Friday, 20 April 2018

Amsterdam - Keukenhof Gardens - Day 3

After a late breakfast on Saturday 31st March, our daughter and both of us drove to Lisse, about 45 min. away to go and see the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens.

This year the gardens opened on the 22nd March and will close on the 13th May.
On the drive my daughter commented that the fields on the way weren't covered in tulips like they usually were at this time of the year, but Spring had been a lot colder than usual.

This year's theme is "Romance in flowers", and in this 32 hectares of land 7 million bulbs of 800 varieties of tulips are planted, flower shows, inspirational gardens and unique art are on show. This year 100 pieces of sculpture by various artists were exhibited through the gardens.

Entrance fee for adults is €18.00 but €17.00 online, plus you avoid the queues. Parking which can also be bought online costs €6.00, and you need to present your ticket when exiting the huge parking area.

Keukenhof was designed in 1857 as an ornamental garden for the Keukenhof Castle, and since 1950 millions of tulips have flowered in that romantic garden.
The blooming season will conclude with Romance - a classical music festival amid the park's tulips.

If you don't have a car, you can still visit the gardens by taking Bus 397 (Connexxion) from Amsterdam city centre to Schiphol airport and then transfer to the Keukenhof express bus 858.

Romantic gardens - a bride and groom were taking photos (poor bride must have been freezing with her sleeveless dress), and 3 men riding by on antique wooden bikes were invited to the photo shoot.
My daughter and I, my husband and I, bride and groom on a photo shoot
The Romantic Garden area
Near the windmill there was an area where the old way of doing things was in exhibition - the metal worker with his old tools, ladies doing their washing by hand on wooden tubs, herring being dried, wooden bikes and a stand full of antique appliances.
The ladies drying the herring were also going around the area and letting people try herring - quite nice actually.
Showing the old professions
Some of the beautiful sculptures around the park were quite interesting,  I saw some were for sale with a hefty price tag...

A few of the sculptures around the gardens
At the Beatrix Pavilion, the orchids were breathtaking, beautifully displayed too around red clad mannequins, or heart shaped displays. Some had colours and shapes I had never seen on an orchid...

Beautiful orchids

And more beautiful orchids

At the Queen Juliana Pavilion we can see how the tulips that originated from the mountains between China and Turkey are now cultivated in Holland since 1593 when a Sultan gave some tulips to a Dutch ambassador. These plants are used to snowy cold winters and dry hot summers.
Today 300,000 bulbs cost a whopping 67,000 euros or 90,000 US$ and 62% of bulbs are grown in Holland.

The last pavilion we visited was the Orange Nassau Pavilion, where the flowers and romance came together in amazing displays - be it at wedding table displays, a horse and carriage, around a quirky red caravan, etc, each more beautiful that the other!

Looking for love? - Say it with flowers
After over 4 hours of walking around Keukenhof we left the gardens and drove back home.
After a late lunch at home my husband and I decided to go for a little walk around the area to check out the two red bridges that we could see from my daughter's 18th floor apartment windows at the Eastern Docklands area.

The two bright red bridges completed in 2000 connect the Borneo and Sporenburg peninsulas.  One is a low bridge ideal for handicapped people and the other is a 12 metre tall bridge that allows pleasure boats to cross under, but is climbed over via various levels of steps and has been nicknamed the python bridge.  We thought the different levels should have a different colour stripe on the edge, because they were made with the same wood and not well distinguished while walking across.

View from my daughter's apt of the two red bridges that cross that link the canal over the Borneo and Sporenburg peninsulas.

Crossing the two bridges on foot

 Across from the second bridge, the tall one, was a statue called "Fragment from a living room, reduced to 88%" by artist Mark Manders in 2001.
Consisting of 2 people standing on a table who appear identical, but have slight differences in posture and facial expression - I couldn't really detect differences though...

Statues on a table, the last red bridge in the distance and how people living in small units brighten the pavement with pot plants

Upon our return we joined our daughter and partner in a coffee shop just a few minutes away, across from the Lloyd Hotel, at Oostelijke Handelskade 34, Zeeburg in the Eastern Docklands.
The lovely Lloyd Hotel "art-deco" building completed in 1921 for Royal Holland Lloyd (KHL) cost eight times more than originally estimated, contributing to KHL going bankrupt in 1936, when the City of Amsterdam bought the building.
From 1921 to 1936 it housed travelling immigrants (mainly Eastern European Jews) as per the mural painted on the side.
From 1938 it was used as shelter for Jewish refugees from Germany and during World War II it was used as a detention centre, later functioning as an adult prison and from 1963 to 1989 it was a juvenile detention centre.
Because the building had fallen into decline, in 1996 a competition was held to decide what the building should be used for. Suzanne Oxennar, a curator and Otto Nan, an art historian, presented a design for a hotel and cultural embassy of culture in Amsterdam.
After an extensive restoration the building has served as an hotel since 2004 and has been considered a national monument since 2001. I wonder if I could have gone inside to check out the building?

The lovely Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy 

The canal behind my daughter's apartment building (bottom middle) and views to the city with former Shell building in the distance (middle left)
The area where my daughter lives - the two red bridges highlighted to the left, my daughter's apt on the corner by the big bridge from bottom island, on the other corner with a purple dot is the tram station, and across the rails with a blue cross is where I found the mural I'll be posting on Monday. Amsterdam central station on the right bottom corner.(from google maps)

And after coffee I went to photograph a mural that I had spotted from the apartment ... and none of the apartment residents had noticed it, lol.  I had to hurry before it started to get dark.  And you'll see that on Monday.

Have a lovely weekend, ours is going to be extra wet, apparently 1 month's worth of rain is due to fall in two days!!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Adam, they really were amazing.

  2. Beautiful gardens! I'd love to see them someday.

    1. Thanks William, you'll have to work towards a trip to Holland.

  3. So nice to read your well documented stories about our country. I enjoy it so much to see everyting through the eyes of a torist. The Keukenhof I have only visited when I was 16 years old with english school exchange girls fom Liverpool! Maybe I have to vistt it again now I am old... The Loyd hotel I have visited once, it is very nice. Looking forward to your next post, it reads like a feuilleton!

    1. Thanks so much Marianne. It's time to visit Keukenhof again then. Isn't it strange than in our own place of residence we don't seem to play tourists? We really should, as we would then discover so much more.

  4. Wow! You photos are absolutely amazing!! Flowers are still a long way off for us but it's starting to warm up a little so there's hope.

    1. Thank you. Hope your side of the world warms up soon. We are slowly going into winter, but thankfully not as cold as in Canada.

  5. Don't ever apologize for picture overload Sami, your posts are a joy to read and I have just spent a wonderful time doing so, even though I am just about to be picked up and am not even dressed yet 😀😀 Looking forward to catching up soon and hearing all about your trip xox

    1. Thanks Grace, will chat soon. Enjoy the weekend.

  6. In the first set of photos I fell in love with the cat. The pool looked really murky like there was green algae, but that may have just been a reflection.

    Second set, enjoyed seeing the different colors of tulips.

    Third set, I wonder how people feel when their wedding photos are taken by others. At least you were discrete.

    Fourth set, LOVED the boots and you standing in the wooden shoes. I actually laughed. Lovely romantic area, too.

    Fifth set, thought the windmill was super, and really enjoyed seeing how the professionals reproduced how things were done in days gone by.

    Sixth set had my heart beating faster. ALL of the sculptures were fabulous. Although the cat is my favorite, they are all fabulous.

    Seventh set, I had no idea all those were orchids, although I actually recognized some in the eighth and ninth sets.

    The tulips you shared in set 10 were fabulous. I was blown away by the cost of all those bulbs. It's amazing.

    Sets 11 and 12 really WERE romantic and some of the photos showed really incredible arrangements. Of course, the red wagon was pretty bright, too.

    WOW. Those red bridges were amazing. I liked how you showed them from different angles and areas.

    What an interesting story about and history of the Lloyd Hotel. So glad to see it wasn't razed as it would have been here in the states.

    Thanks again for the wonderful day out, and also for the map that puts everything into perspective.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the detailed comment.
      The pools/lakes weren't dirty, the water wasn't clear but I think they are made with stone that's why they are dark.
      I agree, there were actually lots of people photographing the bridal couple, but I stood a bit to the side so as not to show their faces, I just wanted to capture the bicycles which I thought were cute.
      I had never seen most of those orchids or even tulips, they were all fabulous, breathtaking even what nature can do, sometimes with a bit of help from dedicated clever people too.
      I wish I had gone inside the Lloyd Hotel because it would be interesting to see, but didn't think of it at the time.
      Have a lovely weekend Elizabeth.

  7. Beautiful pics, Sami, but it does look cold indeed!
    My SIL had some wedding-pictures like this in late October, brrr....

    18th floor... Oh, my!
    But that bridge really looks great!

    Looking forward to Monday - funny no one living therre noticed.
    Oh, weeee, "enjoy" the rain! Temps dropped from 28 to 17C, but still sunny. Ingo wants to have a bbq...

    1. I think if you're not on the lookout for murals you don't notice them. I already notice them a mile away, lol.
      Our temperature was at 27 when I went shopping this afternoon, and no rain yet! I wonder if it will all come tomorrow?
      Have a nice weekend Iris.

  8. Belas fotografias gostei bastante de ver este belo passeio e as tulipas me encantam são flores magnificas e muito holandesas.
    Um abraço e bom fim-de-semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa

    1. Obrigada Francisco. As tulipas sao magnificas! Bom fim de semana.

  9. This is fascinating. I didn't know about the Lloyd Hotel. And oh, those gardens. We didn't get there during our brief time in Amsterdam several years ago and how I would have loved to. Your photos are just terrific!

    1. Thank you Jeanie. I've been in that area a few times as my daughter lives a block away from the hotel but never noticed it before either, so it happens. The gardens were worthwhile a visit for sure.

  10. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Loved all of your pictures, especially the flowers and blue sky.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thank you Jan, the gardens were really WOW.

  11. Dearest Sami,
    Wow, you did see quite a flower show! But it looks 'watery' cold... just like both of us found it in April of 1992 when we'd been robbed in Indonesia and had NOTHING warm to wear. Never forget that and hence my Dutch stock at my friends' ever since.
    LOVE the Medinilla Magnifica, the pink flowers in the bottom center with your orchids. Have searched for years here in the USA but never found them...
    Sending you hugs,

    1. Thanks Mariette, yes it was cold even though we had a almost sunny day. That was a magnificent flower, I had never seen it before.


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