Tulip Festival at the Garden of Europe – Keukenhof, Netherlands

As the curtain drops on the chilly snowy winter season, the colors of spring start to sprout and the petrichor wafts the air. The omnipresent hues of the budding spring blossom spread their charm beneath the gentle warmth of the sun. Spring in Holland is celebrated from Mid-March to mid-May when the Keukenhof gardens in Netherlands burst with surreal colors which are a feast for every eye!

A day trip to Keukenhof, popularly known as the ‘Garden of Europe’ will rejuvenate your senses with an explosion of colors through millions of bulbs spread over 32 hectares of the breathtaking flower garden. Every year the park is redesigned with a different theme displaying cut flowers and plants which draw millions of visitors. This year 2016 the theme was the ‘Dutch Golden Age’.

The front courtyard of the entrance was dotted with large pots blooming with bright yellow daffodils. The entrance had a large tank with a fountain where kids enjoyed watching the duck swimming with her newborn ducklings. A lady dressed in traditional dutch costumes offered visitors with photo-ops as a souvenir. A beautiful musical organ played a lovely music, a warm welcome into the world of surreal beauty.

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We started with the daffodils and Hyacinth planted in alternate purple and yellow rows. But all we were looking for were the enchanting tulips.

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The water from the tank at the entrance flowed in the canals winding through the garden. Ashore these canals were the prismatic tulip blossoms splattering colors into the calm canal waters. More than 700 species of tulips in shades of pink, white, bright orange, deep shades of purple, maroon and blue adorned the the lush green carpet of the garden.

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The English garden landscape was very impressive and soothing with trees towering over the pretty bed of tulips at their foot giving it a natural setting. The garden is bedecked with more than 100 interesting sculptures and artworks. Benches were laid around the garden to sit down and take a moment to behold the awe-inspiring vista.

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Row by row of tulips unfurled meandering through the line of trees like a rainbow of colors. The artist-gardeners had splendidly played with colors and different species of tulips to bring out a pattern which made for a marvelous postcard picture.

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A little about the history

The garden of Keukenhof once served as a kitchen garden to gather herbs for the Keukenhof castle’s kitchen hence the name ‘Keukenhof’. Later in 1857, the garden was redesigned which still forms the base for the layout as seen today. The spring garden of Keukenhof opened to the public for the first time in 1950. And in 2016 the garden opened for the 67th time to the spectators from over 100 countries.

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A 100-year-old windmill stood along the banks of the river Lesse in the garden. Visitors can climb up the windmill for the panorama of the garden and the surrounding bulb fields.

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Keukenhof has a load of activities arranged for the kids like the treasure hunt, petting zoo and much more. There was a petting farm where we for the first time had an opportunity to cuddle the most adorable llamas. Kids enjoyed feeding the goats, pigs and the rabbits.  A gorgeous peacock fluttered around with pride catching every eye in the park.

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Flower shows and Exhibitions

Beatrix pavilion had a gorgeous orchid and anthurium show arranged in a spectrum of colors. Some were dangling from the roof and others adorning the vases.

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The flower arrangement at Willem-Alexander pavilion was the most impressive. Large Arches and columns were punctuated with a wide variety of lilies in several marvelous colors. Thousands of lilies in hundreds of varieties and hues at the display sure to leave anyone in awe. There were also other species of flowers of all sizes and colors.

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The Oranje Nassau Pavilion show emphasized on the use of flower bulbs in interiors and bouquets while Juliana Pavilion is a must visit for some astonishing historical facts of the tulip and its origin. e used in surprising ways to create original bouquets.

Good to know

  • There are several cafes and restaurants in the garden where one can take a break, refuel and resume the walk.
  • One can take a boat tour to explore the beautiful bulb fields around the Keukenhof garden with an extra fee or rent a bike from the entrance and explore on your own.
  • We visited in the last week of the exhibition in fact on the last day and the bulbs at the fields were already harvested so plan your trip earlier probably April is the best.
  • If you are visiting in April, the Bollenstreek Flower parade that follows a 40-kilometre route from Noordwijk to Haarlem with some wonderful floats is not to miss.
  • One can also visit Castle Keukenhof and learn of the remarkable dutch history and lifestyle through centuries. The castle also offers guided tours to the visitors.
  • Buy your ticket in advance to avoid the long wait in the queue.
  • To reach the garden from Amsterdam board a train from Amsterdam Central Station to Schiphol Airport and then one of the Keukenhof Express Buses.

Here is a video which will take you through a virtual tour of the sublime beauty.

Have you been to the tulip gardens of Holland? Have something different experience to share with us. Let us know in comments.

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10 thoughts on “Tulip Festival at the Garden of Europe – Keukenhof, Netherlands

  • March 3, 2017 at 7:37 am
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    I’d never heard of this before – what a beautiful festival! The colours of the flowers are so vibrant, so many great photo opportunities! Loved the video too – thanks for sharing.

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  • March 3, 2017 at 7:41 am
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    Beautiful place! and tulips are one of my favourite flowers. How gorgeous they look in your photos. Great to know that there are things you can do with children as well! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  • March 3, 2017 at 8:38 am
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    I would love to go to the Tulip Festival. I love all bulbs — hyacinths, daffodils, and of course tulips. It feels so much like spring. Some of those tulips with all the extra petals, almost look like roses.

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  • March 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm
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    Beautiful gardens! I am regretting not venturing out in the countryside of Holland as I obviously missed out on all this beauty. I would have been right there with the kids, interacting with the animals! Looks like another trip is long overdue. Will definitely keep this in mind!

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  • March 3, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    This looks so colorful!! I just know Amsterdam in the Netherlands but I’ve always wanted to visit one of these festivals for a long time. Your pictures are beautiful and I really liked the ones of Willem-Alexander pavilion. I’ll try to go in April again and visit Keukenhof. Thanks for sharing! 😉

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  • March 4, 2017 at 5:25 am
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    Kukenhof has been on my bucketlist for the past 5 years…and I havent been able to go there as yet! We went to Amsterdam in Feb, and the gardens were closed then. I guess I will have to plan a trip especially for the gardens…I would also like to visit Hallerbos while I am there. Besides, Amsterdam is one of my fav cities…I can go there a 100 times and still have fun! Loved your pictures, tulips and the lillies!

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  • March 4, 2017 at 8:16 am
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    I absolutely love these photos! I have a thing for colourful flower fields and I think I would have taken way too many photos there 😛 I have only been to Amsterdam central and also in Winter but this is definitely on my list 🙂

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  • March 5, 2017 at 3:27 am
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    I would love to witness the tulip festival myself some days. I have to admit, they’re one of the reasons why I always wanted to visit Holland. Such a beautiful scenery and they make such great photo subjects too!

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  • March 5, 2017 at 9:06 am
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    Some absolutely stunning shots you’ve captured here and the one with yourself in the middle of all those tulips has an almost unbelievable amount of colour. Beyond the photos however, you certainly included a huge amount of detail in the post and it’s always nice to learn a little about the history of such places. Bollenstreek Flower parade would be a great time to visit and really, the entirety of Amsterdam is beautiful in April

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  • March 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm
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    Brilliant photography guys. Really love tulip displays here. I’ve always known the Netherlands is big on flowers and their distribution but I haven’t seen this before.
    Cheers
    James

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