For eight weeks a year in Spring, the world's largest and most prized flower garden, the Keukenhof, blooms across 32 hectares of the Dutch countryside. Nestled in the town of Lisse which is situated in the western part of Holland, what's known as the "Garden of Europe" radiates as seven million flower bulbs come to life attracting an estimated 1.4 million visitors from around the world.
“We created Keukenhof as the showcase of the Dutch floral industry,” said Bart Siemerink, managing director of the Keukenhof gardens which this year is celebrating its 70th anniversary since its founding in 1949. “What you can find in Keukenhof is a beautiful garden with over 800 varieties of tulips, all shapes, all colors, all heights.”
From flower enthusiasts to budding photographers to fashion designers, the garden attracts visitors from over 100 different countries who flock to the park for that brief spell in mid-April which is when the flowers are at their best.
Precision and timing are essential for the 40 gardeners who keep the park in perfect order for the busloads of visitors. “Here at Keukenhof we plant in layers, so we have three types of flowers on the same bed. This is why it looks good for the eight to nine weeks that we are open,” explained Luta Lark, one of the gardeners.
The park's gardens are split into an array of sections, with pavilions and exhibitions showcasing tulip displays alongside hyacinths, daffodils, orchids and roses. Each year a different theme is established, allowing international floral designers the opportunity to show off the creativity that's required to uphold a standard which is surpassed nowhere else in the world.
The Keukenhof is open 8:00 a.m-7:30 p.m. between March 21 and May 19. Its location is easily reached from Amsterdam or The Hague via public transport.