Amsterdam is the largest city in Holland, and the most popular with tourists. There are a lot of reasons to visit here, but we had just one- Tulips. The mother of all tulip gardens, Keukenhof, is about thirty minutes from Amsterdam in Lisse. It is said to be the largest garden in the world and is only open to the public for eight weeks per year from mid-March through mid-May.
The Dutch name Keukenhof literally means “kitchen garden.” It was bestowed its name in 1857 when it was designed for a Duchess who lived in the palace on the grounds of the estate. Far from a kitchen garden today, it boasts over seven million flower bulbs in numerous gardens throughout the 79 acre park. The bulbs are supplied by exhibitors for free and every bulb is planted by hand.
Bulbs are planted in Autumn, and the tulips begin to open around March. They are most beautiful from March through April, but depending on weather, will survive for much longer. We visited the first week of May and although many of the fields along the “flower strip” from Haarlem to Leiden, had already been cut, Keukenhof was quite beautiful. It was scheduled to close just one week after our visit.
Each year the garden has a different theme. The theme this season was Romance and Flowers. I’m pretty sure they nailed it.
When you tire (not possible) of looking at tulip displays, you can actually see them growing in nearby fields. Rent a bike, take a tour, or drive your car over to Leiden or Haarlem to see majestic fields of color. You can visit this site to learn more about biking through Holland.
While many fields had already been cut, an unfortunate, but necessary crime, there were still a few fields in full bloom. Some are accessible, but there are rules. Ask first, don’t pick, and stay on the perimeter.
We asked nicely and were allowed to enter the field. Overjoyed does not adequately describe the feeling of taking this photo, in Holland, in the middle of a tulip field, on a perfect Spring day, with my daughter. It was most definitely a “pinch me moment.”
Since picking tulips is a “no-no,” you can visit Annemieke’s Picking Garden in Hillegom. They are open for picking consistent with the season. Visit their website and plan your visit.
Fun Fact: The reason most fields are cut at this time of year is so that the flowers will not steal nourishment that the bulbs need to thrive. Bulbs, you see are the major commodity. I did not know that and had always assumed that the flowers themselves were the export item. Tulips are, of course, exported all over the world from the Netherlands, but the bulbs themselves represent over 70% of the world’s bulb trade. You can visit the Tulip Museum in Amsterdam to learn more fun facts about tulip bulb production, including the infamous “Tulip Mania” of the 1600’s. Think Bitcoin!
For more about Keukenhof visit their website or, just hop a plane to Amsterdam next Spring and see it for yourself.
We suggest: If you are looking for night life and lots of excitement, stay in Amsterdam. But, if like us, you prefer quiet, understated elegance, take a look at Den Hague for accommodations. We stayed at the Residenz, a small boutique hotel on a quiet street in Den Hague, and were very pleased.
Everything you will want to see is within thirty minutes to 2 hours of Amsterdam and there are trains, tours, local buses and plenty of rental cars to provide transportation. Bikes are the preferred option by the locals so be prepared to yield or go splat!
Arrive around the third week in April if you want to see the fields. Weather conditions will change everything and just like chasing Fall foliage or Texas Bluebonnets, there is no guarantee that you will hit peak season, but you will still see amazing beauty.
When you visit Keukenhof, arrive early. The park will get very crowded by noon, so if you want pictures that don’t include uninvited guests, be there when it opens.
Don’t you just love how a photo takes you right back to the moment? I will relive this memory for a very long time.
16 thoughts on “Captured Moments – Tulip Season in Holland”
OMG! How beautiful! Tulips are one of my favorite flowers! 🌷
Hi Gerri, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed my photos of the thousands upon thousands of tulips we saw while in Holland.
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Hi, Suzanne – These tulips are absolutely stunning!! Thank you for sharing this with us.
You are very welcome.
Hi Suzanne, all I can say is WOW!! What a beautiful way to start my week. I love flowers and colour and these rows and rows of tulips are breathtakingly beautiful. We have a Tulip Festival in Australia but of course not on this scale. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous photos.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
So happy to deliver a little bouquet of sunshine to your door. Have a happy week.
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Stunning flowers! How nice that you were allowed to tiptoe through the tulips (I could hear Tiny Tim while looking at your photos). I remember reading long ago about the Dutch tulip mania in the 1600’s and how many people lost their savings speculating on the prices of the bulbs. So happy to see the industry is alive and flourishing!
It is definitely alive and flourishing. I highly recommend a visit in April, when all the festivals are happening.
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That story is pretty wild. My favorite part about visiting the garden was when I realized that there are literally hundreds of varieties of tulips. I have only ever seen the kind sold in our local market around Easter.
I just had a wave of memories. We were there a couple of years back, the gardens were absolutely packed, but it didn’t affect the beauty of the gardens just the ability to get photos without people trying to take selfies. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
I am not surprised that you have been to Keukenhof. It is a garden lover’s dream come true. My second favorite garden (actually, maybe my 1st) is Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. If you have not visited, please do. It is beyond spectacular!
I guess I’ve just discovered when is the best time to explore Holland. As a passionate lover of tulips, I will have to head back there during the tulip season. Your pictures made my mouth drop!
Hi Lydia, my photos do not adequately capture the beauty of this place. I do hope you will visit during the season to see for yourself.
Wow stunning! I love tulips, I have seen few on my last visit to Amsterdam, but not at this scale. Love the picture of your daughter among the gorgeous tulips 🙂
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Loved your fun fact and all the amazing photos of the tulips in bloom. I’d go to Amsterdam for the tulips too! Anita
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