Trip 38 Day 5
We had an earlier start to the day as we had a reservation for Keukenhof at 9:30 am. We pre-purchased a combi ticket for transportation to Keukenhof as well as entrance. Since and due to the pandemic, they’ve changed to timed entry rather than open entry to control crowds , so you have a limited window. We first visited Keukenhof in 2018. We felt like we’d only seen about half of it and hoped to come back and then 2020 happened. Keukenhof was closed to the public for 2020 and 2021, even though they planted all the (probably) hundreds of thousands of bulbs they always do, no one was able to come see the exhibit in person. You could see the exhibits virtually on Instagram, but sadly, not experience the explosion of color or smell the perfumed air, in person until 2022. Keukenhof are the largest flower gardens in all of Europe. They are located near the town of Lisse, only 40 kilometres (~24 miles) away from Amsterdam; we passed by this area yesterday on our way to Den Haag. In 2019, they had 2.5m visitors, but that’s compressed into the 60 days they are open.
We took a Metro to another stop and then walked a few hundred meters (nice to have an app with GPS so you know you’re walking in the right direction to an unfamiliar destination) to the RAI Convention center where we’d catch a bus to the village of Keukenhof, about 30 minutes away. Unlike our first trip there, this bus didn’t stop at Schiphol airport first, but went directly there. We had a little morning drizzle before we left and it wasn’t as pretty out as the last few days have been, but as long as it’s not actually raining, it shouldn’t matter and the drizzle had stopped by the time we left our hotel. We arrived in Keujenhof on schedule at 10:00 am and the parking lot was already quite full with people queuing to enter. There were quite a few camper vans parked in one section of the parking lot. I don’t know that they have multi-day tickets, so I’m not sure how that works with restricted capacity, but they clearly do.
On our prior visit, we turned left after entering thru the visitor center, which is centered in the exhibit, and saw about half of the exhibits. So, turn right! There’s not a lot unique about one side than the other, just a lot more of seas of flowering bulbs, many of which are tulips. One difference on this side was they’d built a lookout so you could walk out and see the fields of tulips planted nearby, outside of Keukenhof itself. In our own little garden, we might have a few dozen bulbs planted, but there are thousands of bulbs planted en mass. They have 800 different species of tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and many more.
There’s a lot of artistry involved in the design, not just in one exhibit, but in designing the view as you scan across each area. You can buy the bulbs you’re looking at, and since our last trip, they’ve built some small vendor sale points in addition to the main gift shop.
There are some small lakes and waterways that snake their way through the landscape and you can even go on a 45 minute boat ride around the exterior border of the exhibit, though we thought it a bit too cool today to sit in a boat for that long. Some short videos here and here. Near the windmill, there’s a small boat you can use for photos.
We wandered around both halves of the exhibit for about four hours before it started to drizzle again, this time a bit more steadily. By this time, our feet were telling us we might want to decide to call it a day. Though we’ve expanded our view of the exhibits at Keunkehof, I’m still not sure we’ve seen it all.
We’ve all likely experienced the increase in cost of gasoline prices, and complained about them. But gasoline costs here would really make you shudder. It’s 2.239€/liter, or $9.20/gallon, more than double the price of $4.13/gallon in the US at the time of writing.
Though there were still people entering the exhibit at 3:00pm (closes at 5:30pm), the return buses were waiting and we queued up to board for the trip back home to Amsterdam.