What better way to welcome spring than with the blooming of thousands and thousands and thousands of flowers? And not just any flower. Tulips. Fields of tulips of every colour imaginable. Endless rows of tulips set upon immaculate gardens with winding paths and flowing streams. Tulips at each and every turn.
This is what you can expect to see at the Keukenhof, arguably the world’s largest garden of tulips and other bulb flowers, as well as “the most photographed place in the world”, as the official website claims (a claim that I can easily believe).
When Lola and I went to Amsterdam in April 2008, the Keukenhof was at the top of our must-visit places. In fact, long before we flew to Amsterdam, I already purchased the entrance tickets online.
Browsing through the hundreds of photographs that I have in my hard disk, only now do I realise why I’ve been putting off this post for far too long — the intimidating number of photographs that I have of Keukenhof and its flowers have made it difficult for me to choose which ones to feature in this blog.
There’s a portion of the park that has flowers planted in between a row of trees that looks very much like a path of flowers…
There’s a statue based on Gustav Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’…
There are flowers bigger than my hand…
There’s a windmill right in the middle of park…
And if you opt for the boottrip (boat ride), you can see endless fields of tulips, resembling veritable floral rainbows.
The boottrip costs €7.50 per person and lasts for a little over an hour. Personally, I don’t really recommend it because it gets kinda boring at some point. The boat is slow and the fields seem to stretch to infinity. And it was freezing when we were there, despite the thick woolen blankets that the boatman provided. I’d rather spend that hour walking around or cycling around in a rented bike.
The park is huge, hence, you can set aside at least half a day or, preferably, one whole day exploring it. And once fatigue overcomes you, there are areas where you can sit and rest, such as this gorgeous spot right by a tree in full bloom.
Snacks are sold in stalls all throughout and there are five restaurants, each with a terrace overlooking the park, thus you don’t have to worry about starving while in there. I don’t have photos of the restaurants though.
If you want to bring home a part of the Keukenhof, you can do so by purchasing fresh cut flowers and plants. You can also buy bulbs, which will be delivered to you by fall. I was, naturally, very sad that tulips can’t live in Malaysian weather because I would have wanted my very own garden with flowers as magnificent as these…
This year’s Keukenhof is extra special because they’re celebrating their 60th year anniversary this year. KLM joins in the excitement as it is, incidentally, celebrating its 90th birthday this year. And KLM is doing this by having its very own tulip which was christened ‘Tulipa’, a cross between a China Pink and a tetraploid tulip which was developed for the airline by the leading Dutch agricultural university. The Tulipa can be seen at the temporary Keukenhof tulip gardens set up inside Schiphol airport and of course, at the “real” Keukenhof, which is just 20 miles from the airport.
Photo from http://www.fluwel.eu/
Tickets to the Keukenhof cost €13.50 each for adults, €6.50 each for children, and €13.00 each for senior citizens. For group purchase (from 20 persons and above), the discounted rate of €11.50 each applies. In case you go there by car, a parking ticket costs €6.00. The e-tickets are valid until the last day of the Keukenhof, i.e. 21st May, 2009.
For tourists, I guess the easiest way to get there is by taking a train to Schiphol airport from Amsterdam Central Station, then taking Bus 58 to Lisse, where Keukenhof is located. There’s a bus every 15 minutes. For other means of getting there, please click here.
The park is open daily from 08:00 – 19:30 (8 am to 7.30 pm). But if you plan to take Bus 58 back to Schiphol Airport, better check the bus schedules first in order to make sure that you don’t get stranded in Keukenhof and end up missing your flight!