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Keukenhof: The Flower Garden of Europe

Keukenhof – The world’s second largest flower garden

Keukenhof, the world’s second largest flower garden1, is open just eight weeks a year. Yet it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions outside Amsterdam, and one of the top excursions in the Netherlands.

Keukenhof Opening Days 2019

In 2019 Keukenhof opens on March 21, and closes in the evening of May 19.

As the garden celebrates its 70th anniversary, this year’s theme is Flower Power. Think early 1970s vibe: bright colors, hippies, love, peace, and upbeat music.

Flower Power highlights the strength of flowers — the ability to connect and delight people from all over the world.

This overwhelmingly beautiful garden, in a park-like setting, delights young and old.

Keukenhof flower garden

On one of our visits to the Keukenhof we heard a young boy exclaim, “Look ma! Fireworks made with flowers!”

Tickets and Transportation

The vast majority of visitors on an excursion from Amsterdam prefer to buy a combination Amsterdam-Keukenhof transport and skip-the-line ticket (Recommended!)

You can also opt to include excursions to nearby villages, including the windmills and open air museum at Zaansche Schans:

You can make your way to Keukenhof yourself using public transport. The so-called Keukenhof Express runs between the garden and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. It’s a bit more of a hassle, but if you opt to do this you may still want to purchase a skip-the-line ticket ahead of time.

After all, time spent waiting in line at the ticket office takes away from your time in the garden.

Bollenstreek: Bulb region — Flower fields

Tulip fields are concentrated in the Dutch countryside between Haarlem and Lisse. This area is known in Dutch as the bollenstreek (bulb region).

bulb fields Netherlands

Bulb fields in the Netherlands. Well, clearly by now they’re flower fields.

Some flower fields can also be seen in the north of the province of Noord Holland, and in the Oostpolder. But the crown jewel is the Keukenhof flower garden in Lisse, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Amsterdam.

By the way, its not just tulips you find at Keukenhof, but also daffodils, crocuses, narcissuses, hyacinths, and more spring flowers — 7 million flowers, from 800 varieties!

The garden is bordered on one site by flower fields. There are various vantage points, including a windmill, from which to take photographs.

Best time to visit

The garden is open from mid-March through mid-May. However, the best time to view the tulips in their full glory is from about mid-April through the first week of May.

Much depends on the weather. If sunny and warm spring-like weather starts early enough in March — as if often does — flowers are in bloom earlier than when it has been colder.

Though the garden opens in March some people who visit that early in the season are somewhat disappointed with the outdoor displays.

Currently (Last updated Thursday, April 11, 2019) you can already see many flowering hyacinths, tulips and daffodils throughout the Keukenhof. The blossom trees are in full bloom. The flower shows in the Willem-Alexander pavilion, Oranje Nassau pavilion and Beatrix pavilion are full of tulips, flowering plants, gerberas, anthuriums and orchids.

Keep an eye on the weather in April and May.


When visiting the garden keep in mind the park-like setting. Depending on the weather you’ll want to dress in layers. Photo by Cszmurlo2

Opening times are from 8:00 through 19:30 (8 AM through 7:30 PM). Note that the ticket office closes at 18:00 (6:00 PM). It is not as busy early in the morning as during the rest of the day, but generally the afternoon temperature will be higher and more pleasant.

The Keukenhof is also open during Easter Sunday and Monday (April 21-22, 2019), King’s Day (April 27, 2019), and Liberation Day (May 5, 2019).

Check the weather before you go, as you may have to dress in layers. There can be quite a spread in temperatures during the course of your visit.

That said, it is less busy before 10:30 and after 4 pm. It is also not as busy on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday than on the other days of the week.

How much time to spend in the garden

You’ll want to take your time to take it all in. The garden is 32 hectares in size. Here’s an easy way to picture that: Most sports fields are one hectare in size.

Map of Keukenhof tulip garden

[Click image to view or download a larger map] Map of Keukenhof — 32 acres of tulips and other flowers

While not everyone wants to see every single flower, the fast majority of visitors spend about 4 hours in the park. Mind you: realize that the park includes 15 kilometers of footpaths. Even if you return to the park on another day (which many visitors do, if not the same year than the next), you can always take another route.

Keep in mind that the Keukenhof also includes various indoor flowers shows and exhibitions3, as well as a fine collection of art. There are activities and events, such as the 72st edition of popular Flower Parade (Bloemencorso) on April 13.

Statistics: During the 53-day 2018 season, Keukenhof attracted 1.4 million visitors — as many as in the record year of 2017. They came from over 100 countries.

The highest number of visitors come from the Netherlands, then Germany, and the United States of America. France is in fourth place, and the Top 6 is rounded out by China and the United Kingdom.

A noteworthy trend in recent years is that the number of young visitors increases year after year.

Anual Flower Parade

The annual Bloemencorso (flower parade) — known as Bloemencorso Bollenstreek — is not the only flower pageant, but is one the oldest and largest in the world.

In 2019 the parade took place on Saturday, April 13.

What does Keukenhof mean?

Literally ‘kitchen garden’. In the 15th century was a source of herbs and vegetables for the kitchen of a nearby castle.

The land was part of the large estate of Castle Teylingen.

The castle’s hunting grounds were full of dunes and untamed bushes. In the 19th century the castle’s rich merchant owners invited landscape architects J.D. and L.P. Zocher — who later also designed Amsterdam’s beautiful Vondelpark — to redesign the garden in an English landscape style. The result still forms the basis for today’s Keukenhof.

In 1949 the then mayor of Lisse, together with a number of leading flower bulb growers and exporters organized an open air flower exhibition here. The idea was to promote the region’s flower export industry. The exhibition became an annually recurring event, which continues to this day.

keukenhof flower garden posters

Some early Keukenhof flower garden exhibition posters. Detail of a commemorative poster issued for the garden’s 60th anniversary (in 2009)

Get your Skip-The-Line Keukenhof Tickets here.


  1. Largest garden is the Dubai Miracle Garden, but face it… Dubai cannot hold a candle to the Netherlands
  2. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
  3. There are over 20 of these shows, at which renowned floral designers present wonderful creations that include the best flowers contributed by some 600 flower growers.
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This post was last updated: Apr. 14, 2019