The Keukenhof Gardens of the Netherlands also known as the Garden of Europe, attract visitors from all over the world and has become a popular annual event on the continent. The gardens become a spectacular display of color every spring. Some 800 varieties of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other spring flowers are planted every year and number an incredible 7 million bulbs. It is the 15th stop in the travel series, A World Far And Away.
The name Keukenhof actually originated from the Dutch word Keukenduin meaning “kitchen dune”. It refers to an area of dunes near Lisse, the site which provided the nearby castle and estate with herbs, berries, game and domesticated cattle. The grounds are situated on former 15th-century hunting grounds.
Keukenhof Gardens is one of the largest flower gardens globally, comprising a total of 70 acres or 32 hectares. Visitors from mid-March to mid-May are encouraged to traverse over 9 miles (15 kilometers) of footpaths, which provide countless vistas of colorful arrangements of spring flowers.
During the flowering season, there are about 20 rotating flower and planting exhibitions in the park’s pavilions. Visitors will be able to view impressive collections of more unusual flowers including lilies, orchids and of course, more rare varieties of tulips.
Keukenhof is also known to be the largest statue garden throughout the Netherlands.
The Keukenhof Gardens were actually founded by then mayor of Lisse in 1949. His idea was to enable Dutch growers and other European flower farmers, to exhibit their flowers as new hybrids were being created.
It was done to help solidly the growth of Dutch exports in flowers. To this day, the Netherlands remains the largest exporter of flowers in the world.
Tourists will find countless opportunities for photos of these beautiful gardens in the spring. Only 20% of all visitors to the tulip gardens are actually from the Netherlands. A full 40% of arrivals come from the neighboring countries of Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.
It has been said the best time to view the tulips, which the Dutch are famous for, is around the middle of April. Of course, that assessment is dependent on the weather, which can vary from year to year.
Along with the endless fields of flowers, the garden park affords travelers a picnic area, a playground and a number of restaurants. The managers of the gardens have sought to provide a family-oriented attraction, with something of interest for all ages.
As one strolls through the park, they will see canals, a maze and even a windmill.
Located in South Holland, the Tulip gardens are only open for two months in the spring, but the nearby Keukenhof Castle Gardens, are open year around. These gardens are located just 500 meters or just a third of a mile, from the more famous Keukenhof Tulip Gardens.
The Castle Gardens are quite unique in the Netherlands. There are various artworks and monuments to see, as well as various planting arrangements from different historical landscaping styles, that encompass centuries of tradition. There are of course, even more flowers of various kinds.
The most impressive display of flowers at the Castle Gardens, is the yearly exhibition of dahlias. The Dahlia gardens are in full bloom from the beginning of August until the end of October. They can be seen in a plethora of colors and shapes.
One of the most striking features of the grounds is the terraced garden on the hill, dating back to 1694. From the top of this hill, one can clearly observe a fabulous view of not only the castle on the one side, but a large expansive view of the park on the other side.
There is also a sculpture garden, that has become a favorite feature for many visitors.
The gardens of the Keukenhof estate are lovely and quite leafy. Hired by the Baron Van Pallandt, renowned architects J.D. Zocher and his son, re-designed some of the commons in the 1850’s. They took their inspiration from landscapes typically seen in England.
In more recent times landscape architect Michael van Gesell has been involved in a restoration, bringing the gardens back to design, that more closely follow the visions of the Zochers.
Admission to the Castle Gardens is free. Individuals can enjoy the special events, and various festivals that the estate hosts during the year. These include the Castlefest, and the Ladies Winternight. The Christmas markets and Halloween festivities, are particularly popular among tourists.
The Castle also provides classical music performances.
Keukenhof Castle itself dates back to the Dutch Golden Age. This exceptionally distinct building was built in 1641, by an administrator for the Dutch East India Company by the name of Adriaen Maertensz Block.
The present outside appearance of the castle dates back to 1860, when the Neo-Gothic features including the towers were added. This was done by Elie Saraber.
The interior of the castle is stunningly preserved, providing a well-rounded representation of how Dutch nobility lived, during this period of time.
Keukenhof Castle contains some important collections of furniture and portraits. The latter includes paintings by the 17th century artist Nicolaes Maes, a former student of the master painter Rembrandt.
One can view an ornately decorated chimney inspired by the works of Daniel Marot, a French architect and designer.
There are also fine examples of gilded and embossed leather hangings, known as Cuir de Cordoue.
Included in the collection of possessions, is a fabulous assemblage of Chinese and Japanese porcelains, displayed in their own distinctively designed cabinet.
This luxurious former residence and its historical artifacts, are open to the public thorugh guided group tours.
Located on the estate, is a playground and even a petting zoo for young children. The animals are mostly from local farms and therefore are not exotics.
Travelers may also wish to visit the on-site Restaurant Hofboerderij. One can partake high tea, enjoy barbecued meat and even create their own pancakes.
Visitors can also extend their viewing of spring flowers in the nearby Bollenstreek. This is known as the flower bulb region of the Netherlands. One can view endless fields of tulips, hyacinths and other types of flowers.
Bike rentals can be arranged at the entrance to the Keukenhof Gardens or online for a fee of 15 Euros the equivalent of $16.85 USD (United States Dollar). The online price is 10 Euros or $11.23 USD.
Located about an hour southwest of the capital city of Amsterdam in the Dutch country side.
Address: Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, Stationsweg 166a, 2161 AM Lisse
Phone: +31 252 465555
If you are not on a tour, public transport is available, from the Amsterdam city center as well as other nearby locations.
It might be more convenient for tourists that are coming from aboard, to purchase a tour package that will include admission and transportation. Many of the tourist deals include visits to nearby attractions, which should be considered based on the length of your vacation. Tours to the Keukenhof can be arranged for less than $100.00 USD. Tours are usually available in Dutch, English, German and Spanish.
It is helpful to remember that you don’t have to choose a specific day, when you buy your tickets online.
Expected ticket prices for the 2020 season to the Keukenhof Gardens on-line.
Adults over the age of 12——–18 Euros ($20.22 USD)
Ages 4 – 11———————— 8 Euros ($8.99 USD)
Kids up to 3 years —————– Free
Parking ticket Day Pass ———— 6 Euros ($6.74 USD)
Bus (return ticket) + Keukenhof Skip the line —– 25 Euros ($28.08 USD)
Keukenhof Guided Tour from Amsterdam including a visit to a real tulip farm.
69 Euros ($77.51 USD)
The Keukenhof Castle Gardens can be viewed free of charge, except during special events.
Keukenhof Castle can be viewed in a tour with the adult price of 10 Euros ($11.29 USD). Children admission price (4-17 years) is priced at 5 Euros ($5.64 USD).
Days and Hours of Operations
Keukenhof Tulip Gardens is closed for 2019. In 2020 the Tulip Gardens will likely open from March 21, 2020 until May 10 2020.
Expected Hours of operation for 2020:
Monday – Saturday: 8:00 am – 7:30 pm (19:30)
Sunday 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (19:00)
Keukenhof Castle Gardens are open daily from April to September from 8:30 am -7:30 pm (19:30). The fall and winter schedules are from October to March from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (16:30).
The Castle viewing is according to the time set for tours.
Is available throughout the town of Lisse and nearby communities. They are numerous hotels and bed & breakfast venues. Hotels in Amsterdam, will be more expensive.
- Purchase tickets on line, to avoid crowds at the entrance of the park, on the day of your visit.
- Wi-Fi is available throughout the park and gardens.
- The grounds are wheelchair accessible.
- Lockers are available to keep luggage and other personal items.
- One can easily spend 4 to 5 hours at just the Keukenhof Gardens alone. If one plans to see the Castle and the surrounding gardens, a visitor should expect to spend an entire day on site.