Spring has sprung, and in few places more dramatically than the Keukenhof—the world’s largest flower park, located in South Holland, whose 79 acres are now blanketed with vivid blooms.
The park opens its gates for just eight weeks every year. Over 7 million bulbs spring to life from March to May, flooding the park with streams of color.
About 100 different suppliers send over their bulbs in the fall so they can show off their finest florals to the visitors who flock to Keukenhof once spring rolls around. Of course, Holland’s iconic tulips are front and center, with over 800 varieties popping up throughout the park. Hyacinths, daffodils, roses, irises and more also add their blooms to the mix.
This year, the crowds of tulip seekers actually wreaked havoc on the “bulb region” in which the park is located: Tourists trampled flower fields in search of the perfect photo, and the influx of drivers jammed the country roads. The Keukenhof alone took in about 200,000 visitors over four days during Easter weekend, according to Dutch News, prompting the park’s director, Bart Siemerink, to call the situation “completely unacceptable."
The word Keukenhof translates to “kitchen garden,” inspired by the land’s former purpose: growing fruits and vegetables for the kitchen staff of 15th-century duchess Jacoba van Beiere (Jacqueline of Bavaria). Since then, the estate has been transformed by the addition of a castle in 1641 and a redesign of the grounds in 1857 by the same father-and-son architect duo responsible for Amsterdam’s largest city park, the famous Vondelpark.
Keukenhof has hosted its flower displays since 1950. This year’s exhibition, the 70th in the park’s history, carries the theme of “Flower Power.”