Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens

Last week, we visited my sister-in-law in Amsterdam. Presented with a sunny day at just the right time of year, of course we had to make a day trip to Keukenhof Gardens!

Tulips predominate in the gardens.
Tulips predominate in the gardens, but there are lots of other flowers as well.

Keukenhof, located in the town of Lisse, about half an hour from Amsterdam by car, is one of the biggest flower gardens in the world, with around seven million bulbs planted annually. (Yes, they replant them every year, I am not sure why.) Originally a palace hunting ground, the gardens were conceived in 1949 as a showcase for Dutch flower producers. It worked: millions of tourists from all over the world pay 16 Euros (about $18) apiece to visit the gardens every spring.

Lovely!
Lovely!

So, yes, it is a tourist trap. But a very enjoyable one, and well worth the price of admission if you have any interest in gardening or photography. Especially on a rare, sunny, warm spring day in northern Europe.

Good thing everyone is happy.
Good thing everyone is happy.

One tip if you visit Keukenhof: because the crowds really are kind of overwhelming, try going on early on a weekday. We arrived about 11:30 AM on a Thursday—we were delayed a bit by traffic on the way there—and had an hour or so of relative peace before the tour buses showed up. It really wasn’t that bad, but if I go again, I’ll try to get started a couple of hours earlier for a more serene experience.

There were lots of interesting color combinations in the gardens.
There were lots of interesting color combinations in the gardens.

Also, because of the crowds, we were glad that we took my sister-in-law’s advice and packed a couple of sandwiches. It would have been a major hassle to buy any of the overpriced food at the park. I noticed several other people brought small picnics as well. They were probably Dutch.

"Big Love" tulips.
“Big Love” tulips.
Daffodils and hyacinths were also featured.
Daffodils and hyacinths were also featured.
Tulips and other bulb flowers were available at several stands in the park.
Tulips, lilies, and other bulb flowers were available for sale at several stands in the park.
A pretty border (this is my favorite kind of garden!)
A pretty mixed border (this is my favorite kind of garden!)
Colorful sculptures around the lake.
Colorful sculptures around the lake.
Just some more pretty.
Just some more pretty.
Millions of hyacinths.
Millions of hyacinths.
Gardeners were individually staking the hyacinths with tiny wires.
Teams of gardeners were individually staking the hyacinths with tiny wires. No droopy flowers allowed!
Big tulip heart.
Big tulip heart.
Strawberries and cream in the garden.
Strawberries and cream in the garden, yum!
Of course there was a windmill.
Of course there was a windmill.
A "river" of hyacinths flows through the woods.
A “river” of hyacinths flows through the woods.
Just outside the park, acres and acres of commercial tulip fields.
Just outside the park, acres and acres of the famous tulip fields. You can take a boat trip along the canals than run through the fields, but we decided to skip that.

We got so lucky with the weather that day, because the next two days were cold and drizzly. So, we checked out museums in Amsterdam, and went on a short day trip to Enkhuizen. More about that later.

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4 comments

  1. Keukenhof is glorious! The time and planning those gardeners put into imagining each bed and bringing it to full bloom is incredible — it’s one of my favorite places. I agree about beating the crowds. Early mornings, weekdays are best. We’ve even enjoyed it immensely on a drizzly day – but nothing compares to spring sunshine on all those colors!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely on my bucket list! What a gorgeous day for it. There are lovely tulip fields in April in Skagit Valley in WA I discovered a few years ago – if you’re ever on the west coast that time of year it’s a gorgeous place to visit. But I doubt they compare with the original in Keukenhof.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My goodness will you look at how glorious those fields of flowers are! I just got back from Giverny where the tulips are in bloom too. But seeing so many of them all together making a path of color is epic! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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