All You Need to Know About Keukenhof Tulip Gardens
On 23 March 2017, Keukenhof is opening its gates for the 68th time. With 7 million bulbs and 800 varieties of tulips, this flower wonderland attracts over a million visitors annually and is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. To give you a closer insight into Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, AmsterDO spoke to Annemarie Gerards, the PR manager at the organization.
With Annemarie’s help, we’ve collected all the information you need to know prior to the visit. Read it through and you will get the most out of your experience in this majestic spring garden!
The Basics of Keukenhof Tulip Gardens
Keukenhof is not located in Amsterdam but in a small town called Lisse, southwest of the Dutch capital. Despite its somewhat remote location, it’s very easy to get to (more on that later in the article).
In 2017, the park is open from March 23rd until May 21st, working daily from 8:00 till 19:30 (the ticket office closes at 18:00).
Here is a sneak peek at the garden:
Theme 2017: Dutch Design
Starting from 2006, Keukenhof has had a different theme every year. The previous editions were focused on the distinctive icons of the Netherlands or celebrated the Dutch relations with foreign countries. This year, the theme is Dutch design.
To mark a 100-year anniversary of the popular Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl, Keukenhof draws attention to minimalism, modesty and innovation associated with Dutch design and presents the heritage of the artists that laid the foundation for it. “The whole country celebrates the anniversary of De Stijl, and we are happy to be a part of it too”, says Annemarie Gerards.
Don’t miss the flower bulb mosaic next to the Oranje Nassau Pavilion, as well as the flower shows in the pavilion itself – those are dedicated entirely to Dutch design. Additionally, check out the Mondriaan Garden styled after the colorful paintings of Piet Mondriaan.
Highlights of Keukenhof Tulip Gardens
Keukenhof covers the area of 32 hectares and has about 15 kilometers of footpaths, which means you’ll probably need a whole day to see everything there is. In case you don’t have that much time, make sure to at least lay your eyes on the following.
Parts of the park dedicated to Dutch design.
Keukenhof Pavilions: the Willem-Alexander Pavilion hosting the world’s largest lily show (15,000 lilies of 300 different varieties), the Beatrix Pavilion with the most beautiful orchid show in Europe (dresses made of orchids are simply out of this world!), the Oranje Nassau Pavilion demonstrating the use of flower bulbs in interior design.
Inspiration gardens (marked with the “Get Inspired!” sign on the map). A perfect place to draw inspiration for your own garden.
Exhibition Tulpomania telling “the tale of the tulip”, from the 17th century to the present day.
Various viewpoints overlooking the famous Flower Strip. One of the viewpoints is a typical Dutch windmill – yet another highlight of the park.
The so-called “Walk of Fame” located in front of the Oranje Nassau Pavilion. There you can find flowers planted by celebrities and named after them.
The Royal Lime Tree planted by Queen Máxima – not far from the “Walk of Fame”.
Sculptures located all over the park. There are about 100 of them, so you will definitely bump into a few while simply walking around.
Various activities for children, including the playground, the petting zoo, the maze and the stepping stones on the lake. Children can also go on a quest in the park, solving puzzles and discovering more about flowers. Pick up the quest form (Scavenger hunt) at the information desk for free.
Pick up a free map at the entrance and explore Keukenhof at your own pace. Follow our list of highlights to get the most out of it. In Keukenhof, you are very likely to meet some of the gardeners – don’t miss a chance to talk to them! No one else could give you more information on flower bulbs and gardening.
On a Boat
Want to take a closer look at the Flower Strip? Hop on a boat tour departing from the Windmill and enjoy the endless bulb fields up-close for 45 minutes. Beautiful pictures guaranteed! The price for a boat tour is €8,00 (€4,00 for children aged 4-11).
You can’t ride a bike in Keukenhof, but you can (and should!) cycle through the tulip fields surrounding it. Rent a bike in front of the main entrance and follow one of the available routes, with distances ranging from 5 km to 25 km.
More on the activities in Keukenhof Tulip Gardens here.
Interesting to Know
The park welcomes over 1 million visitors of more than 100 nationalities in only 8 weeks. Pretty crowded, huh?
Keukenhof Tulip Gardens were designed by Jan David Zocher, the famous Dutch architect who is also famous for the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and the park of the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn.
Keukenhof works with about 100 Dutch flower bulb growers who provide the bulbs to be planted in the park for free.
To ensure the 8-week long blooming season in Keukenhof, the so-called “lasagne technique” is used. Flowers are planted in three layers: the late-blooming flowers in the bottom layer, the April-flowering bulbs in the middle layer and the early-blooming varieties in the top one.
There are over 2,500 trees of 87 varieties in the park.
With more than 100 statues, Keukenhof is the largest statue garden in the Netherlands.
Believe it or not, but most pictures in the world are taken in Keukenhof.
How to Get There?
The best way to reach Keukenhof Tulip Gardens is with a Combi Ticket. It includes both the entrance ticket and a bus ride directly to the park. Buses to Keukenhof run from Amsterdam (Schiphol Airport), Haarlem, Leiden and Noordwijk. See here for all possible connections, car routes and additional info.
The entrance fee is €16,00. A Combi Ticket is more expensive since it also covers transfer costs, but it’s a good value for the money you pay. For those going to Keukenhof by car – €16,00 it is.
Top Tips Before You Go
Here are a few more tips to improve your experience:
Buy your tickets online to save some time. The lines for Keukenhof are huge, have no doubt about it!
Don’t forget to pick up a free map at the entrance or use the large ones available all over the park. Click here for a digital version.
In case you have some luggage, there are free lockers by the main entrance.
A note for Internet addicts: Wi-Fi is available for free in the whole park.
Be ready for an active day full of walking and put on comfy shoes.
Grab an umbrella or a raincoat – just in case. You never know what the Dutch weather prepares.
Don’t linger around the front gate area as it is the most crowded part! Let your feet wander and you will definitely find many peaceful corners.
Hungry? Follow the food signs on the map! There are lots of food trucks and trailers offering all possible treats, including traditional Dutch dishes.
Finally, take pictures. Both Keukenhof Tulip Gardens and the Flower Strip are perfect for it!