I had visited Keukenhof during a long weekend in Ghent, but figured I give it another go. It rained in the morning, but was meant to improve in the afternoon … maybe a good time for a visit? Well, queues started already at the dedicated Keukenhof bus stop at Schiphol airport though the actual check in at the venue was swift. My idea that the early morning rain would distract visitors clearly didn’t work out. Real hassle to get around with some many tourists about taking pictures (1.4m visitors in 2017). Still, quite amazing to see all the flower arrangements in endless colours though I kept it brief and probably set a new speed record for a Keukenhof visit.
A little bit of background: The name translates into “kitchen garden” and is also known as the garden of Europe being one of the largest flower gardens in the world (c7m flower bulbs on display on 32 hectares). It is located in the town of Lisse and opens each year from mid-March to mid-May. Historically, the Keukenhof used to be hunting grounds and provided herbs for the castle kitchen of countess of Hainaut (giving the place its name). Later on the ownership passed on to rich merchants before Baron & Baroness van Pallandt commissioned the landscape architects that also worked on Vondelpark to design the grounds. The garden was finally established in 1949 as a flower exhibit for Dutch & European growers. Holland is the largest flower exporter in the world at $3.5bn worth of flower bouquets (c46% market share of exports) followed by Colombia (17%).