History of Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens has a rich history dating back to the 15th century when it was originally a hunting ground for the Countess of Hainaut. Later, in the 1800s, the grounds were transformed into a landscape garden by landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul. The then-owner of the estate, Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt, wanted a park surrounding their castle that would reflect the Romantic ideals of the time. The gardens were also used to cultivate vegetables and herbs for the castle's kitchen, giving rise to its name "Keukenhof," meaning "kitchen garden."

In 1949, the mayor of Lisse and a group of prominent flower bulb growers organized an open-air flower exhibition at Keukenhof to promote the flower industry in the region. The exhibition was an instant success, drawing tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Today, Keukenhof Gardens has become a symbol of Dutch horticulture, with its annual flower displays showcasing millions of bulbs of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, among others.

Pre-15th Century
Pre-15th Century

Before the 15th century, the land where Keukenhof Gardens is located was part of the Teylingen Castle estate. During this time, the area was primarily used for hunting. The Teylingen Castle was a significant location during the Middle Ages, located in the region of Holland, where the gardens are also situated. The castle was built in the 13th century and served as a noble residence until the 17th century. Afterward, the castle was abandoned and subsequently fell into ruins. Today, only a few ruins remain, including the tower, but the estate's land has been repurposed into the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens, a spectacular garden of spring-flowering bulbs attracting millions of visitors each year.

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15th Century
15th Century

In the 15th century, Countess Jacoba van Beieren, who lived in Teylingen Castle, is believed to have played a crucial role in the history of Keukenhof Gardens. The countess created a herb garden near the castle kitchen, which gave the garden its name, "Keukenhof" meaning "kitchen courtyard" or "kitchen garden". It is said that the herbs were used to cure illnesses and flavor dishes for the countess and her guests. The garden was also used for practical purposes such as providing vegetables, fruits, and nuts for the castle's residents. Jacoba's love for gardening and the natural beauty of the area may have been the first seeds sown in the history of Keukenhof Gardens.

Suggested Read: Keukenhof Tickets Guide: How to Get the Best Deal

19th Century
19th Century

In the 19th century, the Van Pallandt family bought the land and decided to transform the gardens into a grand public attraction. They hired famous architects Zocher father and son duo to redesign the gardens into an English-style garden. The new design included winding paths, ponds, and vistas that showcased the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The gardens were opened to the public in 1949, and since then, millions of visitors from around the world have come to admire the vibrant display of flowers every year. Today, Keukenhof is not just a garden but an iconic symbol of Dutch culture and beauty, attracting tourists and flower enthusiasts alike.

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In 1949, the idea of showcasing spring season bulbs at Keukenhof was conceived by the current mayor of Lisse and 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters. This marked the beginning of transforming Keukenhof into a springtime garden. The garden first opened to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, attracting over 200,000 visitors in its first year alone. Since then, Keukenhof has continued to grow and expand, adding new features and exhibits each year. Today, the garden is considered one of the world's most famous green spaces, attracting visitors from all over the globe who come to witness the beauty of the tulip season.

Must Read: Tips to Visit Keukenhof Garden

Present Day
Present Day

Keukenhof Gardens continues to attract millions of visitors annually, making it a top tourist destination in the Netherlands. Beyond tulips, Keukenhof features various flower species, including hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, and lilies. The garden is not only a place for leisure but also serves as a venue for business events and photoshoots. Keukenhof has also played an important role in the Dutch horticulture industry by promoting the cultivation of flower bulbs. Visitors can witness the process of bulb cultivation and purchase their favorites to bring home. The garden staff strives to maintain Keukenhof's beauty, ensuring that there are always blooming flowers across the park during the opening season.

Must Checkout: Keukenhof and Windmill Tour

Know Before You Go Keukenhof Gardens

Best Time to Visit
How to Reach

Keukenhof Tulip Gardens is located in the town of Lisse, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. The gardens are situated in the heart of the flower-growing region, just outside of Amsterdam, making it easily accessible by car or public transportation. The address of Keukenhof Gardens is Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands.

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FAQ’s About Keukenhof Gardens

What is the history of Keukenhof Gardens?

    Keukenhof Gardens has a rich history dating back to the 15th century when Countess Jacoba van Beieren created a herb garden near the kitchen, which led to its name of Keukenhof, meaning ‘kitchen courtyard’ or ‘kitchen garden.’ In the 19th century, the Van Pallandt family acquired the land and hired Architects Zocher, a father and son duo, to design an English-style garden, which is still the basis of what you see today.

When did Keukenhof Gardens first open to the public?

What can visitors expect to see at Keukenhof Gardens?

Is Keukenhof Gardens only open during tulip season?

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