (direct translation is kitchen dunes) for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. The estate was later purchased by a captain and governor of the Dutch East India Company, Adriaen Maertensz Block, who built a large manor house known as Keukenhof Castle in 1641 and the estate grew to over 200 hectares. In 1857 landscape architects, Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed Vondelpark in Amsterdam, redesigned the castle gardens. Those gardens to this day remain the foundation for what is now Keukenhof. The gardens were designed very much in the English landscape style.
Some 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters decided in 1949 to use this estate to exhibit spring-flowering bulbs, hence the birth of Keukenhof as a spring garden. When the garden opened to the public in 1950 it was an instant success, with 236 000 visitors in the first year while in 2019 there were 1.5 million visitors.
Keukenhof is a showcase for the Dutch floricultural sector with a special emphasis on flower bulbs. Seven million spring-flowering bulbs are planted each year, donated by over 100 growers and flower bulb companies.
Our Visit to the Spring Garden
The gardens are just beautiful, a maze of different kinds of flowers and fountains, including some beautiful sculptures. There are many places to sit and just enjoy the peacefulness. Although there are a few places to eat, you are allowed to bring in your own food and enjoy a picnic.
At the Windmill there is also a Whisper Boat which can take you on a silent boat trip (electrically propelled boat) around the bulb fields in the vicinity. This way you can learn a bit about the history of the area.
And then there are a few shops that also sell bulbs and flowers.
Don’t despair if it starts raining while you are at Keukenhof, because a variety of flowers and blooming plants are on display indoors as well. Currently there are different flower shows in the different pavilions where your can enjoy the beautiful colours and magnificent beauty of so many types of flowers, including tulips, freesias, orchids and hydrangeas.
It is really easy to get to Keukenhof. Just go to their website and have a look at the type of ticket you want and where to get a bus. If you want to avoid the crowds try and book an early slot.
And when you get there, just enjoy the colours, the beauty, the exquisiteness. Soak it in, let all that splendour revitalise you. Even with crowds, the gardens are big enough that you will find a quiet spot.