The arrival of spring in Europe is always special and even more so in the Netherlands when the doors of one of the world’s largest flower garden, in South Holland, open to visitors from all across the globe. Millions visit the spectacle that is the Keukenhof, stretching over 79 acres with around 7 million bulbs planted each year to showcase the best of Dutch flower producers.
Over 800 varieties of the country’s treasured tulips are on display together with other bulbous flowers which include hyacinth and narcissus. Displayed in neat and colorful patterns, the best bulbs of the more than 100 royal suppliers who participate yearly can be admired.
Not only does the Keukenhof’s displays offer a delightful backdrop for photographs visitors but also the opportunity to learn the history of the gardens and of Holland’s flower industry.
Tulips were introduced into the Netherlands by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century from where their popularity grew in what is known as the Dutch Golden Age when tulips were so sought-after they were traded as currency until the ‘Tulip Mania’ bubble burst.
The Keukenhof’s history has more humble beginnings. Used to grow fruit and vegetables for the kitchen staff of Jacqueline of Bavaria hundreds of years ago. A castle was added in 1641 and an ‘’English garden’’ landscape design added in the mid-19th century. The exhibition of spring flowers started in 1949 when 20 of the country’s leading flower growers used the grounds to show off their wares. Now a 70 year long tradition, visitors from around the world arrive from mid-March to mid-May every year to admire the blooming splendor at the Keukenhof.