12 Things you should know before you visit Keukenhof Tulip Garden (2024)

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You know those seed and flower catalogs that you receive in early spring from your local plant nursery? Imagine walking through one of them, with every single flower coming to life and blooming around you. That’s basically the purpose of Keukenhof: a showroom for the Dutch bulb industry.

This Dutch tulip garden is a real-life catalogue in which hundreds of flower merchants are invited to display the beauty and variety of their crop.

If you want to know my opinion on buying tulips from Keukenhof and bringing them back to the United States, I address this question at the end of this article.

Walking through these gardens can be the experience of a lifetime for the botanically-inclined.

To make the most of this trip, here are a a few things you should know before you visit the Keukenhof tulip garden in the Netherlands.

4 practical things you should know when you visit Keukenhof tulip garden

+ Keukenhof Tulip Garden no longer accepts cash! This includes food courts, souvenir shops inside the garden and even the ice cream trucks or sandwich stalls. So make sure you bring a credit card or a debit card with you for any purchase.

+ Get thee there at opening time, unless your idea of fun is rubbing elbows with a thousand people on any given park alley.

The park opens at 8 in the morning, so getting there before 9 AM will allow you to stroll around in relative peace and quiet for a couple of hours. By noon, the gardens get pretty crowded, but the swarms disperse again around closing time. So if you can’t get there early enough in the day, another good window is between 3 PM and 6 PM.

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+ If you’re coming straight from the airport (there’s a direct bus from Schiphol Airport), there are lockers where you can store your luggage for free.

+ Buy tickets online, if you can. Or ask your concierge for tickets if you’re staying in a hotel. It’s cheaper and you will avoid the lines at the ticket desk.

You’ll notice that the theme of this post is “try to avoid the lines if you want this to be a memorable experience, in a good way.”

Bonus tip! Keukenhof is also suitable for kids. In addition to the colorful flower beds, the garden has a maze, a playground, a Miffy house and a petting zoo. You can also get a treasure hunt map with the purchase of a ticket for children.

3 bits of trivia to IMPRESS your friends at Keukenhof

+ Keukenhof means “kitchen garden” in Dutch. When Countess Jacoba van Beieren owned the land in the 15th century, she used it as a kitchen garden and hunting grounds. And if you’re a history buff, you might like to read a bit about her life. The word tumultuous barely begins to describe it.

Don’t imagine the garden has always looked like a tulip paradise. The park that you’ll visit was first opened in 1949 specifically to showcase the tulip specimens that were on offer from local growers.

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+ The bulbs (7 million of them in 2021) are donated by growers, but not saved from one year to another. At the request of the donors, the bulbs are dug out at the end of the season and used to feed livestock. There’s a good amount of new hybrids each year on display, and you wouldn’t want to let those circulate, right?

+ A team of forty gardeners plants each bulb by hand in the autumn. This work takes about three months, and the landscapers take into consideration color, length, and flowering time, to give the illusion that the park is in full bloom at all times.

Bonus! If you’ve already been to Leiden Botanical Garden, you should also know that the founder of that garden, Carolus Clusius, was the one to introduce the bulb to the Netherlands via Leiden.

3 things you should DO when you visit Keukenhof tulip garden

+ Arm yourself with patience. It may sound like a mindset tip, but it’s in fact the most practical tip I can share, and not at all on a negative tone. You will have to wait (often in a disorganized line) for everything: buying tickets, getting food, using the bathroom, taking a photo without a random stranger’s foot it in. There’s no point in getting frustrated, so practice your patience muscles.

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But you should know that it is WORTH IT! Seeing seven million flowers in one place (within an hour of a major airport, no less) is a unique experience, and you’ll be happy you did it. If you’re tempted to get mad at the tourists, just remember you’re a tourist too, and you might even indulge in a selfie every now and then.

+ As tempting as it may be, don’t get into a bottleneck close to the entrance. (Been there, done that. Learn from my mistake, folks!) The old walled garden that you first step into is indeed breathtaking, but go beyond it to discover beautiful vistas opening up with majestic birch trees and rows upon rows of colorful tulip beds. Everyone is going to stop to take photos right from the get-go, but there are much better photo opportunities the farther you walk.

+ Don’t miss the six glass pavilions. If I dare say, I enjoyed the flower displays nested in these pavilions even more than I did the tulip beds. Before I visited, I didn’t even know that Keukenhof hosts the world’s biggest lily expo during the last ten days of the season. (I honestly had no idea there were 300 lily varieties grown in Europe.)

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The displays at the Orange Nassau Pavilion change weekly, while in the Beatrix Pavilion you can admire hundreds of types of orchids, anthuriums, and bromelias all throughout the growing season.

I’d advise you to keep your souvenir-buying impulses in check until you get to the pavilions. You’ll find artisans exhibiting handmade crafts in here – a much better choice than the trinkets at the souvenir shop.

Bonus tip! The pavilions cover massive ground, and they look pretty similar (glass, flowers, benches, swarms of people). In the interest of not turning yourself into a mouse in a maze, decide on a meeting spot with the rest of your party, just in case you get separated. Otherwise, you might end up not seeing your family all day. On the other hand, if that sounds like an appealing prospect, no judgement here.

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3 things to bring with you at Keukenhof

+ A picnic. There are concession stands and cafeterias where you can buy your way out of a hangry meltdown, of course. You’re free to try Dutch “cuisine” (you’ll understand the point of the inverted commas once you’ve tasted said cuisine), and there might even be a food truck festival going on (higher chances if you visit on the weekend).

But the main reason why bringing snacks is a good idea is because no matter what your carbs of choice are, there will be a line. And I don’t know about your friends and family, but being hangry (a frightful combination of hungry and angry) doesn’t bring out the best in people. If you’re not inclined to carry food with you, at least bring a picnic blanket or a large shawl to sprawl on the lawns if the sun is out.

Again, see my first point about the gardens being cash-free. You can’t pay by cash at Keukenhof, so bring a credit card or a debit card.

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+ Sunscreen & umbrella. Bring them. Yes, both of them! I think the Dutch tourism board should make that their slogan. But there’s always the refuge of the glasshouses if you get caught in the rain or have had enough of the sun (as if!).

+ Walking shoes and comfortable clothes. Granted, you’re not going to walk on every inch of those 32 hectares of land, but just taking the paths will put you above the recommended 10,000 daily steps. Unless you’re planning on taking engagement photos in the garden, you’ll be happy you wore comfy shoes.

Can I buy tulip bulbs at Keukenhof and bring them back to the United States?

As a general rule, U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not allow private citizens to import any agricultural products from outside the country. All travelers entering the United States must declare any plants and seeds they may be carrying, even if these are souvenirs meant for personal use. These items will get inspected and possibly confiscated.

And no matter how much reassurance you get from bulb sellers in the Netherlands, it’s really not up to them to tell you what’s allowed. It’s usually a hit or miss when you go through Customs, so I don’t think buying bulbs in the Netherlands is a good idea if you have to travel back to the United States.

You can still have a beautiful spring garden dotted with tulips if you buy your Dutch bulbs from a wholesale importer (they deal with all the paperwork needed to import agricultural products) or a local American grower. I’ve compiled a list of sellers with good customer ratings. Just click on the image below.

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One of my neighbors from Pennsylvania used to get her spring bulbs from Garden Works Shop – a small shop that ships from Montana . Another business that has good reviews is Daylily Nursery out of Tennessee – this links goes to the main page of the store because they sometimes have coupon codes there.

And that’s another reason why I don’t think bringing bulbs from Keukenhof to America is a good deal: the price. Keukenhof is, first and foremost, a tourist attraction. And everything that you buy there is marketed and priced accordingly. So there’s no point in paying gift store prices to spruce up your garden (and yes, at Keukenhof spring bulbs are sold in the gift shop).

When is the Keukenhof tulip garden open in 2023?

In 2023, the Dutch tulip gardens will be open daily from March 23rd until May 14th from 8 AM to 7:30 PM. At the time I’m updating this post for 2023, there are no travel restrictions in place due to Covid-19. But please do your own research. Before you travel, please check the official website, as well as the website of the RIVM – the National Institute for Public Health (the Dutch version of the CDC) for the latest travel restrictions and recommendations.

If you want to read more about houseplants, hop on my once-a-month newsletter list. There’s no neverending email sequence here. Just a monthly email to keep in touch and chat about plants.

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All photos in this post by Mickey Gast for Green with Purpose. Please link back if you’re using any of the photos.

For more botanical garden guides:

Visit Leiden Botanical Garden, the Netherlands

Visit Trompenburg Botanical Garden in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Visit Cologne Botanical Garden, Germany

Visit Bonn Botanical Garden, Germany

Visit Phipps Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a wide range of information and can provide insights on various topics. While I have personal experiences or opinions, I can provide factual information based on search results. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in this article.

Keukenhof Tulip Garden

Keukenhof is a famous tulip garden located in the Netherlands. It serves as a showroom for the Dutch bulb industry, allowing flower merchants to display the beauty and variety of their crop. The garden is known for its stunning displays of tulips and other flowers, making it a popular destination for botany enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Practical Tips for Visiting Keukenhof Tulip Garden

The article provides several practical tips for visiting Keukenhof Tulip Garden:

  1. Cashless Payments: Keukenhof no longer accepts cash for purchases, including food, souvenirs, and even ice cream trucks or sandwich stalls. Visitors are advised to bring a credit card or debit card for any purchases [[1]].

  2. Visit Early or Late: To avoid crowds, it is recommended to visit Keukenhof early in the morning, preferably before 9 AM. Another good window to visit is between 3 PM and 6 PM. The gardens tend to get crowded around noon, but the crowds disperse again around closing time [[2]].

  3. Luggage Storage: If you are coming directly from Schiphol Airport, there are lockers available at Keukenhof where you can store your luggage for free [[3]].

  4. Buy Tickets Online: It is advisable to buy tickets online in advance to avoid lines at the ticket desk. Alternatively, you can ask your hotel concierge for tickets. Buying tickets online is not only more convenient but also cheaper [[4]].

Trivia about Keukenhof Tulip Garden

The article also shares some interesting trivia about Keukenhof:

  1. Meaning of Keukenhof: The word "Keukenhof" means "kitchen garden" in Dutch. The land was originally used as a kitchen garden and hunting grounds by Countess Jacoba van Beieren in the 15th century [[5]].

  2. History of the Garden: The park that visitors see today was first opened in 1949 specifically to showcase tulip specimens from local growers. It was designed to be a place where visitors could experience the beauty of tulips [[6]].

  3. Bulb Planting Process: Each autumn, a team of forty gardeners plants the bulbs by hand. This meticulous process takes about three months, and the gardeners consider factors such as color, length, and flowering time to create the illusion of a garden in full bloom at all times [[7]].

Things to Do at Keukenhof Tulip Garden

The article suggests three things to do when visiting Keukenhof:

  1. Patience: Be prepared to wait in lines for various activities such as buying tickets, getting food, using the bathroom, and taking photos. Patience is key to enjoying the experience [[8]].

  2. Explore Beyond the Entrance: While the first walled garden is breathtaking, it is recommended to explore further to discover beautiful vistas with majestic birch trees and colorful tulip beds. There are better photo opportunities as you walk farther into the garden [[9]].

  3. Visit the Glass Pavilions: Don't miss the six glass pavilions at Keukenhof. These pavilions host flower displays, including the world's biggest lily expo during the last ten days of the season. The Orange Nassau Pavilion and the Beatrix Pavilion are particularly noteworthy for their displays of orchids, anthuriums, and bromelias [[10]].

What to Bring to Keukenhof Tulip Garden

The article suggests three essential items to bring when visiting Keukenhof:

  1. Picnic: Bringing your own snacks or a picnic can be a good idea, as there may be lines at the concession stands and cafeterias. It's also nice to have a picnic blanket or large shawl to relax on the lawns if the weather permits [[11]].

  2. Sunscreen & Umbrella: It is advisable to bring sunscreen and an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun or rain. The glasshouses can provide shelter if needed [[12]].

  3. Walking Shoes & Comfortable Clothes: Keukenhof covers a large area, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Dressing in comfortable clothes will allow you to enjoy the garden without any discomfort [[13]].

Buying Tulip Bulbs at Keukenhof and Bringing Them to the United States

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations, private citizens are generally not allowed to import agricultural products, including tulip bulbs, into the United States. Travelers must declare any plants and seeds they may be carrying, even if they are souvenirs for personal use. These items will be inspected and may be confiscated. It is advisable to buy tulip bulbs from wholesale importers or local American growers to ensure compliance with customs regulations [[14]].

Opening Hours of Keukenhof Tulip Garden in 2023

In 2023, Keukenhof Tulip Garden will be open daily from March 23rd until May 14th, from 8 AM to 7:30 PM. It is important to check the official website and the website of the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) for the latest travel restrictions and recommendations before planning a visit [[15]].

I hope this information helps you better understand the concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

12 Things you should know before you visit Keukenhof Tulip Garden (2024)

FAQs

12 Things you should know before you visit Keukenhof Tulip Garden? ›

How much time takes a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens? Of course you can enjoy all the beauty for a whole day, but on average, a visit to the flower gardens takes about 2 to 4 hours.

How long does it take to walk through Keukenhof gardens? ›

How much time takes a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens? Of course you can enjoy all the beauty for a whole day, but on average, a visit to the flower gardens takes about 2 to 4 hours.

Is it worth going to Keukenhof gardens? ›

This is the perfect place to visit if you have a green thumb but even if you don't (like me), you will love seeing the flowers. We loved it so much after our first visit, we decided to visit the Keukenhof again a few years later! After visiting twice, we have figured out what the keys are to maximizing your experience.

What is the best way to visit Keukenhof gardens? ›

The Keukenhof Express Bus is a popular option for traveling to Keukenhof Gardens. The Keukenhof bus departs from various train stations in the Netherlands and takes you to the flower park quickly and cheaply.

What is the best day of the week to visit Keukenhof gardens? ›

Best time to visit the Keukenhof

Keukenhof Gardens are significantly less crowded on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays compared to the other days of the week.

Do Keukenhof tickets sell out? ›

Since Keukenhof Gardens works with day tickets with an arrival time, it regularly happens that the flower park is sold out well in advance.

How long is bus ride from rai to Keukenhof? ›

From Europaplein (RAI) Amsterdam you can take the Keukenhof Express (Bus 852) straight to Keukenhof. This bus departs up to ten times an hour and it takes approx. 35 minutes to get to Keukenhof. Travel to Schiphol Airport where you can transfer to the Keukenhof Express (Bus 858).

What city is closest to Keukenhof gardens? ›

Keukenhof
LocationLisse, Netherlands
Nearest cityHaarlem
Coordinates52.271256°N 4.546365°E
Established1949
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What is the best month to see Keukenhof? ›

To see the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens and hyacinths, you must visit in April till the beginning of May. If you are fond of snowwhites and crocus, February and March is a good time to admire their beauty. Daffodils are mainly found in their best shape in March and April.

Do I need to buy Keukenhof tickets in advance? ›

Tickets are available online and valid on a fixed date in a predetermined time slot. Purchase your tickets online early to avoid disappointment. When is the best time to visit Keukenhof? Flowering at Keukenhof parallels that in nature.

How much does a taxi from Amsterdam to Keukenhof cost? ›

The fastest way to get from Amsterdam to Keukenhof is to taxi which takes 29 min and costs €95 - €120. Is there a direct bus between Amsterdam and Keukenhof? Yes, there is a direct bus departing from Amsterdam, Europaplein/RAI and arriving at Lisse, Keukenhof. Services depart every 15 minutes, and operate every day.

What shoes to wear to Keukenhof? ›

Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. Sneakers will be just fine. It's really not the best idea to wear shoes with high heels. Keukenhof is fun for all ages.

How much is the entrance fee to Keukenhof gardens? ›

Price of Keukenhof Ticket and Tours
Keukenhof ticketsPrice
Adult (18+)€ 20.00Book now
Kids (4-17)€ 9.00Book now
Kids (0-3)Free
Parking€ 10.00Book now
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How much is the bus from Amsterdam to Keukenhof? ›

A day ticket for only the Keukenhof bus from Amsterdam can be bought at the bus. A bus ticket only will cost € 17.00. You can also buy the Amsterdam Region Travel Ticket for € 21.00 and get unlimited public transport in and around Amsterdam including bus 852.

Can you take the train to Keukenhof gardens? ›

Pro tip: As a bonus option, you can also take a 40-min train to Leiden Centraal from Amsterdam. Once there, hop on bus line 854, which will take you directly to Keukenhof gardens.

What is special about Keukenhof? ›

During the past 74 years Keukenhof developed into a world-famous attraction. Keukenhof is the international and independent showcase for the Dutch floricultural sector, with a special emphasis on flower bulbs.

How large are the Keukenhof gardens? ›

And in the Netherlands, the belle of the spring-bling ball is Keukenhof Gardens (keukenhof.nl), with its 80 acres annually displaying over 7 million bulbs.

How big is the Keukenhof garden? ›

According to the official website, Keukenhof Park covers an area of 32 hectares (79 acres) and approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the gardens annually.

How long does it take to see the tulips in Amsterdam? ›

To see the country in full bloom, time your visit between late March and early May, when its flower fields are carpeted in eye-popping streaks of pink, orange, and yellow, and tulip festivals in Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside put the beloved flowers in the spotlight.

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