Don’t listen to the locals. They will tell you that it’s a tourist trap, that it’s crowded and noisy, and that you may have better things to do on a free day. The Keukenhof exhibition is still the most beautiful garden in the Netherlands, at least for a few weeks every year. It is one of the biggest flower exhibitions in the world, and one of the main events organized in the country every spring. Imagine a park the size of Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, where a few million flower bulbs have been planted carefully by the best Dutch landscape architects. Tulips are certainly the exhibition’s stars, but all spring flowers are fairly represented, and a special area is dedicated to exotic plants like orchids. Original miniature gardens are created and additional attractions like concerts and other shows come to add extra color.
The event was initiated in 1949 by the mayor of Lisse, the small town hosting it, which is situated at the heart of the biggest Dutch flower growing region. The idea was to offer a place where flower growers from all over the Netherlands could show their products – and promote this way Dutch exports (the Netherlands is even today the world’s largest exporter of flowers). The exhibition was a great success, and it became a yearly event lasting usually from mid-March until mid-May. All major Dutch flower producers are represented. While trade remains its main goal, Keukenhof is a celebration for all senses, and a place where people can forget at least for one day all cultural, national or religious differences. Indeed, the beauty of flowers seems to be one of the few things we all agree upon. Try it, and you will definitely not regret it.
The 2016 exhibition opened yesterday, and it will last until 16.05. See below the Keukenhof site: