Keukenhof: Seven million bulbs, 800 varieties and 40 gardeners yield eight weeks of tulip perfection

Photo by Kimberly Hanneman

Near my home in the Netherlands is a garden with gorgeous trees whose branches act as curtains framing views of brilliant spring flowers, gliding your eye to paths to masterfully entangled tulip garden beds. Keukenhof Holland, where the most beautiful tulip flowers are on display at one of the most substantial flower gardens in the world, is only open to the public for eight weeks each year. 


In 2024, the tulips of Keukenhof greet you from Thursday, 21 March through Sunday, 12 May. Mother’s Day in the Netherlands. The garden is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

‘Lasagne’ planting technique means no FOMO

The evocative garden is designed to enthrall visitors as they stroll. Nearly everyone pauses to create stunning photographs. The 40 Keukenhof gardeners’ thoughtful plantings provide visitors with delightful eye-popping experiences every day during the garden’s two-month display.

©KimHanneman | April 2022

Keukenhof translates from Dutch as “kitchen court garden.”

Fittingly, the bulb plant layering technique, called the “lasagna planting method,” ensures visitors on their day will see a significant number of flowering bulbs from the seven million planted. Making tulip lasagna garden beds in Mother Nature’s kitchen creates many peak blooming days from 800 bulb varieties infusing colors, shapes, heights and sizes.

In a good-natured update, Keukenhof publishes a current flowering message for those who experience FOMO, that feeling you are missing out on that perfect peak day.

Keukenhof guarantees beautiful and colorful photos as each day offers a unique view, even in the rain. 

Commit to your visit and purchase your online tickets from Keukenhof. Keukenhof is accessible by car and online ticketing offers public transit with the Keukenhof express bus, with roundtrip points from Haarlem, Schiphol, RAI Amsterdam, or Leiden. 


Timing your visit to avoid crowds

Consider that weekends, holidays and sunny days are preferred by most visitors, and by those who walk in tandem with their large groups. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and cooler wet days are usually less crowded.

The first and last hours of opening are generally less crowded. The region’s 2024 flower parade is on Saturday, 20 April, is always a sold-out, crowded day. Keukenof’s ticketing calendar notes the anticipated crowd. Most people spend hours strolling the garden with pauses for photos, sit-down dining or mobile snack bars. You can bring in your food and picnic in the garden area near the windmill. 

This year, I arrived at Keukenhof on opening day, 21 March, at 5 p.m. to enjoy the early flowers in the late afternoon light. Showy flower beds included crocuses in white and purple, fragrant hyacinths in yellow, white, pink, and purple, traditional yellow and white narcissus, and a color palette of hardy tulips. The well-maintained budding trees welcoming returning songs of happy birds are another source of wonder, especially in March. As the days move into April, the tulips increase in variety, color, and elegant show.

Two years ago, my family enjoyed Keukenhof in late April when the spring flowering shrubs and the increase in the tree canopy created even more depth, monochromatic flows, and bright floral contrasts to green plants.

©KimHanneman | April 2022

To extend your visit, you can entertain children at the playground and petting zoo within the garden. Some take a whisper boat tour from Keukenhof through the tulip fields. When we were done touring the park, we rented bicycles to follow the cycling route to see the tulip farms of Lisse. 


If you have a car and are interested in a flower-themed trip in Holland, the historical garden showing the Dutch history of flower cultivation and Royal FloraHolland, the modern flower auction for the international flower market are both located in Aalsmeer, about a 20-minute drive east from Lisse.

Visitors to Keukenhof can expand their lodging options outside of Amsterdam in the beautiful cities of Haarlem and Leiden, and some people enjoy staying in Noordwijk on the North Sea. 

Kimberly Hanneman
Author | Website | + posts

Kimberly Hanneman is a writer who travels. She lives near Utrecht in a 115-year-old Dutch cottage she is renovating. In 2019 with her family, Kimberly relocated to the Netherlands from the USA. They enjoy cycling through the Netherlands and traveling outside the country to the mountains to hike. Kimberly worked for a decade in financial communications and investor relations before becoming a National Certified Counselor in career counseling at a Virginia university supporting undergraduates and graduate students by debunking the shallow find your passion advice. She was raised in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and returns each summer.

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