European Travels with SACCO
As summer turned to autumn last year, my husband and I travelled by car through Germany and on to the Netherlands on our way to Sweden. One of the places we visited was the Keukenhof Gardens.
Keukenhof Gardens lies just outside Amsterdam and it is the largest spring garden in Europe, possibly the world. It is indeed massive; I was really impressed with the scale of the garden and the layout, which was both structured and unstructured wooded areas and in various themes. I believe there is about 7-8 million bulbs in colour at the height of the season which runs for 8 weeks from March to May. Spectacular!
The bulbs are mostly donated, and come in all shapes and colours with plenty of Tulips, Daffodils and other pretty spring flowers. They are all planted by hand by a team of 30 gardeners, and planting is done in layers and by design so that there will be bulbs in bloom throughout the colourful eight-week season.
If you use your guide map you can follow various footpaths to different areas of interest. My husband and I went into two or three flower pavilions, and stopped to view an iconic Dutch style windmill and a boat on the canal. There was also a fun fashion show to add to the entertainment. Hubby then went into the maze, while I went off to put my feet up and make friends with a magnificently showy peacock and another tourist in the local zoo.
We then had some food which I thought was a tad expensive before making our way towards the exit via another food hall with the usual tourist souvenirs on display (the inevitable mini ceramic windmills etc.) plus a museum with an unusual exhibition showing historical information about the tulip industry since the 17th century.
Apparently, in the 1600s tulips were used as currency, and, before the market in them crashed you could even purchase a good property if you had enough of them - which puts the current house price issue in perspective...
The Layout is based on designs based on English and European artist styles, themes and colours. It takes 1-2 hours to walk around if you are fit; we are not the sprinters we used to be, plus we stopped to take photos, admire the various views/styles, and express our appreciation with a lot of oohs and ahhs, In the exhibition there were some moving exhibits which both startled us, and made us laugh. It’s a fantastic place – if you are ever in Amsterdam, it’s definitely well worth a visit.