“Woowww!” This is my daughter’s word when we saw the bright, bursting colors of tulips last Monday in the Keukenhof gardens in Lisse, in the Netherlands.
Visiting Keukenhof on the second day of Easter was totally overwhelming, but yes, for me, it is probably the most beautiful garden in spring in the whole world! I have been looking forward for this trip this Spring and I am so glad we had a great weather to witness this place. This year was the 68th time that the Keukenhof gardens ( literally translates as kitchen garden) wows approximately millions of tourists and even locals. My husband, who is a Dutch native, but a first-timer to see the flower-mania inside the Keukenhof gardens was surprisingly impressed by the beautiful landscapes. He thought only old people and tourists go there, but then he was mistaken.Seeing tulips grow as normal as weeds during spring in almost every backyard all over Holland, he saw the other side of its beauty.He was greatly enamored by the flower power as I did. He hates crowds but I must say that the traffic flow inside the park was still controlled and manageable, even with a 2.5 year old toddler with us. Since our visit falls on a holiday, we’ve seen visitors from all over the globe,different nationalities.Totally chaotic but then also so much fun!
We took the trip with Arriva tours and it was very pleasant, on time and smooth all the way. I won’t be surprised if visitors this year would surpass last year’s 2016 recorded 1.1 million visitors! As one of the highlight of our Holland trip, my feet was itching from the moment we book our tickets and kept on hoping that we had a great weather or else we will definitely cancel the trip.The time that I come face to face with the gazillions of around 800 varieties of tulips, I fell in love!
There is beauty everywhere I look! Have you ever heard of Tulips coma? There is never enough Tulips to see, and of course, to photograph!
I think this is how I’ve felt when I saw the bright tulips fields, the tripartite layers of colors, gorgeous landscape filled with different colors, unique artwork, inspirational gardens and flower exhibitions!
This year’s theme is “Dutch Design“. Dutch Design is characterized by Dutch sobriety combined with innovative solutions.The Mondriaan Garden with its primary square color patches was crowded and so as the Roses flower show in the Oranje Nassau pavillion was a great crowd pleaser. Surprisingly, my daughter had a blast in the petting zoo, in the Miffy house ,spacious playpark and running around the garden. The restaurants were crowded but there were plenty to choose from.You will have something to eat and drink depending on what you want.Don’t forget to try the Dutch , Bitterballen, and yes, the Kroket sandwich to have a taste of Dutch foods.
Personally, seeing this garden up close and personal was a dream come true!
Gazing at the tulips made me appreciate nature even more and I was just overwhelmed by how beautiful the flowers are.From this, the Dutch people should be very proud because they have this heritage. It’s no wonder people travel across the world just to see flowers, especially this Tulpen-Mania!
This spring,we are lucky to see the new amenities of the park, like its beautiful grand entrance hall, with geometric design ceiling, visitors luggage deposit area, restaurants, souvenir shops, and a car park where 4,500 cars and 1,000 coaches can park. If you like to gaze at the Tulips fields, you can walk a few meters from the park and just be amazed by horizons painted in red, yellow, violets, and pink tulips!
I am so glad that I had the chance to see this place in person. It was totally worth it. This place fueled my love for nature even more, flowers and the inspiration behind the art. I think its not just the tulips but there’s really a creative art behind these landscapes.
Here are some interesting facts I’ve learned while researching about this amazing garden.
1. 2017 is Keukenhof’s 68th opening to the public.
2. Keukenhof is only open eight weeks each year and, in that time, welcomes 1.1 million visitors ( as of 2016 records).
3. Nearly 50 million people have visited Keukenhof since it first opened and, nowadays, 75% come from more than 100 countries abroad.
4. More than 7 million bulbs are planted in Keukenhof’s 32 hectares (79 acres), which are supplied, for free, by 100 bulb growers.
5. The gardeners dig out these bulbs, at the end of each open season, and destroy them (by order of the growers). Most are used as food for livestock.
6. There are about 30 full-time gardeners, who work year-round at Keukenhof.
7. Each autumn, the gardeners plant the bulbs, by hand, in a completely new design. It takes about 3 months. The bulbs are selected to bloom throughout the eight-week opening period.
8. The bright green grass, around the park, is a special quick-growing variety, needed to cope with the shady trees. It is reseeded each year.
9. In addition to the tulip gardens, Keukenhof also hosts a Japanese garden, an English landscape garden, a spring meadow, a natural garden, a historic garden, a garden maze, and seven inspiration gardens that are different each year.
10. Although known for tulips, Keukenhof is home to the world’s largest lily show, during the last ten days of the opening season.
11. Keukenhof began, in 1857, as an English landscape garden, designed by the Zocher firm, who also designed Vondelpark in Amsterdam.
12. Keukenhof’s name has even older origins. Countess Jacoba van Beieren owned the land in the 15thcentury. The uncultivated land was used for hunting and gathering herbs for the castle’s kitchen, hence Keukenhof, or Kitchen Garden.
13. The striped tulips, so popular in the 17th century, got their colouring from a virus, transferred by aphids, only discovered in 1931. These days, multi-coloured tulips are bred to look that way.
14. Growing 4.2 million bulbs a year, the Netherlands is the world’s largest producer of tulip bulbs. Half of which are exported.
15. The main bulb-growing region of Holland stretches from Leiden to Haarlem. The number of hectares for bulb production has increased from 10,000 hectares in 1960 to more than 23,500 hectares in 2007. However, the number of growers is decreasing, from 13,000 in 1960 to only 2000, in 2007.
16.The website travel guide, Lonely Planet, opens with a feature on Keukenhof. Wikipedia has just one photograph of the Netherlands: of Keukenhof. More recently Keukenhof was awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
If you have the chance, you need to give it a go to visit this amazing garden, you won’t regret it. Keukenhof is definitely a family & kid friendly place and there’s so much events and activities inside Keukenhof for all ages!
If you are planning to explore the off beaten attractions in Holland, you might want to check out why Dutch clouds, especially the Cumulus clouds are long time inspiration from artists and depicted in famous paintings. Read more in Holland, as I see It!