The One with Keukenhof, The Netherlands

Thursday, April 30, 2015

On our second day of vacation we drove to the famous Keukenhof flower festival!
Keukenhof is the greatest flower garden on earth and open for only two months each spring. Every season 7,000,000 (yep, that's seven million!) flowers bloom across the 80 acre park. 
The name Keukenhof, meaning "kitchen garden," goes back to the 15th century when Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria gathered fruit and vegetables from the woods and dunes here for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. The current Keukenhof Castle was built in 1641 and the estate grew to an area over 200 hectares. In 1949 a group of 20 flower bulb workers and exporters came up with a plan to use the estate for a permanent exhibition of spring-flowering bulbs. This idea signaled the beginning of Keukenhof as a spring park. 
The park first opened its gates to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, with 236,000 visitors during that first season alone. During the last 65 years, this park has grown into a world-famous attraction.
Looks like pink popcorn!
The park is a showcase for Dutch floriculture with an emphasis on flower bulbs. 100 different companies participate and show off their catalogue of flowers.
Not all the flowers at Keukenhof are outside. There are several pavillons around the grounds packed with flowers, arrangements, potted plants, and shrubs.
The first pavilion we explored was the Willem-Alexander Pavilion that showcased thousands of tulips. It smelled like heaven and was bursting with color. 
Me at the Keukenhof.
Even the chairs were colorful.
Fox being silly. As usual :)
An incredible amount of work goes into the park year-round to prepare for the eight weeks of the spring season. Each spring the garden designer walks around the park to see where improvements could be made. By May, he has already finished his designs of the park for the coming year, taking into consideration the wide range of color combinations and blooming times and lengths for each flower type.
Then, a team of 30 gardeners start planting the 7 million bulbs in mid-September. All of the bulbs are planted by hand which takes around three months. New grass is sown before each opening season to ensure that there is a fresh, green backdrop when the park opens. At the end of each season all the bulbs are dug up and destroyed (!!!!!!) and the cycle begins again.
To achieve the longest possible flowering season the Keukenhof gardeners use "lasagna" layered planting. The various bulbs are planted in several layers with the late-flowering varieties on the bottom, the April-flowering bulbs in the middle, and the early-flowering bulbs on top. Genius!

Each year Keukenhof has a theme and in 2015 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh's death, the theme was Van Gogh! The highlight of the theme is a 250 square meter flower bulb mosaic of the artist made up of thousands of tulips and hyacinths. Alas, the portrait had not yet bloomed. 
Evans family at the Keukenhof on Tuesday April 14th 2015.
Ginormous purple flower pots.
I spy some flowering fields!
Trying to get a closer look.
Picturesque (non-functioning) windmill.
Fox and I went up into the windmill to get a better view of more fields. We were too early in the festival - all of the brown will be blooming with flowers in just a couple weeks. Next time :)
This was the best waffle I got anywhere in The Netherlands and Belgium, believe it or not. The caramel topping was divine!
Chris and Fox - hard core Parkour.
These kids and swings! I should make a collage of all the swings they've been on around Europe.
Our family amidst the tulips.
Such a colorful and fun-filled day! Next stop: Brussels, Beglium!


  1. *sigh* it would be like dying and going to heaven right there!!! I would LOVE to visit there!!!!!

  2. That's a lot of flowers!! I'm pretty sure this place puts our local gardens to shame!! HA!

  3. I did a study abroad in The Netherlands when I was in college and made it to Keukenhof a couple of times. It remains one of my favorite places & I can't wait to get back there some day (it's only been 18 years already). Thanks for taking me back there!


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