Keukenhof Park Holland
People travel for all sorts of reasons. Some people travel to experience another culture, to indulge in foreign cuisines, to witness awe-inspiring architecture, to travel down historically significant, well-trodden roads, to set their eyes on timelessness artworks revered the globe over. And some travel for flowers.
While flora might not top the typical list of travel inducing triggers for the average explorer, I would personally consider this a terrible oversight.
Floral sightseeing is the elusive, snubbed beauty of the travel world. Often only blooming for a short cycle during the year, these delicate wonders are ever so irritatingly unattainable unless especially planned for and sought after.
While writing quite so bitterly and earnestly about the grandness of flowers might seem a touch farcical, the joke is evidently on the non-believer, for clearly they have yet to experience the majestic beauty that is a field of blooming tulips, as only Keukenhof Park can present.
Located in Lisse, a half an hour out of Amsterdam, you would be forgiven for not knowing of its existence. Every year approximately 15,749,000, visitors arrive in Amsterdam presumably lured by a range of attractions (read. prostitution and weed). Large as that figure is, it is not altogether surprising given that Amsterdam ranks 7th in the scheme of most visited European cities. Perhaps what it is less widely known is that around 800,000 tourists make a trip to the Keukenhof gardens during the short two months that it’s open, bursting with floral life.
For many the Tulip is the true identifying of the Netherlands, which makes Keukenhof its vibrant center.
Historically rich, Keukenhof is situated on 15th century hunting grounds, which were also part of the Teylingen Castle estate for many centuries. Keukenhof literally translates to ‘Garden Kitchen’, a name attributed to the game hunted on its premises as food for the castle’s occupants.
Since those early days the gardens have remained largely the same until a redesign conducted by landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher (who also designed Amsterdam's Vondelpark) made the changes that still form the foundation of modern day Keukenhof.
If Tulips are the name of the game, then the Dutch are the world champions. With Keukenhof’s first bulb flower showcase taking place in 1949, the unsurpassable original version of the slender flower was undoubtedly the star of the show. Today this classic beauty can be spotted in all the colours of the rainbow as well as in unique variations ranging from the remarkable, to the strange and bizarre.
Creative landscape design and glorious indoor galleries see Keukenhof mould the tulip into living and breathing works of art. Covering an area of 32 hectares, these gardens represent the rich and vibrant Dutch growing history all while providing the perfect backdrop for picnics and a flawless setting for simply getting lost.
Offering tasty morsels like pomme frittes, herring, burgers, bitterballen and waffles, a visit to the gardens is never complete until a sample of classic Dutch fast foods have been consumed amongst the flowers. Lay down on the patches of tulip-free grass and watch as the artfully grown flowers create hysteria in small children and adults alike.
Sadly, as with all good things, this enchanting attraction doesn’t last forever and can only be experienced during a few short weeks as the elusive tulip season only spans between the months of March and May.
Keukenhof gives travellers a unique experience rich in history, local cuisine, art and, of course, flowers. Lots of flowers. A cultural experience tied up in millions of pretty flowers, take a trip to Keukenhof and experience the majesty of 7 million blooming tulips and so much more.