For the third consecutive year I visited the world-famous gardens of Keukenhof. Located in the Dutch city of Lisse, Keukenhof is home to more than 7 million flowers spread over an impressive 70 acres. Open only for six weeks every year, the gardens are a visual feast of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and bluebells of all imaginable colours and varieties.
Each year a theme is selected and 2014 was none other than Holland with the previous two years having been the United Kingdom and Poland. The highlight of the Dutch theme, apart from millions of tulips, was a flower bulb mosaic depicting an Amsterdam canal scene with more than 60,000 tulips! Above is a selection of my favourite flowers from the day.
More information about Keukenhof can be found on the official website here. The gardens will be open next year from 20 March to 17 May 2015. The theme for 2015 is the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh coinciding with the 125th anniversary since his death.
In addition to visiting Keukenhof, going on a cycle tour through the surrounding bulb-growing fields, provides one of the best ways to experience and photograph Holland’s most iconic flowers. Our cycling adventure presented two challenges 1) cycling as a non-native Dutch person and wondering if everyone else was overtaking me with an electric bike 2) trying to balance my camera/multiple lenses without smashing them into smithereens against the handle bars.
During many requested photo stops we were able to walk up close to the fields and capture the colourful stripes of tulips that cover the land like a rainbow coloured blanket. Of course the best way to capture the beauty and geometric perfection of the fields is from above. Italian photographer Simone Sbaraglia, was lucky enough to take hundreds of images of the fields earlier this year saying that ‘the colourful lines create a sense of simplicity, beauty and harmony in the images’ and noting their resemblance to the abstract paintings of American artists Barnett Newman and Gene Davis. Simone’s photographs can be viewed on his Facebook page here.
Unlike Keukenhof, one advantage of cycling through the fields is the lack of tourists in the horizon or your photographs. The best time for cycling through the tulip fields is from the end of March to early May (weather dependent). If you are interested in cycling through the fields, you can rent a bike at Keukenhof for only 10 euros a day.