A few Keukenhof facts
There’s definitely something romantic 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 exhibition, a trip to this unique feast of floral blossom is one that’s definitely going to blow your mind.
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. 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 tourists never seem to get tired of visiting the garden. It is open annually from mid-March to mid-May and tickets are available here.
History of Keukenhof
The history of Keukenhof can be summarized as, 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 the retirement of the Dutch East India Company Captain, Adriaen Maertensz Block in 1627, he went to live in Kasteel Keukenhof 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 seven inspiration gardens that are uniquely planted each year.
2018 will usher in the 69th edition of the Keukenhof gardens with the theme 'Romanticism in Flowers'. There will be a more romantic feel to the 2018 edition, after all, romance and flowers are inextricably linked. Keukenhof is also home to the world’s largest lily show, and during the last ten days of the opening season, visitors enjoy the funfair and the colorful scenery. Don’t miss out on that!
Walking route between the tulips of the Keukenhof
Make sure to check out Keukenhof’s 15 km hiking trails. They are constructed in such a way that you have a spectacular view of the fragrant bulb gardens and flower greenhouses. There is also a petting zoo and a playground for kids.
Tickets are available on the Tours & Tickets website here. Buses depart from the Tours & Tickets shop at Damrak 26. Tourists are advised to check in at Damrak 26, 30 minutes before departure. Open season is from the 22nd of March to the 13th of May 2018. Tours last approximately 5 hours as tourists are allowed to explore the garden at their own pace. Tickets guarantee fast-track admission.
Departures take place daily (in the two-month period) at these specific times; 8:30 AM, 09:00 AM, 11:15 AM, 11:45 AM, 14:15 PM and 14:45 PM.
Here are some facts about Keukenhof for you to enjoy!
- The striped tulips, which were very popular in the 17th century, got their coloring from a virus. This virus which was discovered in 1931 was found to be transferred by aphids. These days, multi-colored 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 the 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 Vati-can decided to let the Netherlands be in charge of the Easter floral display.
Keukenhof is a garden of color and this year’s romantic theme should be all about spreading love and letting the fires of romance to burn bright and strong. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if a few people took the opportunity to propose to their better halves. Have a lovely tour!