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The International Writers Magazine
Sprng Tulip Garden

The largest Spring garden in the world
Marianne de Nazareth

Come the weekend and with spring out in all her glory, we the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Journalism students decided to see Amsterdam’s famous spring garden- The Keukenhof Lisse

"Take a metro to Schipol and in the arrivals lobby we can buy our ticket to Keukenhof," said Saraswati Munningar one of my classmates. The gardens are located in Lisse, and was apparently the idea of the then Mayor in 1949. The initial idea was purely commercial, he wanted an open air garden where exporters of tulip bulbs could showcase their hybrid varieties. Buyers could walk around at leisure and choose the variety that caught their eye, as every variety is named. A deep pink was named Grand Style, a couple of deep reds were Barbados and Calypso and an Orange which I loved most of all was called Miss Holland.

Almost 60 years later, this spring extravaganza draws hundreds of tourists from all over the world to its spectacular display. Easily running into millions of bulbs the garden is a veritable photographer’s delight. Even the grass along the side of the displays are planted in two shades of green, designed to photograph perfectly. Picturesque little streams had swans and ducks in them, making every shot picture card perfect. And since spring brings new life, little goslings too paddled along in a straight line behind mum in the streams. We ran amok with our digital cameras shooting everything in sight. The total number of photos between the five of us could have easily run up to 400 pictures each!

The Keukenhof is huge, spread over 32 hectares with not only tulips, but also hyacinths, daffodils and other spring flowers in the display. It’s easy to get lost, wandering around the idyllic park, letting your senses feast on the beauty around you for a whole day. And what catches the eye are the striking works of art which are also found around the park.

Cafes serving hot meals are set within the park, so set out early and make a picnic of the trip. The park is located between the towns of Hillegom and Lisse south of Haarlem in Zuid Holland, southwest of Amsterdam. For visitors the best way to see it is taking the bus and buying a ticket which includes the entrance into the park.

So, if you are in Amsterdam between March to mid May, a trip to the Keukenhof Gardens is a must. You can buy a bag of your favourite variety of tulip; then go home and check if you do have that proverbial green thumb after all.

© Marianne de Nazareth May 2007
See Marianne's Keukenhof pictures here

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