Keukenhof park - the kingdom of spring bulbs in Holland
Most flower lovers, if they have not been, have certainly heard of the world famous Keukenhof flower park in Holland. So I, being in a neighboring country, could not resist the temptation to visit this amazing place. The Keukenhof Royal Flower Park is located between Amsterdam and The Hague in the small town of Liss. During this time, the Russian-speaking guide managed to tell us a lot of interesting things, and in this article I will try to share my impressions with readers.
A bit of Keukenhof park history
Keukenhof’s history dates back to the 15th century. The area south of Liss, where the park is now located, was called Keukenduin, which means “garden” in Dutch. In 1641, the estate reached more than 200 hectares. These lands were extremely rich in a variety of game, mushrooms, berries and herbs. And around the castle a large area was given for the cultivation of vegetables and herbs.
Two hundred years later, in 1857, landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher (later also the Vondelpark designers) restored the garden around the castle. This park in the English landscape style and today is the basis of the Keukenhof.
The first discovery of Keukenhof in his image today took place on March 23, 1950. And this park owes the leading flower bulbs producers and exporters, who decided to create a regular exhibition of spring flowering bulbs in the estate. This event was the first time successful - 236 thousand visitors!
Modern Keukenhof - "Garden of Europe"
My trip in itself was not only informative, but also quite entertaining. After all, the surroundings of Holland are very picturesque. However, what we saw when approaching the park does not lend itself to any comparison ... Huge fields, which can not see either the end or the edge, spread around like a colorful rainbow! Looking at all this magnificence, breathtaking.
Keukenhof is also known as the "Garden of Europe", it is the largest and most beautiful garden of spring flowers in the world. The area of 32 hectares, a magnificent castle, 30 stunning flower exhibitions and 7 beautiful gardens that do not repeat each other.
Read more about one of the best gardens in Europe in the article Trentham Gardens - "New Wave" in a regular style.
The unique gardens in Keukenhof Park are made in different styles. Do not be surprised if, walking in the English garden, you suddenly find yourself in a Japanese oasis or come across perennial centuries-old plants surrounded by tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other fragrant inflorescences.
This is not just a park - it is a melody of color! Remember some color - any, and you will certainly find a flower with such petals in this park. Delicate buds swaying in the wind emit not only the finest aroma, but also, if you listen, beautiful music ... More than seven million (!) Flowering plants that, when combined into fancy compositions, circle you in a whirlwind of dance, then invite you to relax cool streams ...
When to visit Keukenhof
Each year, the park opens its doors to visitors from the twentieth of March to the twentieth of May, and during these two months the appearance of the floral pattern changes three times. Hand-planted flower bulbs are selected in a very unique way.
However, if you want to fully enjoy the view of tulip fields and flower beds, then come to the park in the last 2 weeks of April. I assure you, you will not leave the park empty-handed, you will certainly want to buy some bulbs in order to transfer at least a tiny bit of this magnificence to your garden.
Even before the opening of the park at the very beginning of March, or if the weather is favorable, then even at the end of February crocuses bloom, then tender daffodils. Later hyacinths bloom and, finally, the most important flowers of Holland - tulips. The flowering time of plants depends on weather conditions. I was lucky, our tour fell on April 26, when the park was in its full glory. Cold spring holds back flowering.
The park is open from 8 am to 19:30 pm. My advice: come to the park early, while the paths are still free of tourists, dew has not dried up on the flowers and nobody will stop you from making your photo masterpieces.
Each year, the Keukenhof flower exhibition is dedicated to different topics. For example, in 2010, the main topic was Russia. Russian souvenirs were exhibited, floral panels depicting Russian cathedrals were planted on green lawns. And the annual popular flower parade was held under the motto “From Russia with Love”.
For 2019, the theme “Flower Power” was chosen. You will certainly need to visit Keukenhof. After all, if other thematic exhibitions circled the heads of millions of visitors, then what will happen when the flowers themselves are sung ?!
Tourists visiting Keukenhof became the main source of income for the park with a record number of visitors in 2018 - more than a million people, most of whom are foreign visitors.
Since we are an excursion, we did not have to stand in line, and this is already good. Inside the park, at the very entrance, there are shops. One of them sells a variety of Dutch souvenirs (wooden shoes, tulips - also made of wood, miniature houses, porcelain mills, souvenirs for the kitchen and much more). In another pavilion, you can purchase floriculture books or flower bulbs. Bulbs of tulips or other attracted flowers can also be ordered by mail.
Near the entrance to the park it is proposed to rent a bicycle. On it you can ride along flowering fields and admire unforgettable landscapes. It is forbidden to ride bicycles in the park itself; all paths are exclusively for pedestrians.
Tourist routes in Keukenhof are about 15 kilometers long and are designed in such a way that visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the magnificent flower gardens and flowerbeds, beautiful ponds, fountains and pavilions with various restaurants and terraces. Although the paths in the park are rather confusing, you should not get lost here, because there are signs everywhere. Also navigate in space helps a map, which can be purchased at the entrance to the park.
If you wish, you can please yourself with a trip on the water, enjoy the Dutch landscapes and take beautiful photos. The park uses special old boats, which are ideal for sailing in shallow water.
Children enjoy spending time on the playground or have fun hunting for treasures in the flower park. You can visit the zoo or amateur golf, where you can enjoy magnificent views of the neighboring fields with flowers.
There are several spacious pavilions in the park, and if you are unlucky with the weather, you can wait out the rain with interest. The pavilions themselves represent an extensive exhibition of various flowers: lilac, roses of all kinds of colors, amaryllis, hippeastrum, freesia, gerbera, anthurium, tulips, lilies and many others.
In the Beatrix Pavilion, named after the Queen of the Netherlands, orchids grow. I could not even imagine what bizarre shapes and colors they can be! Various flower shows are held in the pavilions, their exhibits are constantly updated.
A few steps from the Beatrix Pavilion is a tall mill. This old mill has an observation deck. Having risen on it, it is possible to inspect the whole park and outline new routes for yourself.
Keukenhof Sculpture Park
In addition to the huge flowering garden, Keukenhof also has the largest sculpture park in the Netherlands. Here you can see many sculptures created by national and international artists.
Each year, the Keukenhof chooses a different theme and invites artists to exhibit their work, providing each object with the most suitable place for it. Against the background of flowers, art gains even greater expressiveness, and the park gains even greater popularity.
Keukenhof is also an international independent exhibition center for Dutch floriculture. Within eight weeks, when the park is open, in Keukenhof everyone can see the whole range of flowers offered this year by Dutch flower growers.
The main attention is paid to spring bulbous flowers, which are represented by hundreds of suppliers demonstrating their flowering goods. At more than two dozen flower exhibitions, five hundred professionals present cut flowers and potted plants in all their diversity.
Therefore, Keukenhof is of interest not only for tourists, but is also a meeting place for business partners. Introductory seminars are organized here for bulb producers. Keukenhof maintains good relations with relevant organizations from the floriculture and tourism sector around the world.