Providing genuine insight into the regions and cultures we visit, every Emerald Waterways river cruise includes at least one EmeraldPLUS experience. At no extra cost, we will guide you through an excursion or activity which provides a genuine taste of local life. We offer a huge selection of these experiences, tailored to specific river cruises and our guests.
Here, we explore one of our ever-popular EmeraldPLUS experiences – visiting the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens.
Located some 25 miles south of Amsterdam, Keukenhof Gardens is made up of 32 hectares of flowers, including more than 800 varieties of tulips – providing a uniquely Dutch experience. The colourful display of floral beauty has proved to be enduringly popular with visitors since it opened to the public more than 65 years ago.
This year’s theme throughout the Keukenhof Gardens is ‘The Golden Age’, celebrating the era when the Netherlands grew to become a rich, powerful nation through global trade. Amongst the highlights of the theme is the flower bulb mosaic depicting the seas and the rich canal-side houses of Amsterdam. Comprising of more than 100,000 tulips, grape hyacinths and crocuses across an area of 250m2, the mosaic is a truly captivating spectacle.
It is even possible to take a little piece of the park home with you – all of the seven million flowering bulbs are provided by 100 participating companies using the gardens as a showroom for their wares. Helping provide a platform for the Netherlands’ proud floricultural culture, Keukenhof Gardens proudly displays flowers from royal suppliers and boutique growers alike.
Such is the influence of the gardens, professional growers will only supply their prized bulbs to Keukenhof – providing a stunningly vibrant insight into the Netherlands’ floral history and legacy.
A Brief History
Keukenhof Gardens (literally translation of ‘Kitchen Garden’) can trace its history back to the 15th century, when Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria collected gathered fruits and vegetables from the woods for her Teylingen Castle.
From here the Keukenhof Gardens were built in 1641, eventually growing to an estate over 200 hectares in size. The gardens were given a massive overhaul in 1857 by landscape architect father and son team, Jan David Zocher and Louis Paul Zocher. The Zocher family used a traditional English landscape style to form the basis of the gardens.
It wasn’t until 1949 that the gardens assumed their current styling, when a group of 20 flower bulb exporters devised a plan to use the site as a permanent exhibition of spring-flowering bulbs. The gardens opened to the public the following year, attracting 236,000 visitors in 1950 alone.
Now in its 67th annual edition, Keukenhof Gardens continue to grow from strength-to-strength – celebrating Dutch culture, floral tradition and beauty.
A number of Emerald Waterways cruises navigate the rivers and watery passages of the Netherlands, giving many guests the chance to enjoy the beauty and splendour of the Keukenhof Gardens. For a full selection of our unforgettable river cruises , please visit our homepage or contact our dedicated team on 0808 301 4705.