Imagine walking into a dream filled with seven million hand-planted flowering bulbs including 600 different varieties of the most incredibly colorful tulips, as well as hyacinths, daffodils and other luscious spring flowers. Imagine too, 15 beautiful fountains, 32 bridges and a collection of stunning bronze statues by renowned Dutch and international artists sprinkled throughout the over 80 acres, and then call it Keukenhof, Holland, a living “flowerscape” that easily earns the title of “the most beautiful spring park in the world.”
Celebrating its 58th season, the theme this year is “Linnaeus: 300 Years King of Flowers.” Carolus Linnaeus was a Swedish physician and botanist educated in the Netherlands who created the tulip classification system being used to this day. With this general theme, it took approximately 550 people, including 50 planters, 10 months to prepare for the annual spring opening, which usually takes place around March 20 and runs full bloom until May 18. Historically, in 1949 a group of flower bulb growers and exporters came up with the idea of holding an exhibition for the bulb industry. Today, 90 bulb growers supply the bulbs free of charge which, in addition to the amazing tulip collection, results in the largest indoor lily exhibition comprised of 300 different varieties. Also, it should be noted that each year all the existing bulbs are removed and thrown away and replaced with new ones.
Yes, there is an amazing assortment of flowers, but it’s the beautiful, graceful tulip that captures the eye and imagination and a visit to the Willem Alexander Pavilion will treat you to over 80,000 tulips with such delicious names as “Stargazer,” “Strawberry Ice,” “Lilac Cup,” “Love Song,” “Burning Love,” “Burgundy Lace,” “Dancing Show,” as well as “China Town,” “California Sun,” “Eskimo Chief,” “Funny Girl,” “Garden Party,” “Golden Tango,” “Guiseppe Verdi,” “Hollywood Star,” “Julius Caesar,” “Marilyn,” “Mona Lisa,” “Yellow Star,” “Texas Flame,” “Orange Breeze,” with “Merry Christmas,” “Beauty of Parade,” and “Spring Song” easily serving as metaphors for the entire exquisite garden.
A vibrant profusion of colors and mixed flower planting configurations, this wonderland offers seven totally different inspirational gardens and provides graphic ideas for home gardens. According to Jacqueline van der Kloet, Keukenhof landscape and garden designer, “The idea that a beautiful garden is tantamount to an expensive garden is total nonsense. You only need to pave a small area to make a place to sit. A lawn with a tree that isn’t too big will break the space and some potted plants will do the rest.”
Keukenhof, Holland is a delightful experience for all ages. With 280 benches and winding footpaths that easily accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, it is particularly senior-friendly and guaranteed to be one of the extraordinary highlights of your trip to Holland.