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Keukenhof and Free Flower Parade – Spring Holiday in the Netherlands
After a gloomy winter in Europe, there is nothing more colorful than the flower shows in the Netherlands!
The Netherlands, a Western European country located next to Germany and above Belgium, attracts tons of tourists to its flower shows every spring. Spring in the Netherlands is usually between the end of March and the middle of May, while the May Bank Holiday (the first week of May) sees the most visits to flower shows. Spring is also considered the best time to visit the Netherlands, as the weather is much milder and less rainy than in summer.
The official flower garden – Keukenhof is in the Netherlands, but other tulip fields are located outside of Keukenhof. Below are some local tips to help you make the most of the Dutch spring flowers.
Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, is the largest flower garden in the Netherlands, as well as the largest open-air flower garden in the world. The garden covers an area of 32 hectares, has around 7 million flowers, 100 different types of tulips and is the largest sculpture park in the Netherlands. You can easily spend a whole day there.
Some useful information for your visit:
By bus – buses run from Schiphol, Amsterdam’s Leidseplein, Haag Central Station, Leiden Central Station and Haarlem Central Station.
All-in tickets (tickets including bus fee and Keukenhof ticket) are also available at these departure points. Check their official website (www.keukenhof.nl) for details.
The opening period of Keukenhof varies every year. For 2011, the opening dates are from 24 March to 20 May, including Sundays and public holidays.
8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (last entry at 6:00 p.m.)
Adults and over 65 years €14.50 per person
Children (4-11 years) €7.00 per person
Besides Keukenhof, there are other FREE options to enjoy the Dutch flowers in bloom.
A parade of flowers
During the opening of Keukenhof, there is a free flower parade (known in Dutch as ‘Bloemencorso’) which follows a 40 km route from Noordwijk, through Keukenhof and then all the way to Haarlem, along the so-called Bollenstreek. (bulb area).
Themes for the flower show differ from one another. Last year’s theme was ‘Journey to Europe’, and this year’s (2011) was ‘Musical Parade’. Vehicles and vehicles would be decorated with flowers and would be paraded through the route with marching bands.
This year, the flower parade is expected to take place on April 16, 2011 (Saturday). If you visit Keukenhof on the same day, you can leave the park and enjoy the show and re-enter with a same-day ticket.
Check their official website www.bloemencorso.info for the best location to view the parade.
Visit the Bollenstreek
If you’re looking for even more authentic and local ways to enjoy the sea of tulips, head to the local flower fields in the Bollenstreek, the Bulb region.
The Bollenstreek area includes cities such as Leiden, Hillegom, Lisse (the small town where Keukenhof is located) and some other nearby villages. You can get there by direct train or bus from Schiphol Airport to one of the above stations. It is also possible to rent bicycles for transport to the fields. There you can take beautiful photos with miles of a sea of tulips stretching through your lens.
Enjoy a flower holiday in the Netherlands this spring!
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