Two months every year – mid-March to mid-May – visitors from around the world flock to the small town of Lisse, southwest of Amsterdam, to witness a riot of color, scent and design seen nowhere else in the world. This is Keukenhof, where more than 7 million tulips and other bulb flowers blossom in breathtakingly beautiful displays.
The 79-acre garden was established in 1949 by the then-mayor of Lisse and 20 flower bulb exporters. The idea was to present a flower exhibit where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe could show off their hybrids and help the Dutch export industry. The Netherlands is the world's largest exporter of flowers.
The park opened in 1950 and was an instant success, with 236,000 visitors in the first year alone. During the past 65 years Keukenhof has grown into a world-famous attraction. Today almost 100 exhibitors supply 800 varieties of tulips to be planted in the fall for display in the park the following year.
My visit to Keukenhof is one of the AmaWaterways Tulip Time! Cruise excursions. Other stops along the one-week cruise include Amsterdam, Volendam, Edam, Het Loo Palace in Arnhem, Willemstad and Kinderdijk (where the greatest concentration of windmills are located) in the Netherlands; and Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and Bruges in Belgium.
AmaWaterways features river cruises in Europe, Africa and Asia including Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. Complimentary small group excursions are offered daily with knowledgeable guides and state-of-the art headsets that allow guests to hear everything the guide is saying.
For more information on AmaWaterways cruises, visit the website or call 1-800-626-0126.
To learn more about Keukenhof, visit the website.