More than 125 years ago, Vincent van Gogh influenced 20th century art with his portraits and landscape paintings. Today, the Netherlands’ Keukenhof Gardens, one of the world’s largest flower gardens, is honoring the man who painted such famous works at “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers” by making Van Gogh the park’s theme.
According to keukenhof, this year is exactly 125 years since Van Gogh’s death in 1890, and Keukenhof is honoring the renowned artist with a 250-square-meter flower mosaic made up of thousands of tulips and grape hyacinths. The flower shows in the Orange Pavilion show his paintings among thousands of flowers. And new this year, the park offers a “Selfie Garden” that was inspired by self-portraits of Van Gogh.
The Keukenhof Gardens offer visitors a full day of activities, because this is just no ordinary garden.
Located in Lisse, the Netherlands, Keukenhof, which is also referred to as the Garden of Europe, displays millions of colorful flowers over an area of 79 acres. The gardens are open every year from mid-March to mid-May, and the best time to view the flowers is mid-April, depending on the weather. This year, the park is expected to be open until May 17. The annual flower parade will be held April 25.
The history of Keukenhof Gardens dates back to the 15th century when the grounds provided fruit, vegetables and herbs for the nearby castle’s kitchen.
According to the park’s website, Keukenhof Castle was built in 1641. Then, landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son redesigned the grounds in 1857 in English landscape style, forming the basis of Keukenhof Gardens.
Then, in 1949, a group of flower bulb exporters came up with the idea to use the grounds for a permanent flower exhibition. The park officially opened its gates to the public in 1950, and, according to the website, it was a “complete success.”
Though the tulip has become the international symbol of Holland and the Netherlands, the flower didn’t originate there.
According to Holland’s official website, the tulip was originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey) and then imported to Holland in the 16th century.
Soon, the unique flowers became extremely popular, popping up in paintings and at festivals.
In the mid 17th century, the flowers became so popular that the Netherlands experienced “tulip mania” — a time when the flower became so
valuable that they were used as currency.
According to Keukenhof’s official website, the park offers enough activities to fill an entire day. For more information on the park itself or other activities the park offers, visit www.keukenhof.nl.
Visit the different gardens: From the Amsterdam garden, to the Romantic garden to the Historical garden, there is no shortage of gardens at Keukenhof. The different gardens tackle different themes and give visitors a look at the different kinds of tulips, among other flowers.
Climb the giant windmill: At the far end of the gardens stands a huge Dutch windmill that visitors can climb to experience outstanding views of the surrounding tulip fields.
Explore the flower fields: In the car park next to the main entrance, visitors can rent adult, children and tandem bikes to drive through the flower fields. Bike routes are provided with distances ranging from 5 to 25 kilometers. Another way to view the tulips is by whisper boats! These electric boats navigate the narrow, shallow canals through the tulip fields. The boat trip takes about 45 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the mill in the park and cost €8 for adults, €4 for children 4 to 11 years old, and free for children
Visit a flower show: There are three different pavilions inside the park, and each pavilion is packed with flowers of all kinds. According to the park’s website, the Oranje Nassau Pavilion features a different flower every week; the Willem-Alexander Pavilion contains more than 75,000 tulips in more than 600 varieties, as well as a lily show; and the Beatrix Pavilion hosts orchid, Anthurium and Bromelia flower shows.
Take a guided tour: Free guided tours of the park take place at 2 p.m every day. The tour starts at Juliana Pavilion.
Get something to eat: Restaurants are located all around the park and at the park’s entrance. Food carts can also be found throughout the park selling things like waffles, hot dogs or traditional Dutch herring.
Children’s activities: Children can enjoy a playground and a petting farm with lambs, baby goats and pot-bellied pigs, among other animals. Keukenhof has also developed a special scavenger hunt for children to help them explore the whole park and learn about flowers and plants. The
scavenger hunt is free and can be picked up at the information desk or the Juliana Pavilion.
Admission: €16 for adults, €8 for children 4 to 11 year old, and free for children under 3.
Parking: Parking is available at the park for a fee.
Location: The park is located between Amsterdam and The Hague. The address is Stationsweg 166a, 21621 Am Lisse.
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; the ticket office closes at 6 p.m. Before entering the park, visitors should pick up a free map at the ticket office.
Dogs: Dogs are permitted at the park if they are kept on a leash. Dogs are not allowed to enter the restaurants or pavilions.
Tours: RTT Travel and USO hold numerous tours to the Keukenhof Gardens, including a tour on parade day. Book a tour by visiting RTT in the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center across from the Wasgau Bakery, or the USO on Vogelweh across from the Galaxy Theater or at the Ramstein Passenger Terminal, Bldg. 3333.
For more information: Visit www.keukenhof.nl or search for “Visit Keukenhof” on Facebook.
(Courtesy of AdvantiPro)