Keukenhof, Dutch for “kitchen garden”, is the world’s largest flower garden. With over 7 million flower bulbs planted in the 70-acre garden annually, it is easy to see why this massive park has been called the ‘Garden of Europe’. Opened in 1949, the grounds were designed by the same architects that designed the Vondelpark in Amsterdam.
It was originally a hunting area that contained the herbs used for cooking in the nearby castle, hence the name Keukenhof. While tourists mostly expect this to be a tulip garden, there are a variety of types of bulbs planted to make the dazzling display. There are plenty of tulips, though – well over 1,000 types planted in every size, shape, and color imaginable.
Touring the park takes at least a couple of hours, as the park grounds include various landscaped areas, Europe’s largest fountain, greenhouses, art displays, and even a sculpture park. There are children’s playgrounds, a petting zoo and various restaurants and cafes to encourage visitors to linger just a little bit longer. Should you feel inspired by the displays, you can purchase bulbs to take home for your own garden – be sure to check with the shop staff regarding import regulations for your home country. Important to note that guided tours are not available except for groups, although, with your admission ticket you’ll find a map to guide you around the extensive landscape.
Keukenhof is open every year from late March to late May; the best time to visit is late April when most of the flowers are in bloom. The grounds are easily accessible from Amsterdam via train to Leiden. Frequent bus service especially branded for the park departs from the train station. For more information, including opening dates and times, visit the official Keukenhof website.
Written by Andy Hayes for EuropeUpClose.com