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6 unique reasons to visit Keukenhof Gardens this spring

With canal boat rides and a windmill with a view, there are so many ways to experience this festival of spring.

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If spring is your favourite season to take a holiday, then you will love the Netherlands. For just eight weeks between March and May, the Keukenhof Gardens open its gates to the public, drawing millions of visitors from around the world. Nestled in the Netherlands south, just a 40-minute drive from Amsterdam, "the Garden of Europe" is a spectacle of colour, each year coming alive with vibrant tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils.

With ever-changing themes, attractions, and interesting side trips, there are so many reasons to plan a trip to Keukenhof.

More flowers than you’ve ever seen before

At 32 hectares, Keukenhof is one of Europe’s largest gardens. Each spring, the site is filled with upwards of seven million bulbs. The flowers throughout the gardens are mainly tulips (there are 800 different types of tulips), but you can also keep an eye (and a nose) out for irises, lilies, carnations, orchids, and lilies.

A view from the top

You can get an excellent view of the kaleidoscopic colours by simply wandering the beautiful pathways that connect all the gardens and attractions, but another way to experience all the flower power is to get a little higher up.

The Keukenhof Molen is a classic example of a Dutch windmill (many of which dot the landscape in this region of the Netherlands). During your visit, you have the option to ascend the steep staircase to get an unforgettable view of the fields in bloom below.

The colourful history

​​The Netherlands is the leading global grower and trader of flowers, with the industry taking in $4.2 billion for the country each year. And tulips make up a massive part of the country’s floral exports. But you might be surprised to know that tulips are not native to the Netherlands, and they were first introduced to the country in the late 16th century, having been imported from the Ottoman Empire.

Keukenhof was established a little bit before this, being the grounds for Countess Jacoba van Beieren in the 15th century. She lived in a nearby castle, and the gardens were used to grow her herbs. Fast-forward to 1949, when 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters devised a plan to use the grounds to display exquisite bulbs during the spring. By 1950, the garden had opened to 236,000 visitors, gradually becoming an internationally-recognised attraction. 

The annual theme

Each and every year, Keukenhof’s annual spring festival takes on a new theme. Past themes have included Flower Power, Romance in Flowers, and even Van Gogh. The 2022 theme is set to be Flower Classics.

Canal ride amidst the colour

If you’re tired from wandering through all the gardens, another great reason to visit Keukenhof is that you can take a canal boat ride along the waterways that weave right by the stunning gardens and bulbfields.

Side trip to Amsterdam

As Amsterdam is under an hour’s journey from Keukenhof, you might like to take the opportunity to tie your flower trip with a visit to the fascinating Dutch capital. Explore the city’s charming canals and cobblestone streets, stopping by at some of its historic museums and unique coffee shops.

Excited to spend springtime at Keukenhof? Book your place on our Amsterdam & the Dutch Bulbfields tour now.

Serena is a writer based in London. Born in Malaysia and raised in Australia, she calls the UK home despite only recently acclimatising to the dearth of sunshine. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Business Insider, South China Morning Post, i-D, Refinery29, Glamour, Vox, Metro, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan. She has also published a book of aerial photography: How Women See The World. Throughout her decade-long career, Serena has told the stories of Arctic explorers, human rights activists, award-winning chefs, refugees, and the UK’s last lighthouse keepers.

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