Tuesday 29 November 2022

Blooming bulbs: the Keukenhof opens in glorious spring weather

Putting the final touches to the displays. Photo: Koen van Weel ANP

The Keukenhof flower park near Lisse opened its doors on Thursday after an absence of two years but visitor numbers are expected to be slightly down on pre-coronavirus years.

‘We are literally jumping up and down with excitement. It’s been terrible for the last two years but we couldn’t have wished for better spring weather than we are experiencing now,’ Keukenhof director Bart Siemerink told local broadcaster Bollenstreek Omroep ahead of the park’s opening on Thursday.

Although the tulip season does not really start for a couple of weeks, there is plenty to see at the moment, and the first hyacinths and tulips are already out, Siemerink said.

‘Everything is beginning to bloom and in a couple of weeks’ time we will have a sea of colour. We are dotting the i’s, tweaking the displays and straightening the litter bins and then we’ll be ready to go.’

The Keukenhof did open briefly last year, allowing some 27,000 people the privilege of seeing the display, but had to close again for the rest of the season because of the lockdown. The park had to resort to an online show of the blooms which was watched by 20 million people around the world.

There are currently no coronavirus measures in force at the park but people are requested to keep their distance where they can.

Visitor number will not be as high as in pre-corona years, Siemerink said. ‘We always have a lot of international visitors, including from eastern Europe. As things are, they are not likely to come in as big a number. It means the park will be a bit quieter this year.’

Some seven million bulbs are planted each year, among which 800 tulip varieties. The flower park’s theme this year is Classic Flowers and is linked to the current 200 year anniversary celebration of the Mauritshuis in The Hague which includes an exhibition of the 17th century flower painters.

The Keukenhof is open until May 15.

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