Discovering Keukenhof, the Dutch tulip park, just a few kilometers from Amsterdam.
The number one question that set the stage for organizing our trip to Amsterdam was: WHERE TO SEE TULIPS IN AMSTERDAM? After then deciding to visit the Dutch capital in spring, we immediately searched online for the perfect place to see the spring blooms near Amsterdam, and it was not that difficult to find it. In fact, everyone was recommending a visit to Keukenhof, and a few photographs found on Instagram removed all doubt: I definitely wanted to go there!
Keukenhof is a Dutch botanical park located near the town of Lisse, about 35 kilometers from Amsterdam, which transforms into a riot of colors and scents every year during spring. I don’t know about you, but visiting the Netherlands during the tulip blooming period has always been one of my greatest desires. Maybe it’s that I madly love all kinds of flowers, their scents and colors that leave me heart-eyed every time. It may be that my mom passionately grows an exaggerated amount of plants and I grew up surrounded by geraniums, roses, orchids and hydrangeas.
How to get to Keukenhof
Having landed in Amsterdam on Friday evening, as soon as we reached our hotel (we stayed at the Mercure Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station) we catapulted onto the Museum app to purchase tickets for a visit to the park. As I mentioned in the article on where to eat in Amsterdam, due to personal problems we were unable to book anything before our departure, so we organized hour by hour our every move directly on site.
With our tickets on our smartphones and after a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we headed to Keukenhof. Getting there is not difficult: just take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Schipol and, once there, board Keukenhof Express bus No. 858 at arrivals gate No. 4. This convenient bus service, which departs every 15 minutes, takes about 35 minutes to get there and stops right in front of the park entrance.
The park’s origins
Not everyone knows that this majestic park until the 15th century was part of the Dutch hunting grounds. It was later used by Countess Jacqueline of Hainaut to grow fruits and vegetables. The harvest was then consumed in Teylingen Castle (and it was from here that it later took its name: Keukenhof in fact means vegetable garden).
The garden as we admire it today, however, was designed later, in the 19th century, when the Baron and Baroness of Van Pallandt commissioned two landscape architects to create it.
Keukenhof: 7 million bulb flowers
Once you enter, you will be overwhelmed by scents of all kinds, but mostly by colors. In fact, the park encloses more than 7 million bulb flowers, planted every year, in about 32 hectares of land. Can you imagine the spectacle? We spent the morning there, getting lost among the various types of gardens and the four greenhouses, surrounded not only by tulips, but also by a fantastic collection of hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers.
Surrounded by tulips and flowers of all kinds
Within the park you can admire different types of gardens, each with its own style. For example, you will find the Japanese garden, English-style gardens, and even a natural garden consisting of a body of water and perennials. All are linked by the same characteristic: whether tulips or hyacinths, they are filled with colorful and fragrant flowers. Within an area of Keukenhof park they also set up a different flower arrangement each year dedicated to a particular theme related to the Netherlands.
Even outside Keukenhof you can admire expanses of blooming tulips, which you will also notice during the bus ride to get there. These fields, which you can photograph by climbing the terrace of the mill located inside the park, are privately owned and therefore cannot be “visited.” A little trick: as you walk around the areas surrounding the park, you may run into the locals who own the fields. Very politely, then asking them for permission, it is possible that they will let you in to take some photographs, surrounded by beautiful colorful tulips. It doesn’t hurt to tempt them!
And if you get hungry.
You cannot leave Keukenhof Park without first indulging in frites. These are the Dutch fries, double-fried in peanut oil and served inside handy cones. Bintje potatoes, large and yellow-fleshed, are used, cut and fried directly in the kiosks set up inside the park. After a morning, spent touring the park in search of the most beautiful tulips, a serving of frites is just what you need!