March 10, 2023
There’s definitely something about a sea of flowers that makes people wish Keukenhof wasn’t a seasonal affair. Home to the world’s most beautiful beds of flowers and bulb exhibitions, a trip to this unique feast of floral blossoms will amaze your senses.
If you’re a lover of spring in the Netherlands, then there’s no better place to observe it in its full bloom than Keukenhof. The park is located in Lisse and the largest flower garden in the world with seven million flower bulbs planted each season, Keukenhof is one of the most beautiful attractions in the Netherlands and is known to be a beehive of activities as visitors never seem to get tired of seeing the garden. The tulip garden is only open from mid-March to mid-May, and you should check available Keukenhof tickets in advance.
History of Keukenhof
The history of Keukenhof comes down to twenty Dutch bulb growers (led by the then Mayor of Lisse) coming together in 1949, with a plan to use Keukenhof as an exhibition ground for the Netherlands’ spring bulbs. It was an economical and touristic decision that would positively impact the history of the country in more ways than one. The park may have opened up to 236,000 visitors in 1950, but its history dates back even further.
It goes way back to the time of Countess Jacoba van Beieren or Jacqueline de Bavière to the French, who was the Duchess of Bavaria-Straubing, Countess of Holland and Zeeland and Countess of Hainaut from 1417 to 1433. Keukenhof was the source of herbs for her kitchen and as a result, the source of the name “Keuken-Hof” or “Kitchen Garden.”
After his retirement of the Dutch East India Company in 1627, Captain Adriaen Maertensz Block moved into Keukenhof Castle, which he built while on active duty for the Netherlands. Later in 1857, Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, (designers of the Vondelpark) were assigned the task of designing the park around the castle. That park, in English landscape style, still forms the basis of the Keukenhof we know and love today.
Each fall, the gardeners plant the bulbs by hand, in a unique design. Planting takes about three months, and the bulbs are selected to bloom throughout the eight-week opening period. In addition to the tulip gardens, Keukenhof is also home to an English landscape garden, a Japanese landscape garden, a spring meadow, a natural garden, a historic garden, a garden maze, and several inspiration gardens that are uniquely planted each year.
Some facts about Keukenhof for you to enjoy!
- The striped tulips, which were very popular in the 17th century, got their colouring from a virus. This virus which was discovered in 1931 was found to be transferred by aphids. These days, multi-coloured tulips are artificially bred to look that way.
- In 1943, Princess Margriet was born in Canada’s Ottawa Civic Hospital, as the Dutch royal family escaped the war in Europe. The maternity ward where she was born had to be declared an international territory so she could inherit her Dutch citizenship from her mother, Princess Juliana. Each year as a sign of gratitude, the Dutch royal family sends 10,000 bulbs to Ottawa for their tulip festival.
- Despite its long association with the Netherlands, the tulip actually originates in the Tian Shan mountain region of the Himalaya. They were brought to Holland via Turkey, in the 16th century, where sultans organized tulip parties each spring.
- Since 1986, the Netherlands sends flowers to St Peter’s Basilica every Easter. It is a tradition which started following Pope John Paul II’s visit to the country in 1985, and since then, the Vatican decided to let the Netherlands be in charge of the Easter floral display and the Pope says 'thank you for the flowers' in his speech.
Tours & Tickets offers several different tours to the world famous Keukenhof gardens every year, so you can choose the one that's perfect for you. Enjoy the views of the country and the tulip fields on your way to the your visit to Keukenhof where you will be surrounded by beautiful tulips and other flowers.
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