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Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof , also known as the Garden of Europe, is situated near Lisse, Netherlands, and is the world’s largest flower garden. According to the official website for the Keukenhof Park, approximately 7,000,000 flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares. Keukenhof is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam. It is accessible by bus from the train stations of Haarlem, Leiden and Schiphol. It is located in an area called the “Dune and Bulb Region”

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The Park

Keukenhof originally focused almost exclusively on flower bulbs, but now has much more to offer. The historic park, which dates from 1857 and was designed in the English landscape garden style by Zocher, forms the perfect backdrop for the flower bulbs. Visitors can become acquainted with cut flowers, plants and tree nursery products.

Each year, fourty gardeners plant bulbs at reserved locations throughout the park. At the end of the season, these bulbs are harvested, and a new cycle of planting, blooming and harvesting begins again in the autumn.

In order to ensure that Keukenhof always has a new look, the planting is redesigned every year. The plants are carefully selected so that visitors can enjoy bulbs in full bloom throughout the entire period Keukenhof is open. The seven million flower bulbs are supplied completely free of charge by a hundred exhibitors who could hardly imagine a better showcase for their products.

For children, Keukenhof has a maze, a playground, a Miffy house and a petting zoo. A treasure hunt takes them along the most beautiful places in the park.

The history of Keukenhof

Keukenhof started as an initiative on the part of ten flower bulb growers and exporters who create a showcase for the flower industry. In 1949, they opted for an ideal location: the gardens around Keukenhof castle.

For many years, Jacoba van Beieren was the hostess of Keukenhof. In the 15th century, she was the owner of the land where Keukenhof is now located. At that time the area was still a piece of untouched nature, used only for hunting and to gather herbs for the castle’s kitchen, which is where the name Keukenhof originally comes from. Countess Jacoba van Beieren was born in 1401 and died in 1436. During the period from 1417 to 1433, she ruled Holland, Zeeland and Henegouwen. ‘Never a dull moment’ is perhaps the best summary of the life of this somewhat tempestuous woman, who married four times, spent a couple of years in prison, and lived in exile for some time in England. One of her favourite pastimes seems to have been waging war – she was even willing to go to war with former husbands. In 1433 she was forced to abdicate from all of her Counties. She withdrew from public life and, at the age of just 35, she died of tuberculosis in Castle Teylingen, not far from Keukenhof.

Following the death of the Countess Jacoba van Beieren in 1436, the large estate passed through the hands of several wealthy merchant families, including Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt. They asked the landscape architects Zocher, who were also responsible for the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and the gardens of Soestdijk Palace, to design a garden around their castle. The English landscape garden they created in 1857 still forms the basis for the Keukenhof park of today. The windmill at Keukenhof is more than a century old. It was built in Groningen in 1892, and was used to pump water out of a polder. In 1957, the Holland-America Line bought the mill and donated it to Keukenhof.

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