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Blooming Beauty of the Keukenhof in the Netherlands

The land of clogs, tulips, and windmills — the Netherlands — is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the world, including the Windmills of Kinderdijk, De Hoge Veluwe National Park and its lovely acres of woods, and the idyllic village of Ijsselmeer. But among all the places to see in the country, the Keukenhof steals the most hearts. Why? It is the largest flower garden in the world; a paradise full of vibrant colors.

Keukenhof: An introduction

Situated in the humble town of Lisse, the Keukenhof is the pride of the Netherlands. It is known as the “Garden of Europe,” a fitting name for its sheer size of 79 acres.

Every year, 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the garden. Expect a collection of hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, carnations, lilies, irises, tulips, roses, and many more when you visit. Just imagine the fragrance filling the air. However, such a grand sight is elusive to the public as the garden is only open for two months every year. But set your expectations high because when the gates are open during mid-March to mid-May, the flower fields are in full bloom — a heavenly spectacle.

Going back to the genesis of the Keukenhof, it used to be a small area belonging to Teylingen Castle. Who could guess that the area was originally a hunting ground? Countess Jacoba saw a better use of the garden since it was near the kitchen, and she planted small herbs, earning it its name, which literally translates to “kitchen garden.”

(Image: Balou46 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)
Who could guess that the area was originally a hunting ground? (Image: Balou46 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

The countess didn’t live long though, and succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 35 in 1433. As for the estate, the land was passed among merchants for several years. Finally, in the 19th century, Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt got the title to the land. They wanted a more structured garden around the castle, and who would be better to design the nobilities’ garden than the father and son team from Zocher architects — famous for their Vondelpark design in Amsterdam. And so the Baron and Baroness hired the duo. The world is more than pleased with the architects’ work as it is the foundation of the park since its establishment in 1857.

Some tips for your visit

The Keukenhof is only open for two months, which means you have to plan your trip to make the most out of it.

Plan ahead

Consider the time and date of your visit. You can’t be too early nor too late if you want to see most of the collections in full bloom. So aim for mid-April.

Spend a day

As for the time, the garden sprawls over 79 acres so you need at least half a day to see the garden in all its grandeur. If you want, you can spend the whole day there. You don’t need to worry about where to eat or stay. There are many restaurants and hotels around the attraction. Also, don’t forget to get a map at the entrance so you don’t get lost.

(Image: Joost Pals via flickr CC BY 2.0 )
You need at least half a day to see the garden in all its grandeur. (Image: Joost Pals via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Explore deeper into the garden

The garden is not only filled with flowers, but it is also filled with tourists. Obviously, this is to be expected. But here’s a secret tip: The further you are from the entrance, the less crowded it is. Not everyone is willing to go beyond and into the remote areas of the garden. So grab the chance and stroll a little further.

If you ever get the chance to travel to the Netherlands, be sure to see if the Keukenhof is open for a visit!

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