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 the Netherlands burst with surreal colors which are a feast for every eye!
Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse
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. Keukenhof Gardens is located in Lisse a small town in the province of South Holland. The gardens are located about 30-minute drive from Amsterdam which makes for a perfect day trip. There are several tulip fields around the Keukenhof Gardens which are equally stunning. You can rent a bike and ride along the fields taking in the wonderful views.
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.
We started with the daffodils and Hyacinth planted in alternate purple and yellow rows. But all we were looking for were the enchanting tulips.
Also Read: Best Things to do in Amsterdam in a day
The Spectacular Tulip Show
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 lush green carpet of the garden.
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.
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.
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’. The 17th-century Keukenhof Castle in the garden premises is open to the public all through the year. 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.
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.
Keukenhof with Kids
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.
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.
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.
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.
Museum De Zwarte Tulip or Black Tulip Museum
When you are here why not visit the amazing Museum De Zwarte Tulip or Black Tulip Museum. The Museum De Zwarte Tulp is a fantastic way to know more about the tulip bulb cultivation, the origin of the tulip in Holland and its importance through the history of Dutch. The museum also displays some mesmerizing pictures of tulips which are a feast for the eyes!
Know Before You Go
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-kilometer route from Noordwijk to Haarlem with some wonderful floats is not to miss.
One can also visit Castle Keukenhof and learn about 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.
You can also visit the large Roman Catholic Church Sint Agathakerk in Lisse. The interior of the church has some remarkable stained-glass windows, artworks, and murals.
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.
Would you like to pin this post?