SCHINNEN, The Netherlands -- In Lisse, between Amsterdam and The Hague, in the heart of the Bollenstreek (Bulb Region), close to the sea, you'll find a beautiful park called "De Keukenhof." It is the world's largest flower garden, displaying the pride of Dutch growers and a wealth of flowers, sorted by color.
The Keukenhof, translated to Kitchen Garden, owes its name to Countess Jacoba van Beieren (Jaqueline of Bavaria), who had a castle at this location in the 15th century. She stayed there very often, because the area provided good hunting grounds. Herbs and vegetables were grown in the yard for her kitchen and these have given way to more colorful plants and flowers.
Over six million flower bulbs provide beautiful scenic spots throughout the park. Large flower palaces are filled with oceans of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and smaller varieties of their species as well as orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many more flowers. As the season progresses, the emphasis shifts to different groups of flowers. It is a display of colors and an overwhelming perfume.
Endless varieties of tulips can be seen most of the time, but the best time to view them is mid-April. Other flowers bloom again at a different time. However, the park is always a colorful sight. The flower shops in the park can actually mail flower bulbs to the U.S. for customers.
The park is open only in the spring time. This year, you can visit from March 22 to May 23. The Keukenhof is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Ticket office closes at 6 p.m. Entry is €16 for adults and €8 for children age 4 to 11.
Keukenhof is easy to reach via the A4 (exit Nieuw-Vennep) and the A44 (exit 3 Lisse). Follow the Keukenhof signs.
For those in the Netherlands, Schinnen Trips & Tours is offering a day trip to the Keukenhof Gardens on April 21. For more information, call DSN 360-7560 or+31 (0)46-4437560. For those in Belgium, SHAPE Trips and Tours is offering a day trip on April 21. For more information, call DSN 423-3884 or +32(0)6544-3884.