A Stroll through Keukenhof

Keukenhof, Dutch for kitchen garden, has a history dating back to the 1400’s when Jacoba van Beieren gathered fruit and vegetables in the area for Teylingen Castle. In 1641, Keukenhof Castle was built and the gardens were re-designed in 1857. Ultimately, the park was established in 1949 as a spring garden, today attracting over 1 million visitors each year to enjoy over 7 million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowers during the season in March, April, and May.(http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/)

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Schipol Amsterdam Airport

Our flight from the U.S. arrived at Schipol Amsterdam Airport at 9:20 a.m. With our carry-on luggage in hand, we skipped baggage claim and headed straight for customs. After clearing customs, we stopped at an ATM to get euros then asked for directions at the information desk for the bus to Keukenhof. It’s an enormous airport but bus 858, the Keukenhof Express, stops right outside the door and goes directly to and from Keukenhof all day long. We purchased a combi-ticket for 24 euros each which covered round-trip transportation from Schipol in addition to the entrance fee.

Before 10 a.m., the lines were still short. We boarded the bus with our luggage and took the half hour ride to Keukenhof in Lisse where we arrived directly outside the main entrance. We could have stored our luggage at the park but we decided instead to walk the 2 km (1.24 mi) to our hotel and leave our bags there. We hoped for an early check-in after our overnight flight but our room wasn’t ready so we used the restroom near the lobby to freshen up, left our bags at the hotel, and headed back to the park.

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Keukenhof main entrance

As we entered the park, we picked up a map to find our way around the 32 hectares (79 acres) but we really didn’t devise a plan of attack. Instead, we just wandered in wonder at the beauty surrounding us. Staff explained that the season  was a bit delayed and, while there was a chill in the air, the sun was shining and it was truly a perfect spring day to us. We later heard there was a cold snap several days after our visit with hail and snow and the nearby annual Flower Parade was adversely affected.

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Map of Keukenhof

Also immediately inside the main entrance, we found a charming barrel organ playing folk music that set the stage for visitors.

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Jim taking a break on a walkway in Keukenhof

 

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That’s me crouching behind the tulips

 

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One of over 800 varieties of tulips onsite

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The Delft Blue Garden

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Dutch shoes at the Delft Blue Garden

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View of bulb fields from Keukenhof

Eventually, we found our way to the windmill and climbed it to check out the view.

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Windmill at Keukenhof

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View of bulb fields from the windmill at Keukenhof

Next to the windmill, I spied a ticket counter for the whisper boat canal tour of the bulb fields. We wouldn’t have enough time in Lisse to rent bikes or drive the flower route to see the bulb fields so this seemed like a good opportunity. The tickets were around 8 euros each and rather than standing in line until it was our turn, they scheduled our tour at 2:15 so we could explore further and return at the appointed time.

The whisper boat, powered by electricity, glided silently through the canals while we listened to information through headphones. Tulips originated in central Asia and Turkey and first appeared in Holland in the 16th century. Their extreme popularity resulted in a period in Dutch history called tulip mania during which speculation and soaring prices caused what may have been the first economic bubble.  Today the Netherlands are the largest producer of tulips, half of which are exported. Because the canals and the boats were at the same level as the fields, the views weren’t as good as I expected but nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our tour.

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Selfie on the whisper boat at Keukenhof

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Bulb fields from whisper boat

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Bulb fields

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Bulb fields

After our 45-minute boat ride, we were recharged and ready to walk some more.

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Hyacinth

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Jim put his hand by these tulips to show how big they are

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Another selfie

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Such beauty

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Flower mosaic

The bulbs are provided to the park at no charge by the producers and planted by hand each fall in a new design every year. The theme in 2016 was The Golden Age, referring to the period in Dutch history during the 17th century when tulip mania peaked.

These gardens are arguably the most beautiful in the world. And honestly, the fragrance permeating the air captivated me nearly as much as the amazing sights. I wish I could share the scent of hyacinth with you. If you visit the Netherlands in springtime, a stroll through Keukenhof is not to be missed.

 

Based on events in April 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “A Stroll through Keukenhof

  1. jackie doreen armstrong

    A glimpse of spring on a gray fall day is the perfect lift—thank you Laura.

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  2. Great post and beautiful photos! I have heard so much about this place and cannot wait to visit!

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    • Thank you for stopping by. It’s really an incredibly beautiful place. My husband, who thought it would be boring, was amazed. I’m so glad we made the time for it.

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  3. Anonymous

    Hi,

    I see that you mentioned you were able to bring along you luggage aboard the 858 Bus to Keukenhof. Is it stored in a separate space underneath the bus? Or do you just keep it with you at your seat? We are only bringing along cabin size luggage and planning to go straight to the park after the airport. I’ve message Keukenhof asking about luggage storage because I’m pretty sure ours won’t fit in their locker there and they told me that we could leave it in their office for wheelchair free of charge. It would save us a few Euros by doing so since Schiphol airport now charge baggage storage by item as they no longer have the locker storage. However, they were not sure whether the bus will allow us to bring on board our cabin size luggage. Your blog is the only thing I managed to find that actually state that you did bring your luggage on board and you went in 2016 (most recent post I could find too).

    We also bought the combi ticket of return transfer from Schiphol airport-Keukenhof, so do we straight go to the 858 Bus and just show them our printed ticket (in A4) from the Keukenhof website? Or do we need to go to their counter first to present it and exchange for an actual bus ticket there?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Warm Regards,
    Yvette John

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    • We took our bags with us on the bus. We each had a carryon suitcase and a small backpack. We arrived at Schipol early and we were on an early bus so it wasn’t terribly busy yet but when we returned the next morning, the lines were long. Our ticket was the bus ticket and ticket to get into the gardens and we just showed it to the driver. I hope I’ve answered your questions but if you have any others, please feel free to contact me again. I’m so happy you found my blog. Enjoy your visit to Keukenhof–we loved it!

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      • Anonymous

        Thank you so much for the quick reply! We really appreciate it. ^_^ Our flight from England will be arriving at 9:40AM local time Netherlands. Since we too will only be bringing each a cabin luggage and small backpack each to skip any luggage claim at the airport (saves some time), I hope we are able to go through custom fast too so that we could arrive early to Keukenhof. I am the itinerary planner in our group and was advised to set aside 1hr to 1 1/2hr to go through custom and everything. So I am wondering how long did it took you to get to the bus after passing through custom? Were there a lot of counters open during that time (since you arrived at 9:20AM which is not so much different to our time)

        How long did you spend your time there in Keukenhof (including the boat ride-I’ll see if my husband is interested in this)? And how are the food price there? We are planning to have our lunch there before heading to Amsterdam for check in.

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  4. Customs was quick and it’s just a short walk to the bus. It’s right outside the door but ask directions to go out the correct door. It took us maybe 30-45 minutes total. I’m sure it varies, though, according to how many arrivals they have each day and time.
    We spent the better part of the day at Keukenhof. There were several pavilions we didn’t see so we could have spent more time but we saw plenty and we were tired after the overnight flight. I did check out some of the food places but we decided not to eat there because the wait seemed long. It looked fairly high priced but anytime you visit a busy tourist attraction, that seems to be the case. I would suggest eating early or late to avoid the crowds.
    I hope I addressed your questions sufficiently. If not, let me know. Cheers!

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    • Anonymous

      Sorry for the late reply. I guess we can only hope it won’t take long so we could spend time longer in Keukenhof. I’m also hoping we could reach town before the market close. Would love to go round one of it.

      Again, thank you for all the info. I’ll convey it to my group mates so we could plan the trip a bit better. ^_^ Have a great year ahead and more travelling!

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