Keukenhof is near Lisse, a short drive to the south of Amsterdam, a 32 hectare park filled not only with tulips but also hyacinths, daffodils and other spring bulbs. It’s a sight you have to see to believe. You can imagine the aroma but the sight is even more spectacular, so do remember to bring your camera.
For the last 54 years more than 50 million people have been visiting Keukenhof Flower Festival – millions of flowers, around 7 million bulbs are apparently planted annually, creating amazing colours and patterns. This year those patterns are themed around the United Kingdom, The Land of Great Gardens, as Keukenhof recognises how the UK has inspired gardeners throughout the years with very different garden types and designs.
Given the UK theme it will be of particular interest to flower and garden enthusiasts to attend, so we recommend taking a ferry to France and driving down to Amsterdam for a short break to see it for yourself. It’s open from the 21st March to the 20th May.
Apart from seeing how the Dutch have portrayed the UK with an amazing flower mosaic of Big Ben and Tower Bridge, you can also get tips from gardening experts for your own garden.
It’s just what you need to get inspired for the coming summer for your own garden, albeit on a smaller scale! Then you can take your ideas and search out some floral bargains so you can take them back with you on the Dover ferry from Calais.
Keukenhof isn’t just for adults, children can also learn about how flowers grow, why Holland is so important and the difference between the many flowers. There’s also a large playground with climbing equipment, a petting zoo, a maze and a scavenger hunt.
The Flower Parade
On Saturday 20th April at 9.30, the annual Flower Parade takes to the road from Noordwijk to Haarlem where it will travel 40km along main roads for almost 12 hours. This free parade consists of 20 large floats and more than 30 decorated luxury cars combined with entertainment. Make sure you’re one of the many spectators in a prime position to witness this spectacular event.
On Friday 19th April there will be an illuminated parade in Noordwijkerhout at 19.30hrs, making its way to Noordwijk at 21.00hrs. The following evening it arrives in Haarlem, where it will stay until the next day for all to admire. If you’re already in the park, you’ll be able to leave to watch the parade go by and re-enter to continue your visit until it’s time to drive back to catch the ferry to England.
The History of Keukenhof
Keukenhof Park was a hunting ground back in the 15th century with beautifully wild bushes and dunes. Following the death of the original owners Keukenhof was owned by a rich family, Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt, and it was they who invited the landscape architects who designed the Amsterdam Vondelpark, to design the garden around their castle in a traditional English style, and this has remained the basis of Keukenhof.
The estate is now owned by a Foundation, an initiative of the Lisse mayor at that time, along with some leading flower growers and exporters. The first flower exhibition took place here in 1949 and has grown annually, along with the flowers!
For more ferry information, visit MyFerryLink