On the 23 of March 2023, the Garden of Europe - Keukenhof was opened for the season. I have not visited for more than a decade and there is no better way to start spring than with a dose of beautiful flowers.
Keukenhof is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world. It is famous for its tulips but other flowers can be found there as well. This flower garden is located about half an hour from Amsterdam in a town called Lisse. Since 1949, this location is being used to exhibit beautiful flowers. It is worth the trip to see these blooms which are synonymous with the dutch.
Upon entering the garden, one is greeted by 2 young ladies dressed in dutch 15th century costumes.
The purple, yellow, red and violet crocuses behind them was also a warm welcome and heralded what next would come.
It is still early spring, so not all bulbs are in bloom. Despite having a great imagination, I have a good reason to return.
Visiting on the first day, meant this famous landmark was less crowded - but the trade off is that fewer trees and blooms are showing off their green leaves or colorful petals. However, there is always something to see
beautifully lined walking paths
and the gardens was not disappointing.
As the garden is in a park, there are beech and oak trees lining canals which is a beautiful backdrop for the flowers.
sky high scarlet tulips and beech trees
I saw people walking in the water.
I decided to discover this for myself. It felt a bit strange at first but I did not fall in 😄 and managed to take this special photo.
Walking along, I discovered hyacynths in full bloom.
I was mesmerized,
but there was more to discover. There were cherry blossom trees showing off their delicate pink flowers.
However, just across this bridge
a magnolia tree was drawing a lot of attention.
This one across from the white crocuses stood out as well.
Throughout the gardens there are many benches and resting places if your legs become weary traversing this expansive garden. There are foodstalls for quick snacks and 6 pavilions with restaurants (vegan and non-vegan). These pavilions also have flower shows - so flowers are not only outside but also inside. I wandered into the pavilion named after the dutch king Willem-Alexander. In addition to tulips - the main exhibit here was amaryllis of every colour and variety.
Close to the pavilion was a typical dutch symbol - a windmill. It was gifted by the Holland America Shipping line to Keukenhof and has been at this location since 1957. This old windmill was build in 1892.
It is fitting that the gift shop next to the windmill was filled with "klompen" - dutch for clogs (wooden shoes). One can imagine planting flowers bulbs in their garden whilst wearing these sturdy clogs.
The adjacent area was so dramatic with the contrasting purple and yellow tulips - everywhere was so beautiful.
I felt as though this was my favorite area especially this wild section.
There is something here for everyone. If you have children - they can visit the maze, playground
Nijntje (Miffy) playground
or petting zoo.
It is possible to go on a boat ride, take a tour guide or rent bicycles to tour the fields(when in full bloom). I did not take a guide but I met 2 of the gardeners who work tirelessly to ensure the gardens are immaculately kept.
They were happy to tell a bit about their wonderful workplace. There are are 40 workers in total and they handplant 7 million bulbs every year, for our viewing pleasure. The entire grounds, which is the gardens and fields, cover approximately 32 hectares(79 acres). All must be planted in the fall in order for us to enjoy the gardens during spring. All weeding is also done by hand.
I only had time to visit about one third of the gardens. This is not a place to rush through; instead one must delight in and savor this floral experience. The gardens are only opened until the 14 May. I will return mid-April when the gardens and fields are in full bloom. That will be something to look forward to.
Although a perfectly kept and manicured garden - it is a lovely escape to beautiful nature. Visitors were unusually quiet so there was a sense of peace and joy in this beautiful setting. There is enough to see and do here and it is definitely worth a trip to this amazingly beautiful garden.
All photos are my own. Please do not use without permission.