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|
The ladies drying the herring were also going around the area and letting people try herring - quite nice actually.
|Showing the old professions|
|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...
|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 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)|
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!!