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Travel / Tours / Netherlands / Keukenhof
Visit the Keukenhof gardens and nearby flower-related attractions
  Keukenhof - gardens
  Museum de Zwarte Tulp (Lisse) - tulip museum
  Hortus Botanicus (Leiden) - botanical garden
  Flower Parade
  Further information


Photos from a visit to the gardens of Keukenhof (in the South Holland region of the Netherlands). It is easy to make a day-trip here from most of the major cities of the Netherlands, including from Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam or Utrecht. Note that Keukenhof is only open for two months each year (from mid-March until mid-May).

This page also contains details about two related attractions in this area (the tulip museum in Lisse and the botanical garden in Leiden), and about the annual Flower Parade which takes place in this region.

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Keukenhof is a popular Dutch attraction, located a short walk from the small town of Lisse. Visitors can enjoy walking in the 32-hectare park, in which seven million bulbs are planted.

In the early 15th century the site was used as the hunting estate and as a herb garden for a castle, owned by duchess called Jacoba van Beieren. The name Keukenhof means "herb garden". The layout of the park was designed in the mid 19th century by the same landscape architect who created the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, in the style of an English landscape garden. In 1949 a group of bulb growers came up with the idea of putting on a spring flower exhibition here. This proved to be a successful showcase for the Dutch bulb trade, and it became an annual event.

The park includes colourful flower beds, themed areas and water features, as well as sculptures by Dutch artists.

There are also five pavilions to explore:
- Juliana (named after the Queen of the Netherlands from 1948-1980)
- Wilhelmina (named after the Queen of the Netherlands from 1898-1948)
- Willem Alexander (named after the current Prince of Orange)
- Beatrix (named after the current Queen of the Netherlands)
- Oranje Nassau (the name of the Royal House of the Netherlands)
Most of the pavilions contain seasonal flower displays: tulips, chrysanthemums, roses, orchids, begonias, lilies and other plants. Each year there are special exhibitions of traditional costumes, arts or crafts, and there are flower arranging demonstrations.

There is a windmill which was built in 1892 and used for drainage. It was moved to Keukenhof in 1957. Visitors can climb to a viewing platform.

Food and drink is available in the pavilions and near the entrance and the windmill. There are also some mobile stalls.

Children's attractions in the park include an animal enclosure, a play area, a maze, and wandering costumed characters.

Costumed staff welcome visitors
(15th century Dutch uniform)

A barrel organ is played
near the main entrance

Flower beds are planted with
flowers of many colours

in bloom

Red tulips

Entrance to one of the pavilions

A display of lilies


You can visit this windmill ...

... or rest your feet in these giant clogs


There are many Dutch statues
in the gardens

Bicycles can be hired
to explore the neighbouring area

View of the neighbouring flower fields while in full bloom
(note that flowers are cut off soon after they bloom)

You can take a 1-hour boat tour around
the flower fields (starting near the windmill)

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A short walk from Keukenhof is the town of Lisse. One of the attractions here is the Museum de Zwarte Tulp (Black Tulip Museum). You can learn how the lowlands were reclaimed from the sea, the ways in which the landscape has changed, the history of the bulb trade and how bulbs have been cultivated. You can ask to see a short film about tulip growing or about the spectacular annual flower parade in this area.

Old machinery used for bulb planting
in the Netherlands

"Rembrandt" tulips: the attractive markings
on this type were caused by a viral disease

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Hortus botanicus (at Rapenburg 73, Leiden; 15 minutes' walk from Leiden's Central Station) is a botanical garden which is part of Leiden University. In 1593 the botanist Carolus Clusius became curator of these gardens and planted some tulip seedlings (brought from Central Asia) in the sandy soil of the gardens, with great success. Soon afterwards bulbs were stolen from here and sold, leading to the establishment of the Dutch tulip trade. The garden is open to visitors (an admission charge applies). Among the attractions are a restored version of Clusius' garden, a fern garden and greenhouses containing plants from across the world, including many Asian varieties.

Tulip Mania
In the early 17th century tulips became a status symbol for the wealthy and the prices of the more unusual types rose sharply. A speculative bubble was created as people tried to become rich by investing in tulip bulbs. "Tulip mania" lasted from 1620 to 1637, when a bulb could cost as much as a house. Soon afterwards the prices collapsed and many people lost fortunes.

Carolus Clusius (1526-1609):
early breeder of Dutch tulips

Hortus Botanicus:
horticultural garden in the university town of Leiden

Crossed keys:
the symbol of Leiden

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In April each year there is a Flower Parade (locally known as the "Bloemencorso") through the streets of the bulb-growing region. Floats and cars are decorated using thousands of bulbs, and marching bands perform. Spectators watch from the roadside along the 40km route, which starts in Noordwijk in the morning, passes through Lisse in the middle of the afternoon, and ends in Haarlem in the evening. The displays are kept on display in Haarlem on the following day, before they are taken apart.

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* Tours
To book a half-day or full-day tour to Keukenhof starting from Amsterdam: click here

* Transportation
To travel independently to Keukenhof, take the train to Leiden and then take the Keukenhof Express from the bus station outside (services run about once every 15 minutes, and the journey takes 25 minutes). You can buy a combined ticket combines bus travel and entry to Keukenhof.

The Keukenhof Express (bus 54)

* Visitor information
Keukenhof (English version is available):
[ Smelik & Stokking: - galleries are in Amsterdam, Den Haag and Rotterdam ]
Museum de Zwarte Tulp (in Lisse):
Hortus Botanicus (in Leiden):
Flower Parade (annual event in the bulb-growing area of the Netherlands):

* Weather forecast
The Hague (not far from Keukenhof):

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Amsterdam: Travel/Tours/Netherlands/Amsterdam
The Hague: Travel/Tours/Netherlands/TheHague
Delft: Travel/Tours/Netherlands/Delft

Chelsea Flower Show: Ideas/Album/ChelseaFlowerShow
Hampton Court Flower Show: Ideas/Album/HamptonCourt
The Eden Project: Travel/Tours/England/Eden-Project
Garden photos: Britain/Photos/Gardens

Home page: Home

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