Keukenhof: The Holland Tulip Festival

Keukenhof is the largest flower garden on earth. Translated directly from Dutch, “Keukenhof” means “kitchen garden”, because this used to be the garden where herbs were grown for the local castle (casual). The first tulip festival was held in 1949, and each year there is a new theme. This year’s theme is ‘The Golden Age’. This refers to the 17th century period in which the Netherlands went through a flourishing era in the ‘fields’ (get it) of trade, arts and sciences. It was also the era in which the tulip trade thrived, making it a natural fit for these one-of-a-kind gardens. Don’t mention the fact that the tulip once brought the entire nation of the Netherlands to its economic knees by becoming a hyper- overvalued good with a single bulb costing ten times the average salary at the time of the famed “Tulip Bubble”. The bubble exploded, it was messy – life goes on. These have been facts that are fun, or “fun facts”.

IMG_5030So naturally, I had to go. Flowers are ‘aesthetic’ and ‘aesthetic’ is all the rage (or at least what I attempt to have, possess, embody, produce – these things take time. It’s a journey. *eye roll*). When I arrived to the gardens on the day of the garden’s Spring opening, I was overwhelmed and underwhelmed simultaneously. While there were tulips as far as the eye could see, there were also sparse spots where tulips had not yet bloomed. To boot, it was also 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This a happy Southerner does not make. However, I was still out-of-my-mind excited to explore and take too many pictures in the name of ‘aesthetic’. I also wanted a new lock-screen background. Objectives had to be met. The outdoors were so impeccably landscaped, and it was difficult not to feel an immense appreciation for the design and prep work it took to map it all out (three months just for the physical task of planting the bulbs! This doesn’t even account for the time spent planning the design – and each year the design is different). IMG_4949IMG_4940IMG_4948IMG_4942IMG_4954IMG_4955IMG_4951IMG_4943IMG_4944IMG_4945IMG_4956IMG_4955IMG_4952IMG_5289IMG_4995IMG_5277IMG_5262IMG_5003IMG_4957IMG_5002IMG_5001                 The inside of the greenhouse held a different sort of wow-factor. In here, the tulips did not depend on the outside temperature to determine when to bloom. It could be any season in the greenhouse for all they knew. In the massive greenhouse, every flower you can imagine had been tricked into thinking that it was their time to blossom. (That was for you, Mom, Dad, and Philip). Enjoy these next photos of inside. They also had amazing hot chocolate! They charged 50 cents extra for whipped cream, though – not cool. It’s a matter of principle.

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IMG_5234IMG_5043IMG_5037IMG_5034IMG_5033IMG_5123IMG_5133IMG_5216IMG_5121IMG_5120IMG_5044IMG_5042IMG_5307Finally, here’s a little something extra. There were so many fun animals in the park as well! You could pet them and feed them.

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