A trip back to my childhood visiting the Keukenhof
A Kaleidoscope of color and gorgeous smells was awaiting me
After more than 50 years I have revisited a special place in Holland, the world-famous Keukenhof. A spring garden, which is a delight for one’s eyes. This vast park of 32 hectares is beautifully laid out and holds up to seven million tulips beside a variety of other bulb species. Each year over 1 million people from all over the world visit the Keukenhof.
You will see different areas with a small board describing which bulb nursery provided bulbs for this particular display. There are immense areas around the Keukenhof, even up into Friesland, where you will see the vast fields where the tulip bulbs are growing.
The Keukenhof and its history
Castle Keukenhof is situated on a large estate of which the Keukenhof gardens form a part. This vast property is some 230 hectares and comprises forests and agricultural land. The castle was built in 1642 and has known many owners.
In 1949 a group of leading flower bulb growers got together with some exporters and decided to create the Keukenhof as a showcase for their beautiful flowers.
In 1950, the park opened its doors for the first time and received 236.000 visitors in that same year. Over the years the Keukenhof has become world-famous attracting visitors from all countries. 20% of the visitors are Dutch and 40% come from European countries, especially Germany and Belgium. From the US comes some 10% and China has some 8%.
Nowadays 100 bulb companies participate and show their blooming products. They supply the bulbs in autumn to be planted by 40 gardeners in time for the flowering season, which is mid-March to mid-May. Depending on the weather condition, the tulips flower around mid-April.
My experience visiting the Keukenhof
As I said at the beginning of this post, I had not been back for 50 years. While still living at home with my parents, they on having friends staying, often planned a trip to the Keukenhof. It was like a tradition. I always enjoyed going there, but over such a long period of time memories do tend to lose some of their colors.
Going back this year in April, I relived my childhood memories and my eyes feasted on the colors. As there are so many more visitors than in the old times, the organization has had to grow and now is huge. It starts when you arrive at the Keukenhof.
Having booked parking and the visit online, it was easy. Passing many control posts and showing our reservation, they directed us to an available parking space.
We arrived at 10.30 and that was early enough to get a good spot because many cars came after us. In other areas, tour buses from all over Europe were parked, and the entrance was packed with mingling people.
You could hear many languages and see many races, often in their national costumes. On entering you can pick up a free map of the park, which really helps to find your way around as it is so big.
Entering the park
We were so lucky, having chosen this particular day for our visit. Holland suffered a week-long little heatwave, up to 27C. On the day we came, the weather had changed considerably, and the temperatures had dropped to 13C. The heatwave had induced 90% of the tulips to open, and our timing could not have been more perfect.
We started walking and were greeted by the first beautiful color combination of tulips. Wherever you looked you saw colors and people marveling and enjoying them.
Even if there were so many visitors, I soon noted a very special detail. Everybody was so nice and polite. Nobody was loud and whenever an individual of the slowly forward-moving stream of people stopped to take some photos, the others would patiently wait, to then continue their way. I observed this during the over 4 hours we walked through the beautiful park.
The entire world is present here today, and everybody is so nice. I wish the world outside the Keukenhof would be the same.
The very special layout of the park
In 1857, landscape architect Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher redesigned the castle gardens. Later they became the creators of the Vondelpark as well.
While walking, we discovered some lovely corners. A big part of the park had old and tall trees. These trees showed fresh light green colored leaves which attenuated the light, actually ideal for taking photos.
There were big parts with water sections. In the middle was a small island that was not reachable by the public, so the water birds had a private place for their nests. Water cascades and fishponds completed the layout
All this was filled with tulip beds in full bloom mixed in with some other types. One could see amazing color combinations where ever you looked. Difficult to decide which was nicer.
The result is masses of photos taken, not one prettier than the other. We walked for over 4 hours absorbing this natural wonder. In the park, you will find an enclosed exposition hall with beautiful flower arrangements, various souvenir shops, and restaurants.
The Keukenhof is situated near Lisse, in the province of South Holland. This does not mean in the south of Holland. It is more in the middle of the upper half of Holland on the Westside. If you plan to visit Holland, I would really recommend you to visit in the springtime as a visit to this beautiful park is an absolute must.
What a book
The tulip has a fascinating history. It originated on the barren and windswept steppes of central Asia to reaching a place of honor in the imperial gardens of Constantinople.
In general, Dutch people are rather sober and hardworking burgers. In the 1630s they got caught in a frenzy of buying and selling the delicate tulip. Passing from one owner to the next and increasing its price constantly after 1 year, the tulip bulb was sold for such a high price you could have bought a house instead.
Then came the enormous crash and ruined speculators and investors alike. Tulipomania is history and a real-life story.
Before you leave, please visit Recommendations. It is a special page I made for you. I hope you will find something of your interest.
Source: Wikipedia and the official website of the Keukenhof
Photo Source: Private
There are many beautiful places one can visit. I live in Spain and there are gorgeous National Park. Perhaps you like to read this post on some of them.
Wow, wow, wow, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful”””’
Good evening Juan,
It seems you like my post on de Keukenhof, I am happy to hear that. It definitely is wow and also beautiful, well worth a trip to Holland if I may say so.
Thank you for reading my post and I hope to see you again.
Truly a beautiful treasure, isn’t life truly wonderful where you can sit in your living room and visit Holland and its beautiful tulips at the same time. Thank you for sharing this beautiful flower garden and wonderful landscape. Would have loved to had visited this garden when I was younger , never knew there was so many different colors of tulips and the multi colors are breath taking . Thanks again for sharing such a wonderous website.
Good Morning Terri,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. Yes, the Keukenhof is a really wonderful and magical place. The array of colors is nearly overwehlming, one does not know where to look first. Even if there were so many people as everybody behaved so nicely it was hardly disturbing and one could enjoy in peace. I do hope you will be able to visit this beautiful park in the future. Please feel free to ask any questions about visiting Holland.
Hi Taetske – thanks for sharing this inspirational article. The accompanying photographs are absolutely gorgeous, tulips are one of my favourite flowers. I have actually visited Holland twice but stayed in Amsterdam, so the nearest thing to this I experienced was a visit to the flower market. Definitely, a place I will be adding to my wish list. All the best, Diane
Good Morning Diane,
Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
Holland is a small country but packed with a lot of interesting things. I will give you the link to a post I wrote. https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/laparra1/blog/happy-meeting-with-michelle-and-loes-a-special-holiday/a_aid/2f896c67
Then you can add some more things to the list.
I actually lived/studied in Holland in my twenties – I finished off my music studies there for two and a half years in Amsterdam.
On occasion I did hear about the Keukenhof castle and it’s surrounding gardens, but myself and my partner never found the time to visit (unfortunately).
It must have been wonderful to see it all again after 50 years – had much changed in the area?
Good Morning Chris,
That is really a shame you were not able to visit the Keukenhof during your two and a half years in Amsterdam.
Certainly, things have changed in Holland, I would say more people and traffic. We visited Veenedaal where my Father used to work. The office building and water tower had disappeared and the main street where cars used to drive is now a pedestrian/shopping area. This has happened in many towns in Holland.
Even if it is a lot crowdier than in old times you will still be able to find unspoiled nature areas which are a joy to visit. Thank you for leaving a comment.
This was a beautiful post on your revisit to the Keukenhof Garden…Of course, it is also a beautiful place, as evidenced by the images you have included. I was there many years ago (in the early 80s) and it was a visit that holds memories to this day. I also have some pictures somewhere of that visit.
I would love to go back there again as you did, and one day hopefully that will be possible. It sounds like for you it was a memorable time, and I am sure it would be for me as well. As I remember it, it was a really popular place all those years ago, and apparently, it remains so based on the number of visitors it gets every year.
There are also a lot of other places to see while in The Netherlands, and most can be included in a 4-5 day visit to the country. I may plan something like this, especially in the Spring the country has so much to enjoy! Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences, we are all better for having the chance to read this article!
Good Morning Dave,
What a nice surprise to see you back after such a long time. I hope you have been keeping well.
Holland is a small country but packed with lovely things. We left in April of 2018 and were so lucky with the weather.
We spend 14 days and somehow were a bit exhausted by all the visits, 2000km on the road and 6 hotels. We also met with Loes and Michelle, I will pass the link on my post.https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/laparra1/blog/happy-meeting-with-michelle-and-loes-a-special-holiday/a_aid/2f896c67 As I left Holland at the age of 15 I used to go home for Christmas. Later on, many years would pass between visits.
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
What a beautiful place! I visited Holland when I was 10, many years ago, and vaguely remember the tulips. My favorite flowers are tulips (my husband buys me some every year for Mother’s Day) – I may have to suggest that we travel to Keukenhof one year for Mother’s Day to experience this in person!
Good Morning Madison,
I think that is a splendid idea to go to the Keukenhof and celebrate Mothers Day. Keep the right time of the year in mind so you can see all the tulips in full bloom.
Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF.
Sure those tulips look very beautiful and they grace that garden very well I believe it should one of must-visit site when we come to Holland and look at those beautiful and well-manicured flowers so 50 yrs without visiting your hometown u must have missed home very much looks like you really had fun
Good Morning Charles,
Thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment.I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
I had been back to Holland a couple of times but the Keukenhof was more than 50 years ago. Fond memories. Indeed I had a lot of fun during this holiday in 2018.
It’s really a stunning treasure, isn’t life actually awesome wherever you’ll sit in your front room and visit European country and its lovely tulips at a similar time. Many thanks for sharing this lovely garden and wonderful landscape. Would have loved to visit this garden once I had the opportunity.
I never knew there were many completely different colors of tulips and also the multi colors are breath-taking. Thanks once more for sharing such a great and valuable blog post.
Good afternoon Joshua,
Nice to hear you enjoyed your colorful visit to the Keukenhof. It is one of the treasures you will find in the Netherlands. It is but a small country but packed with great things to visit. I do hope you will be able to visit one day.
Thank you for your comment on my post. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.
So beautiful 🙂 Brought back happy memories of the botanic gardens in my home city of Wellington (New Zealand). Many similarities and many Dutch immigrants so maybe not a coincidence 🙂
Good Morning Deb,
Thank you for visiting my website and for your comment. Did you download your free PDF? Tulip widget.
The Keukenhof is something very special and if you visit the Netherlands one should not miss it. It depends on the time of year of course. I like spring time where everything is fresh and green. We were so lucky with the weather during the first week of our holiday.
The heat made all the bulbs blossom, a beautiful sight.
Thank you Taetske for this article it really boosted my spirit today seeing all these wonderful pictures, an abundance of color and design.
I hope, that I still will have the opportunity to visit the Netherlands and to go to the Keukenhof.
I can’t wait this to happen and seeing myself meditating between the Tulips. 🙂
Good Morning Sylvia,
Nice to see you again visiting my website. Thank you for your comment. You remember you can download a free PDF of your choice at the Tulip Widget?
In the year 2020 we did not travel at all due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We stayed mainly on the farm and went shopping once a week in the village. At the moment we have the third lock down here so that means you cannot even leave the village.
Luckily we have our memories like the one of visiting the Keukenhof. In my mind I can walk through the park again and absorb the lovely colors and smells.
Anyhow, I hope you will also be able to visit the Keukenhof one day. It is one of those things one should not miss in life.