Flower fields

Ulrike Grafberger, Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Keukenhof is an institution in Holland. And nearly 800,000 visitors a year can’t be wrong! However: these 800,000 visitors are spread over just eight weeks, which means  100,000 visitors a week. And this all adds up to quite a lot of tourists in one place: Dutch, Germans, Italians, Japanese, Americans. A glorious mix of nationalities hops out of the buses arriving at Keukenhof from mid-March to mid-May, taking oodles of photos among the tulips and daffodils.
It’s no wonder that Keukenhof is one of Holland’s most popular photo sites.

Now I don’t want to be unfair: Keukenhof is definitely that. After all, there is presumably no other place on earth so overloaded with tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. Every year seven million flower bulbs are once again planted in the outdoor flower beds, to produce this spectacle. Only one thing is for sure: you don’t get Keukenhof to yourself and, what’s more, a visit at 15 Euros per person leaves its mark. There is, however, another way...

Tulips, as far as the eye can see

All around Keukenhof, and in the general area of Lisse, there are countless flower fields full of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. We therefore set out to find the most beautiful spots. Thanks to Herman van Amsterdam and his website “Bollenveldenradar” (“Flower Fields Radar”), we knew exactly when and where the flowers are at their most beautiful.

And these are the tips fromHerman, the tulip region’s ambassador, who takes tours every day through the tulip fields. Here you will find the most beautiful flower fields:

In Lisse:
Zwartelaan, Essenlaan, Loosterweg-Zuid and Herenweg (the area between Engelbewaarderskerk and Ruine van Dever)

In Hillegom:
Veenenburgerlaan, Zuider Leidsevaart and Derde Loosterweg

In Noordwijkerhout:
Herenweg and Westeinde

De Zilk:
Zilkerbinnenweg

Just enter the town and street into your satnav and then ... you’ll be looking at flowers as far as the eye can see.

When is the flowering period?

I should add one more thing: the flowers don’t blossom at the same time every year.
Flowering usually begins in mid-March, but depends on the temperatures. The following photos were taken at the beginning of April. What impressed me most, in addition to the vast number of flowers, was mainly the unbelievable fragrance. Just standing in a field of hyacinths like this – no perfume in the world can compare with it!

Then to Lisse for refreshments

We’ve now saved our money that we would have spent on Keukenhof. We could now invest it in an evening meal. Herman van Amsterdam, a native of the region, also gives us the tip to visit the restaurant De Vier Seizoenen (“The Four Seasons”) in Lisse. A glance at the restaurant’s menu reveals: seasonal dishes are in fact being served, such as a three-course Meal of the Month. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free meals. If you prefer Chinese or Italian food, this can also be found in Lisse.

More traditional Holland