Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, is flower garden. It is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam.
The word ‘Keukenhof’ can be translated to ‘kitchen garden’ in Dutch, in reference to the herbs that used to be gathered in the area for the castle kitchen.
The mayor of Lisse organised the first Keukenhof exhibit in 1949.
The idea was to present a flower exhibit where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe could show off their hybrids – and help the Dutch export industry (the Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of flowers).
Keukenhof is the largest flower garden on Earth, with approximately seven million bulbs with a total of 800 varieties of tulips, covering an area of 32 hectares (79 acres).
Besides the spacious 32 hectares (79 acres) of flowers you can enjoy the spectacular flower shows, surprising inspirational gardens, unique artwork and wonderful events.
Keukenhof is only open eight weeks each year from mid-March to mid-May, with the flower-viewing peak in mid-April. And, in that time, welcomes around one million visitors.
Although known for tulips, Keukenhof is home to the world’s largest lily show, during the last 10 days of the opening season.
Keukenhof has competitions for the best flowers grown by exhibitors, with awards like tulip awards and rose awards.
Each year, Keukenhof has a different theme. For 2014, the theme was Holland, represented by a 13 by 23 meters mosaic made of 60,000 tulips and muscaris.
Vincent van Gogh was theme for 2015.The Van Gogh mosaic measures 13 by 23 metres and has been created from almost 60,000 tulip and Muscari bulbs.
The special theme for the Keukenhof in 2016 is ‘The Golden Age’. This is the 17th century period in which the Netherlands went through a flourishing era in the fields of trade, arts and sciences.It was also the period in which the tulip trade thrived, making it a perfect fit for these special gardens. Look out for special flower presentations inspired by the Golden Age.
There are about 30 full-time gardeners, who work year-round at Keukenhof.
Each autumn, the gardeners plant the bulbs, by hand, in a completely new design. It takes about 3 months. The bulbs are selected to bloom throughout the eight-week opening period.
The gardeners dig out bulbs, at the end of each open season, and destroy them. Most are used as food for livestock.
At one end of the garden you can see a large windmill.
They have numerous greenhouses as well.
The Keukenhof doesn’t contain the long fields of tulips many visitors expect. However, there are tulip fields outside the Garden (mostly privately owned).
Keukenhof is known to be one of the most photographed sites in the world.
Keukenhof Garden even sells out different samplers of different tulips that you can purchase and try growing in your hometown or country.
Most all of the blooming flowers are marked with the name and grower, so if you fall in love with one particular hybrid, write it down and find the grower’s kiosk or tent.
The Keukenhof gardens are directly opposite a building known as ‘Keukenhof Castle’, which was built in 1642.
Keukenhof was originally a place for hunting in the 1400s.