Keukenhof Castle is a notable country house dating from the Dutch Golden Age. It was built in 1641 by Adriaen Maertensz Block, an administrator for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Situated near Lisse, in the province of Zuid-Holland, this luxurious estate is also home to the famous Keukenhof Gardens. But Keukenhof Castle is an attraction in itself: the house and its Golden Age collections are open to guided tour groups, you can explore the gardens and parks throughout the year, plus the estate hosts a variety of special events, such as festivals, Christmas markets and Halloween festivities.
- Get a taste of what life was like in the Dutch Golden Age thanks to this historic castle and its collection.
- Discover gardens that showcase centuries of landscaping styles.
- The famous Keukenhof Gardens and tulips are an unmissable attraction every spring, but this park is open to visitors all year round.
The history of Keukenhof Castle
The name Keukenhof was actually derived from Keukenduin (translated as ‘kitchen dune’), an area of dunes near Lisse, which yielded game, cattle, herbs and berries for the estate’s household. Today, of course, the name Keukenhof is more closely attached to the Keukenhof Gardens, the spectacular tulip gardens that open every spring. While the estate’s impressive house dates from the 17th century, it didn’t gain its distinctive Neo-Gothic look and eye-catching towers until it was modernized by Elie Saraber in 1860.
Explore the collections of Keukenhof Castle
Keukenhof Castle is home to important collections of furniture and portraits, including notable paintings by 17th-century painter Nicolaes Maes, a pupil of Rembrandt. There’s also a collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain displayed in a uniquely built cabinet, an exuberantly decorated chimney inspired by the work of French architect and designer Daniël Marot, plus fine examples of Cuir de Cordoue (gilded and embossed leather hangings). Taken as a whole, the house’s interior is beautifully preserved, ensuring a fantastic representation of how the nobility lived in this era.
Stroll through historic gardens
The gardens of the Keukenhof estate are beautiful and leafy. In the 1850s, renowned landscape architects J.D. Zocher and his son designed the gardens, taking inspiration from the English landscape style. In more recent times, acclaimed modern-day landscape architect Michael van Gessel was involved in its restoration, working closely with the original designs by Zocher. Stroll around the park to discover beautiful artworks that fit perfectly with the rustic feel of the estate. One of the most striking elements is the terraced garden on the hill, dating from 1694. From the top of the hill you can enjoy a fantastic view of the castle on one side, and an expansive view of the park on the other.
Other fantastic features that can be found in the park include the sculpture garden, Restaurant Hofboerderij (where you can enjoy a high tea, BBQ or even make your own pancakes), and a petting zoo for kids.
The park is open from April through September, daily from 08:30-19:30; from October through March, daily from 08:30-16:30. The castle is only open to guided tour groups.
Entry to the park is free.
Admission for guided tours: adults €10, children (4-17 years) €5.
The coastal areas around The Hague, Leiden and Haarlem were popular spots chosen by merchants and the well-to-do, building country houses and estates outside of the big cities in the 17th century. Today, you don't need to be a wealthy trader to enjoy the best of these locations. Oud-Poelgeest Castle and De Wittenburg Castle are just two fantastic examples of Dutch castles where you can spend the night.