So I have just come back from a very short trip to Holland. This was the first time that I would visit the flower basket of Europe in Spring time. The aim of this visit was thus, as well as to celebrate King’s Day, to see the beautiful flower fields and tulips that grow in abundance across the low lying fields around Amsterdam. My Dutch friends had been warned. Why, they asked do you want to see the flowers? The fields are nothing special they exclaimed! Indeed, for many young Dutch people, flowers and flower harvests have always formed part of their everyday lives.
We walked towards the bus stop that would take us to Keukenhof – the world famous flower gardens. Not a single Dutch person that I spoke to afterwards had ever been, but all had heard about it. Tourists however were clearly flocking here in droves. We had to queue for an hour and wait for three buses in order to finally be able to board the bus. The cost of the park was 23 euros, but that hadn’t seemingly deterred anyone from going.
As we arrived I noticed that Keukenhof was undoubtedly a favorite destination for the world’s older citizens. The downside is that you will find yourself amongst a sea of blooming flowers and grey haired pensioners and with this come the usual problems associated with old age – endless waiting for pictures to be taken, due to lack of camera or phone agility, pile ups at the best photo spots and of course old person queue jumping. To see a nimble granny grin from ear to ear after somehow squeezing herself in between yourself and your friends and then quietly trying to persuade others to do the same, kills me every time. However, where there is age, there is also wisdom. The beauty of Keukenhof and the garden landscaping is breathtaking and unmatched by any other which I have ever seen. So if you are young, be smart, follow and learn from your elders who know life and what is worth seeing and put this on your list of things to do whilst in Holland.
Keukenhof is the world’s second largest flower garden. The reason for the price is that this is literally an all day trip. The park is massive, approximately 32 hectares and there are multiple entrances, shops, indoor displays and activities. Restaurants and bars adorn the side of a large lake around which the park extends out into the fields. Watch Dutch people dangle herrings above their heads and then devour them with open mouths, and see the beer tents, wooden clogs and women dressed in traditional costumes. There is a great elevated place which enables the visitors to get a fantastic view across the flat tulip fields (which unfortunately were mostly dead by the time I arrived!). It is said that around 7 million flower bulbs are planted each year!
Keukenhof features a variety of different gardens and garden styles. For example, the English landscape garden features winding paths and unexpected see-through points (designed by Zocher in 1830, the garden architect of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, among others). The historical garden is an enclosed garden where you can see many old types of bulbs. The nature garden consists of a water garden where shrubs and perennials are combined with bulbous plants. The Japanese country garden is a non-traditional garden in a natural environment. This place looks just like a something from a fairy tale. I could have spent hours wondering around, taking pictures, admiring the colors and beautiful carpets and rivers of colour flowing through the trees. The lake was wonderful, with beautiful sculptures and statues. Unmissable and would highly recommend it!