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 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.