For centuries, tulips have served as a national symbol for the tiny country of tall people, and the best place to find them in 2024 is at the Keukenhof tulip gardens in the Netherlands.
Every October, nearly seven million ambiguous bulbs are expertly planted at the Keukenhof, one of the largest garden displays in Europe. And every spring, those same bulbs burst through the soil and form vibrant blooms in a kaleidoscope of colors that carpet the Dutch countryside.
Plan your Keukenhof tulip gardens 2024 visit
Keukenhof welcomes over 800,000 visitors annually, even though it’s only open for eight weeks of the entire year. The gorgeous gardens draw crowds with their spectacular flower displays and abundant supply of bright and beautiful tulips. In 2019, 1.5 million people visited the gardens during the two-month period that they were open. Other (non-corona affected) years have been equally busy. So, if you’re planning a trip to this world-renowned attraction, save yourself from an hours-long queue or any ‘sold out’ disappointment and book skip-the-line tickets in advance online.
Each year, exhibitors are given a theme to plan their exhibitions around. Some of the most impressive past themes include Van Gogh, Dutch Design, and Flower Power.
Next to this, there are also countless activities to do for all the family, events to join in on, and art to gawk at. For an overview of all the countless things to do at Keukenhof 2024, have a look here.
With over seven million bulbs and 800 varieties of tulips, Keukenhof is a treat for tulip enthusiasts and the I-like-getting-flowers-on-my-birthday types alike. Ready to book your Keukenhof 2024 visit? Here’s what you need to know.
How to experience Keukenhof tulip gardens in 2024
If you want to make the most of your time in the Dutch countryside, there are lots of tickets, tours, and excursions to help you make a day of it.
🚲 Combine your visit with a guided bike ride around Keukenhof. This 2.5-hour bike tour allows you to pedal past endless rows of beautiful flowers and see quintessential landmarks like windmills, a 14th-century castle, and more. You’ll learn the history of Lisse as you go, and your guide will answer any of your burning questions!
🚣♂️ What kind of Dutch excursion would it be without a canal cruise? The fields around Keukenhof are hugged by water, and it’s a truly relaxing time sitting aboard a boat and watching the colors go by. The 90-minute cruise departs from Lisse, and floats along the beautiful Kagerplassen. You can pick up your Keukenhof ticket on the boat and head to the gardens after the cruise.
🎟️ Visiting from Amsterdam? Make for a stress-free day with a Keukenhof ticket and transport from Amsterdam. This tour includes a comfortable bus ride from the capital, a multi-language audio guide for the journey, and a skip-the-line ticket for the gardens.
🚁 How about a helicopter ride over the Dutch flower fields? Just in case your trip to the flower fields needed a little exhilaration – your flower-powered flight will take you soaring through the Dutch skies, introducing you to a whole new colorful world from above.
As well as the dazzling fields of Keukenhof, you’ll see the sweeping Dutch coastline, lush green landscapes, historic towns, and the Netherlands’ unique sand dunes.
What are the Keukenhof 2024 opening times?
In 2023, Keukenhof will be open to the public from 24 March – 15 May, every day from 08:00 to 19:30. Top tip: If you’re keen on avoiding the crowds and snagging a people-free shot of yourself in front of some blooming brilliant landscapes, head to the gardens before 10:30 or after 16:00.
⏱️ Find out insider information on the best time to visit Keukenhof tulip gardens in 2024.
🍴 Wondering where to eat nearby during your visit? We’ve got you covered.
How do I get to Keukenhof tulip gardens in 2024?
Located between The Hague and Amsterdam, Keukenhof is easy to reach by car and public transport. By car, the gardens are accessible via the A4 and A44 motorways. Parking is available at the venue. There are two parking lots, one on either side of the venue. The cost of parking per day is €6.
If you’re relying on public transport, the best way to reach the park is to make your way to one of six departure locations (Haarlem Station, Europaplein Metro Station, Hoofddorp Station, Schiphol Airport, Central Station Leiden, and all Line 90 bus stops in Katwijk, Noordwijk, and Noordwijkerhout) where you can catch an Arriva bus directly to Keukenhof.
🚍 For the ultimate guide on getting to Keukenhof tulip gardens in 2023, take a read of this post.
What is the history of Keukenhof tulip gardens?
You may find yourself wondering: why do the Dutch have a 32-hectare field dedicated to flowers that only bloom for a few weeks of the year, and why do you feel like you just have to be one of the 800,000+ people who visit Keukenhof tulip gardens in 2023? We’ve got two words for you: tulip mania.
The Dutch infatuation with tulips began when Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius received a couple of bulbs from his Turkish associate Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, which he planted in a botanical garden in Leiden. Impressed by the vibrant shades of the tulips that grew from those few small bulbs and their ability to withstand the harsh Dutch climate, Clusius published a book on the flower – and inadvertently sparked what later became known as tulip mania. The flowers were so popular that Clusius’ garden was regularly raided by Leiden locals. And that was just the beginning.
The popularity of tulips stretched beyond the small community of Leiden and the cheerful flower proceeded to captivate the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries. The tulip became a frequent feature in paintings, a regular on the garden decoration scene, and even the subject of festivals. The excitement around the flower kept building and the prices of bulbs kept rising.
By the early 17th century, the value of tulip bulbs had increased to the point where a handful of them was worth as much as six ships or a small mansion. By 1637, that economic bubble burst and it seemed that tulip mania might be over. But while the price of tulips dipped back into an affordable range, their popularity continued to soar. During the 1640s, the Netherlands’ top exports were gin, herring, and tulips. It seemed the infatuation with tulips had spread beyond the Netherlands.
Tulip sales may have fluctuated since the 17th century, but the Dutch have remained the biggest growers of the flower to this day. In 2017, it was reported that nine out of every ten tulips are exported from the Netherlands.
So, where does Keukenhof come in?
The land that today comprises Keukenhof was originally part of the estate of Teylingen Castle. The castle grounds were generally reserved for hunting. However, in the 15th century when Countess Jacoba van Beieren lived on the premises, she added a small garden near the kitchen where she could grow and harvest herbs. The garden became known as the ‘Keukenhof’ (Kitchen courtyard).
Several centuries and owners later, in 1857, landscape architect Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, also a landscape architect, were commissioned to redesign the Teylingen Castle gardens. They used the original ‘Keukenhof’ as a basis for the new design of the gardens – which at that point did not revolve around tulips. Only in the late 1940s did Keukenhof become the tulip mecca that we know and love today.
The transformation of Keukenhof into a flower-lovers paradise was sparked by flower exporters and bulb growers, and their need for a space to showcase their products. In 1949, Dutch flower merchants descended upon Keukenhof to prepare for their first exhibit of spring-flowering bulbs in 1950. During Keukenhof’s first year of operations as a flower garden, more than 20,000 visitors flocked to admire the labors of the Dutch merchants. And as we all know, the popularity of the park has only increased in the decades since.