Trampled under the tulips at the Keukenhof

Keukenhof is a famous springtime garden and tourist trap based in Lisse, Netherlands. Like all tourist traps, there are stunning aspects to the place, if one can manage to ignore the streaming masses of humanity.

For those not in the Netherlands, these are good comparisons: The Peak in Hong Kong, Old Faithful in Yellowstone and West Lake in Hangzhou. The key difference being that with each of these other attractions, one can simply walk 500 meters away from the central tourist spot and find peace, quiet and beauty. Keukenhof, however, is an enclosed garden and once you’ve entered, there is no relief.

I strongly recommend that you spare yourself the trouble.

Instead, enjoy an authentic Dutch Keukenhof experience via my step-by-step virtual tour: 

1. Exit the motorway and creep toward Lisse as part of a long line of cars and buses.

2. Ignore the feeling in your gut that instructs you to leave immediately. Instead pay sixteen Euros and enter the gardens.

Keukenhof entrance _

3. Immediately run into this crowd:

Keukenhof entrance 2 _

4. Strike out in whichever direction appears to be the less traveled by (though it will not make a difference). Take a close-up photo of the tulips, crop out a few legs and arms and post it on Facebook along with something gushy about how lovely the Keukenhof flowers are.

Tulips at Keukenhof _

5. Get stuck in a human traffic jam in the middle of the pond.

Keukenhof pond traffic _

6. Attempt to take a photo of your loved ones amongst the flowers. Come to terms with the fact that a minimum of five strangers will also be in the photo.

Keukenhof photos _

7. Be overcome with hunger and seek out lunch. Send part of your group to battle for a table while you queue to buy food.

Lunch at Keukenhof _

8. Step out of the lunchroom and realize that the number of people inside the garden doubled while you were eating a soggy panini.

crowded paths at Keukenhof _

9. Wander through crowds in a daze until you feel you’ve gotten your sixteen Euros worth.

Crowds at Keukenhof 3 _ Crowds at Keukenhof 2 _

10. Leave the Keukenhof and encounter this unending snarl of traffic in the car park.

car park at Keukenhof _

11. See your feelings precisely reflected in the face of this bus driver.

Bus driver in Keukenhof traffic _

12. Vow never to return.

29 responses to “Trampled under the tulips at the Keukenhof

  1. Wow, very enlightening post!! I had always wanted to visit and see the tulips, never realised the crowds would be anything like this, incredible! Thank you very much, I will definitely think twice!!

  2. Sounds like you experienced my nightmare, just a different location. A neighbor (Netherlander) recently told us about Efteling. We looked it up…not sure if I could dare enter. I’m sure my daughter would have the time of her life…not sure the parents would survive.

    • Perhaps you should save Efteling for a cold weekend in January. Five years ago we visited Euro Disney on a cold, winter weekend and had the place to ourselves. Though I’ll admit to riding the Pirates of the Caribbean multiple times simply to warm up!

  3. Thank you for doing the dirty work for the rest of us… I do not do well in crowds like that (unless it is a disney park) and tend to get a bit cranky. So really you not only saved me from being cranky, but saved my family from dealing with me while cranky. You are an awesome and kind person. 🙂

  4. Exactly like the experience at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which you don’t ever see! Its just thousands of people going for a walk together in the woods! Although it is free. That sun looks bright, btw.

    • Who are these evil travel photographers who edit out the hordes of people! I take it that I should either give the Imperial Palace a miss or come prepared to take sneaky pictures of people using selfie sticks?

  5. That sounds like hell. In Japan they love doing stuff like this; going to overcrowded and expensive places to look at stuff. I have spent way too much time shuffling round illuminations, Autumn leaves and sakura to want to go to this place!!

    • How interesting that you’re the second person to compare this to sight-seeing at beauty spots in Japan. I thought I’d always like to see the cherry blossoms in Japan one day, but it sounds like I should think long and hard about that!

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  9. Been there. Had more or less exactly the experience you describe, except I didn’t eat a panini.

    I have a short list of things that you have to do at least once (but never more than once) when you’re living in Europe, and this is in the top 5.

    (Maybe I should to a post about that at some point… you have inspired me.)

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