Every spring, tourists from around the globe flock to Lisse, Holland to see the greatest
display of spring bulbs in full bloom at the nearly 70 acre display garden simply known as
Dutch tourism authorities state that Keukenhof is host to nearly 800,000
tourists annually that visit during the months of March, April and May. Keukenhof visitors from
the United States make up about 20% of the attendees, and W. Atlee Burpee has representatives
in attendance each year evaluating bulb performance, looking for new varieties and mixing with
gardeners, finding out what colors and styles interest them. Besides the formal and natural
gardens planted with 7 million donated bulbs from Dutch growers, Keukenhof also has 12 indoor
flower show halls, interactive displays for young visitors and formal flower judging by amateur
and professional breeders and designers who submit their most interesting products. Each year
additional themes are added to the display, and a wonderful theme in 2010 was the patio bulb
garden where bulbs were planted around various realistic patios. Past themes focus on various
topics including the Beijing Olympics, New York's Founder Henry Hudson and various countries
that have strong relationships with Holland.
Keukenhof was started in 1949 by Dutch bulb growers who presented their vision to the Mayor
of Lisse, a charming Dutch village south of Amsterdam. The Mayor approached his good friend,
Duke Van Linden to use his 70 acre property and with his agreement, Keukenhof was born. The
same property that was used in 1949 is used today, a combination of open spaces in full sun to
deep woodlands to enclosed buildings.
Keukenhof is the largest marketing effort of any horticultural industry
because of the importance to the Dutch economy. Like most industries, production is moving
offshore to other continents that offer different growing conditions (less harsh) and cheaper
labor. And while production can be moved, what cannot be moved is the passion that the Dutch
have for bulbs in producing new varieties from the thousands of traditional flower breeders
that call Holland home. There is also quality, the standards set by the Dutch are the highest
in the world, and bulbs received from Holland have been grown under the strictest standards
While Keukenhof is all about marketing a product, bulbs, the result is
inspirational in knowing and understanding the utilization and beauty of bulbs. How bulbs,
which unquestionably have the most beautiful color patterns and tones are used in such natural
plantings to form the most beautiful showcase in early spring, as all gardens awake to a new
year. Nearly every display at Keukenhof can be duplicated in a home garden by planting the
various color combinations.
Tourism in Holland is very important to the Dutch economy, and there is competition between
the Van Gough Museum, Anne Frank House, Madam Tussauds and the Flower Auction at Aalsmeer but
without question the Keukenhof Display Gardens are the number one attraction in attendance,
grandeur and beauty.
Please enjoy the visual tour of Keukenhof provided by W. Atlee Burpee.