The greatest place on earth. South west of Amsterdam in a place called Lisse is where the world’s largest garden is. Open for only two months of the year, if you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam I would strongly advise to go when these lovely gardens are open. Just a Metro and bus ride from the centre of Amsterdam we spent four wonderful hours here. Fun fact: dogs are allowed inside too.
Our first stop was Irene, left of the main entrance, where there is a fountain that looks like a dandelion. There was also some very cheery music playing from an interesting-looking contraption. There is also a little shop here and you can get a bite to eat too.
En route to Juliana, or Tulipmania, was when I discovered that this amazing place doesn’t just have flowers and tulips: there are also amazing trees and water everywhere too.
Juliana had an exhibition where you can learn about the gardens and tulips, showing the life cycle of tulips and what goes into making this amazing place each year. Interestingly, I learnt that the beautiful fading colours of the tulip petals actually mean the tulip is diseased, fascinating how something like this can signify disease yet look so beautiful.
Here I also learnt that tulips came from Turkey and made their way to the Netherlands centuries ago. Tulipmania happened in 1636, where it was said that tulips were more expensive than a house. They have such a strong history here: every year the Netherlands send Canada tulips as gratitude for sheltering Princess Juliana during WWII.
En route to Oranje Nassau we passed rocky fountains, running brooks, bridges, and an interesting-looking tall sculpture. And this was when I felt: the greatest place on earth, what a brilliant place for a proposal – at the end of a fountain stream, on the middle of a bridge, by a very tall sculpture. Alas, I saw no such proposals, but the potential places for proposals here are so many!
We reached Oranje Nassau, where the flower mosaic is, this year called Flower Power but I think we visited a little too early as the flowers hadn’t bloomed yet here but you could see the outline of the plants. Inside was also one of the many flower shows, this one was themed peace, tying in with the flower mosaic outside. There were many beautiful and colourful displays, and unsurprisingly a few reminded me of wedding flower arrangements, other displays were really interesting and I wasn’t sure how they tied in with peace but still a pretty cool display.
Outside en route to another large fountain is where ice cream can be found. When we visited it wasn’t a particularly warm or sunny day, but ice cream was still very much appreciated. Here is also where we saw a lot of dogs!
Tulip bulb fields
Next we approached one of the best parts of these gardens: the tulip bulb fields. Here is where the baby tulips are grown and harvested, where some make it to the gardens for the following year, whilst others are shipped across the world to your local flower shop. It smelt so fresh here. Tulips don’t really smell of flowers, but the freshness in the air was amazing. There are quite a few viewing platforms giving some amazing views and pictures. Simply breath-taking. Also another potential proposal site.
Near the tulip bulb fields is a hedged maze where there were lots of kids running around. Not far from here is a small petting zoo with pigs, goats, and a peacock. Also very close by was a children’s play park, which was actually quite large. They really thought of everything in these gardens to entertain everyone and keep everyone happy.
En route to Get Inspired we walked close to the water to see more of the tulip bulb fields, ah, I can still remember the fresh clean smell, so uplifting. When we entered the Get Inspired section I wasn’t entirely sure what it was at first. The Happiness Garden had a little sheltered shrine with wise and inspiring quotes written on rocks and pebbles along the pathway. As we walked along we were led to the Flower Power Garden with vibrant coloured walls and features. Everyone was taking pictures and the vibe along here was amazing.
We continued following the path around the perimeter hoping to see more of the tulip bulb fields, and we weren’t disappointed. There was another mini café nearby too, you can tell they really planned everything in these gardens.
By the time we reached the mill I was euphoric: the bright colours of the tulips, the blossom on the trees, the smell of the fields – all the senses were reignited and recharged. And then when we got to the top of the windmill, I was just hoping to see someone propose – yet another perfect spot. Alas, no such proposals, but the views from the top of the windmill were amazing.
Here is where you can also hop on a boat for a mini river tour closer to the tulip bulb fields, not included in the usual entrance fee. You can also hire a bike to cycle close to the fields, they advise you not to walk in the fields, I suppose to preserve the flowers. We didn’t go on these tours, but maybe next time.
En route to Beatrix we saw some more interesting things: a sword in the stone, flowers in cars, and some beautiful blossom trees. Beatrix had another flower show, this time the flowers seemed more exotic, and the displays bigger and higher.
En route to Willem-Alexander were more tulips and other flower arrangements and a couple of interesting sculptures too. Inside Willem-Alexander I would say is what you would stereotypically expect from a tulip garden: lots and lots of different varieties and shapes and colours of tulips.
En route to Wilhelmina there were more sculptures: of bulbs, of a horse, and an interesting looking metal contraption. There were large stepping stones, fountains, and more arrangements of tulips and flowers. Wilhelmina itself holds a gift shop and another café.
What a wonderful place. Sad to not see any proposals, even though it would have been the most amazing place to do so. All my senses were refreshed and recharged, and I would love to go back again, though probably in May so more of the flowers would be in bloom. There is something for everyone here, even the hubby who didn’t think we could possibly spend practically all day here was converted and convinced within the first hour. Here are some more amazing pictures from the greatest place on earth:
4 thoughts on “Keukenhof Gardens”
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