Ribbons of Color: Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands

Keukenhof: pair of red tulips, sun background

It may have been the biggest (and maybe the finest) surprise we’ve had cruising with Viking. While still in port in Amsterdam, our cruise director (Viking’s Holland & Belgium 2022) reported that tickets were available (unexpectedly) from Keukenhof Gardens in nearby Lisse for the last day of Tulip Festival. And then he asked, “Would any of you like to go there tomorrow?”

Keukenhof: purple tulip field
Crowds packed the sidewalks leading to swaths of tulips at Keukenhof.

For us, it was not a question of would we, but how could we not! With a quick visit to the scheduling desk of Viking Kvasir, we canceled previous plans to book this spectacular event that occurs only a few days each year.

And now, an unexpected afternoon at Keukenhof remains a top memory of our visit to The Netherlands.

A truly gorgeous color combination!

Keukenhof welcomes over a million people each year (with the exception of the Covid years) to view 7,000,000 tulips planted by hand in ribbon-like curved beds. Area growers provide the bulbs and the planting talent.

Keukenhof Gardens measures 32 hectares (approximately 79 acres) with more than 800 different tulips, and we wanted to see it all. (Didn’t. But we wanted to!)

Keukenhof: swaths of color
Swaths of colorful flowers in elongated beds at Keukenhof

But something we didn’t know: At the end of the festival ALL bulbs are dug up and sold. Crazy, right?

And then the process begins again for the next year.

Keukenhof: striped yellow tulips
Yellow tulips touched with red glow in the afternoon sun.

And oh, what a sight it is! From beds oozing with colorful tulips . . .

Keukenhof: bands of color
A photo filled with color!

to single flowers, unique and special all on their own.

Even on a crowded day at Keukenhof, people were elated for the opportunity to enjoy glorious springtime weather and colorful plantings on this last, but very special, Tulip Festival day.

Keukenhof: Taking a selfie
Taking a selfie with flowers that match the outfit.
Keukenhof: child in wooden shoe
Posing in a giant wooden shoe!

The Keukenhof website provides information about the Tulip Festival in 2023 (March 23 to May 15) and how you can obtain tickets, book a place to stay, and/or attend the 76th annual Flower Parade on April 22nd.

Keuhenhof: red tulips under trees

If there was one quote from Keukenhof that we heard over and over, it was this one: Don’t buy old tulip bulbs in spring, but order the new harvest at Keukenhof or online. People took the advice as they stood in line, orders in hand. (And, to tell the truth, we had no idea that bulbs we’d been buying in the U. S. are a year older than those we can order from Keukenhof.)

It probably goes without saying that Keukenhof gets top billing with us as a tourist destination. For curved beds of glorious flowers, lakes, meandering paths, gathering places, and activities for all ages — not to mention 7,000,000 tulips — a visit to Keukenhof should be on everyone’s list.

Keukenhof: blue medley
Hyacinths form a glorious pageant in blue and white.

The earth laughs in flowers.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Keukenhof: purple stripe tulip
Rare varieties and colors take center stage at Keukenhof Gardens.

Travel in color,

Rusha & Bert

Because this post contains elements of photography knows as maximalism (lots of elements in one photo like the beds of flowers) and minimalism (a focus on one single flower or element), we’re linking to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #202 by Sofia of Photographias. Please check out her post for more examples.

This post is one in a series prompted by a recent trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. Thank you to Viking cruises (Holland & Belgium 2022) and our travel agent, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors, for the arrangements and free time to enjoy the scenery!

23 thoughts on “Ribbons of Color: Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands

  1. travelgarb

    That’s something we missed on our trip to the Netherlands and Belgium, mainly because we were there at the wrong time of year! It looks amazing!

  2. Pingback: Orchids, too, at Keukenhof Gardens – Oh, the Places We See . . .

  3. WanderingCanadians

    I’ve always wanted to go to the tulip festival in the Netherlands. Sounds like the timing worked out well for your visit to the Keukenhof Gardens. What a lovely display of tulips.

  4. Amy

    What a beautiful garden! Thank you for the tour, Rusha. These tulips are fabulous, so very special. Love the close up images!

  5. Toonsarah

    How wonderful that you had that last minute chance to see these beautiful flowers! I love tulips and the plantings here look so gorgeous 🙂

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