Keukenhof daytrip spring summer fall fruit picking cherry blossom apple farm Verita's Visit Holland

Keukenhof day trip: fruit blossom & plucking

This Keukenhof day trip is not what you expect. Yes, in spring you'll be surrounded by flowers, but it's not just the tulips. This is another off the beaten path travel tip in the countryside around the  world famous flower garden. Less crowded, charming places which are great for a family activity or just to bring out the child in you in spring or fall.

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July flower makes you winner Dutch sporting event

Day four. The last miles. Your feet are full of blisters, your knees ache and every muscle in your body is twitching. You see the finish line. The crowds cheer. You’re going to give it all you got. With tears in your eyes you reach the finish. You did it! Overwhelmed with emotion, you receive your prize: the July flower that makes every participant a winner. 

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3 great boat bike combinations in the Netherlands

Both bike and boat in The Netherlands are very popular. In combination they're common. Too common even. Many Dutch locals don't even realise how often they use both transport modes at the same time.  These are my 3 favorite bicycle & canal boat combinations Read more


Join King's Day & sports events an orange festival in Holland Verita's Visit

Orange festival in Holland

It’s one big orange festival in Holland. The orange craze on King’s Day is nothing compared to the one during sport events such as the European Football Championship, World Cup or the Olympics. Read more


Dutch food & festival in June

In Holland Dutch food & festivals go hand in hand. We take every opportunity to create a celebration around a seasonal product. In June intense flavors come straight from the herby green pastures and salty water.

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time to plant bulbs dahlia holland

Time to plant bulbs from Holland

The time to plant bulbs is now. Keukenhof is closed and tulip season in Holland is over. No need to feel sad though. On the contrary. It’s time for a celebration. 

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close up flower fields Netherlands

Close up flower fields Holland

Helicopter view of the flower region near Amsterdam. The colorful fields look perfect from the air, from faraway. A close up flower fields Holland shows there’s more than meets the eye.

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Dutch water management, a polder model

Dutch water management started around the Rhine river. This Rhineland is the birthplace of the first democratic institution in the Netherlands and of the authentic Dutch polder model.

 

Bulb fields, cheese, city canals, windmills and Delft blue porcelain. Typical Dutch things we see and talk about during the tours and events of Verita’s Visit. Most likely, without water control these would not have become the icons of the Netherlands they are today.

In this article we put the spotlight on Dutch water management. We’ll have a look at:

 

Where in Holland is the Rhineland?

The Rhine. Not a river you quickly associate with the Netherlands. Nowadays the Rhine river is canalised. It becomes one with the Waal river. The Rhineland, in Dutch Rijnland, is the area between the river's mouth in the North Sea and the border of the provinces Utrecht and South Holland. Historically, the area around the Rhine, especially the Rhineland, is of great importance in the organisation of the Dutch water management.  

Rijn canal city Leiden
Canalised - Old- Rhine river in Leiden

When did Dutch land reclamation start?

In the past, the Rhine was a wild river flowing into the North sea at Katwijk, a seaside resort near Leiden. Its river banks were high enough for the first tribes to settle and protect them against flooding. In the Middle Ages, more people wanted to live near the Rhine. At the same time the sea level was rising. That meant more land was needed. It was the start of the land reclamation around the river. The first steps towards Dutch water management. People worked together, building and maintaining dikes. Everything in order to reclaim land and prevent it from flooding. This was first done on a small scale, but then the Count of Holland took control.

Flood control?

The count ruled over an area which included parts of the Waal and Meuse river. In a war with Utrecht he conquered the Rijnland. The newly conquered area meant more income. He created contracts for homeseekers, allowing them to cultivate a piece of land. Everything went well until the Rhine river silted at the river mouth near Katwijk and the newly reclaimed land flooded. 

The count of Holland had an idea. He built a dam on the border between the province South Holland, his territory and the province Utrecht, territory of the bishop. Problem solved or so he thought.

The Utrecht people were furious. Now their area would flood. The count had to look for a new way to divert the river water. The idea was to guide the water to the northern lakes in Holland, but this would mean an overflow to other rivers in the north. So, he created a new dam. This time in the area of Haarlem.

local Dutch water authority
Count of Holland recognises water board officials with document, painting in Lakenhal museum, Leiden.

Who manages the water in the Netherlands?

In no time a group of angry men knocked on his door. For years this council of privileged men controlled the construction and maintenance of the water works. They felt the count had ignored them when making the decision to build a dam.

In 1255 the count made up for his mistake with an official document stating that in the future he would always consult the council. This document is now in the archive of the Rijnland water board. It’s precious to the water board Rijnland as it is the first time the term heemraden, the water board officials, is documented.

These heemraden formed the base of the Rijnland water board. There are now 21 water boards in the Netherlands. Every board is in charge of the Dutch water management on a local level. They work together with the Directorate General for Public Works and Water Management, in Dutch Rijkswaterstaat, municipalities and organisations such as drinking water companies. 

Dutch water authorities
Click this image to test your knowledge on the topography of water authorities in NL at topomania

What is a polder model?

The water board is seen as the oldest democratic institution in the Netherlands, a true polder model. Luckily, it has become more democratic than in the Middle Ages. Holland is not underwater, because we discuss every tiny detail, work together and resolve disputes. Every four years we elect a new water board to make sure our feet are dry. And, what comes with a government body is a tax. The water authority tax. There are multiple charges. First, there is a water system charge, to lower the risk of floodings and maintain waterworks and waterways. Then there is a water treatment charge, for the water quality and purification.

Did you know that water quality control is more than wastewater treatment? Water boards also take care of nature in and around the water. For example, the American crayfish is not seen as a delicacy here. It is an exotic invader which can disrupt the local ecosystem and influence the water quality. 

What's on the Dutch water management agenda?

World Water Day is celebrated on 22nd of March. In that same week all 21 water authorities come together to keep each other updated and talk about innovative Dutch water management. Climate change, a rising sea level, but also drought are high on the agenda.

Unfortunately many inhabitants of this man-made lowlands are not aware of the hard work done by the water managers on a local level. On the tours and events of Verita’s Visit I do my very best to show you the fantastic Dutch water works and waterways in the province South Holland.


Recommended tours

Dutch water management drinking tour Hague
3 hour tour The Hague dunes & water
tip pre meeting activity Leiden Dutch water tours
3 hour tour Leiden windmill 
bike tour Dutch water Delft
tour Delft water management custom made

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Afsluitdijk Water Wonder of the Netherlands

Where is the best windmill in The Hague & Delft?

Windmill tour Keukenhof area


summer bloom Holland flower field best time Keukenhof visit

Why summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof area

The tulip may be the queen of the Netherlands in spring. Summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof area and here’s why.

summer is best time visit Keukenhof area5 years ago, when I started Verita’s Visit Holland I believed the best time to visit Keukenhof area was spring. March till May, when daffodils are followed by hyacinths and the season ends with the tulips. Then I discovered the Amsterdam flower strip holds a big local secret.

Don’t get me wrong, the spring flower fields still make my heart go b(l)oom.  I love how nature wakes up beginning of March. How the spring bulb flowers pop their heads out of the ground as soon as the first rays of sunlight warm their beds. Spring is special and tulips are definitely the queens of the Netherlands in spring. So why is summer the best time to visit the Keukenhof surroundings?

 

 

 

 

In this article I'll answer the following questions:

What is the best way to get around in the Keukenhof area?

Are there Holland flower fields in summer?

What makes  summer the best time for a daytrip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof region?

Why do I recommend traveling  to the Keukenhof area in summer?

 

What is the best way to get around in Keukenhof area?

Whether you visit the Keukenhof surroundings in April, July or October, the best way to get around in the Bulb Flower region is by bicycle.  As you can read in an earlier article, traveling to the Keukenhof from Amsterdam by public transport is easy when the spring gardens are open.  In 2021 the Keukenhof tulip park is open from 21 March till 9 May. There are direct busses from Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Haarlem and Leiden. Although the trip is relatively short, the busses are often crowded and you have to wait in line to get on them.

In summer there are no direct busses. In a previous article I wrote about an alternative route to Keukenhof from Amsterdam. This is also a good option for when you visit the Bulb District in summer, fall or winter.  Taking your own car will give you more freedom on where to go and where to stop. It brings the difficulty of finding an -affordable- car parking though.

I would recommend exploring this part of Holland by bike.

  1. It is a typical Dutch way of getting around.
  2. It gives you less stress.
  3. There are bike rental options near many train stations in the flower bulb region.
  4.  Using a bicycle is also great to combine visits to different attractions. We'll see this later on in this article.

With Verita's Visit Holland guided tours it becomes even easier to get the best out of your visit of the Keukenhof surroundings. Whether you come with friends, family or are looking for a company outing in the flower fields in Holland, I can create a customised day program for every season. And although the bicycle is my favorite mode of transport, I also offer tours and events using other modes of transport. Let me take care of all the details, so you can relax and enjoy your company and the typical Dutch surroundings. Here you'll find examples of tours & events offered by Verita's Visit Holland in the Flower region. 

summer best time to visit Keukenhof beach & dahlia bike tour Verita's Visit guided summer best time visit Keukenhof

Are there Holland flower fields in summer?

It is one of the best kept secrets of the locals living around Keukenhof. The summer flower fields in Holland! I only found out about it a couple of years ago. I received many requests for a bike tour tulips in June. It made me wonder if spring was the only time to visit Keukenhof area for the flower fields. So, I took my bike and pedalled through the Dutch countryside between Leiden and Haarlem.  As you might expect, all tulips were gone. What I did see was amazing: a huge variety of different flowers as far as the eyes could see.  I soon discovered there is a whole array of bulb flowers that color the fields of the Bulb district in summer and fall. From early June to really off season - late September, early October that is - you will always be welcomed by flower fields in this part of Holland. And best thing is that there even is a dahlia festival late August. Great to combine with the summer flower parade. So, summer is best time to visit Keukenhof surroundings because of the flower fields. Are there any other reasons why you should visit the area around the famous Dutch flower gardens?

summer best time combine visit attractions KeukenhofWhat makes summer the best time for a daytrip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof?

Besides the Holland flower fields blooming in summer, there are several other reasons why this season is the best time for a daytrip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof area.

  • Compared to spring, summer temperatures are really nice. Wind in the Netherlands is not as cold as in spring either, so perfect to explore the Flower region in between Haarlem and Leiden by bike.
  • It is your moment to relax: get away from the Amsterdam city centre.  Summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof area, because there are way less tourists in the countryside. Less tourists than in Amsterdam, less tourists in the flower fields than in spring time.
  • As the summer flower fields in Holland are not that well known yet, local farmers, flower growers or millers have more time for you. It is your time to connect with locals.  Ask them everything about growing bulb flowers like dahlias or tulips.  Or, as I say, get #socialwithalocal

Why do I recommend a visit to the Keukenhof area in summer?

A visit to the summer bulb flower fields can easily be combined with other lesser known attractions in the surroundings of Keukenhof area. Take windmill, a cheese farm on an island, an orchard where you can pick your own apples or have a great picnic or have lunch at a cosy café near the lake.  Think of all the local events and food and flower festivals celebrated in summer, big and small. And you can always make a stop at the beach or shop at beach resort Noordwijk. If you explore Keukenhof area by bike, I am sure you will go off the beaten path once in a while. That's when you'll discover the hidden gems of the Keukenhof area. Don't feel that adventurous or love to hear more about the combinations mentioned in this paragraph? You can always contact me for a private and/ or group tour.

Ok, Keukenhof gardens are only open from 24 March till 15 May 2022. I hope this article made clear why I think summer is the best time to visit the Keukenhof area. I would love to hear in the comments below if you have visited the Amsterdam flower strip outside of the tulip season. Also let me know if there are any other reasons why summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof surroundings.


Recommended tours

strand fietstocht Keukenhof Beach & dahlia bike tour summer guided Verita's Visit Holland
Keukenhof Beach & dahlia bike tour summer guided bike tour en bici playa flores verano strand fietstocht Verita's Visit Holland
Bike tour tulip fields - tour en bici tulipanes Holanda - fietstocht gids tulpen Keukenhof Verita's Visit Holland

 


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3 beautiful villages Holland a daytrip away from Amsterdam

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Vermeer tour Delft holiday

Sleeping in Delft during Pentecost

Early Saturday morning. A couple of students wake you up by loudly ringing their bicycle bells right in front of your door. This way sleeping in Delft during Pentecost is impossible!  With the sanddust stil in your eyes, you look outside. The group carries big crates of Dutch doughnut look-a-likes. Your curiosity is sparked & you decide to follow them.

Whitsun sleepy head

In West Holland the Saturday before Whit Sunday is known as Luilak. It was an exciting day for young people. They rose early morning to make noise, shake up the city and wake up those who were sleeping long and being lazy – the so called ‘luilakken’. It was the time to say goodbye to winter, clean the house and welcome spring. There was no room for lazy people.

Morning Delft countryside tour Verita's Visit
Early morning view over Delft church from countryside

Sleeping in Delft for the holidays

In the 19th century this was still a decent festivity, if you came to work late, you had to buy your colleagues some drinks. That was it. Like any celebration, Luilak took on a different form as time went by. Just like New Year’s Day nowadays, the youngsters started disbehaving. Riots & vandalism became a common sight on the Saturday morning before Whit Sunday. There was no way to get any rest in any of the cities where the celebration. Government & municipalities looked for solutions, created their own parades and bonfires.  Sleeping in Delft during Pentecost became a challenge and while a group of Delftians lay awake at night an idea emerged.

Delft tour start historical centre Verita's Visit daytrip
No youngsters waking you up in Delft anymore

Food is the solution to sleeping well in Delft

For centuries bakeries made a special treat for Pentecost: de luilakkenbol, a sweet bun similar to a Dutch doughnut. This group of Delftians came up with the idea to create a parade for the youngsters. At the end a full load of luilakbollen would be thrown on top of them. It became a huge success and it was the start of an annual Delft festival called the Delft Bun Saturday or Delftse bollenzaterdag.

Nowadays Luilak is not celebrated any more. Its means sleeping in Delft during Pentecost is relaxed and quiet. The luilakbol is not sold by Delft bakers. But, you can make them yourself, they're similar to the English scone.

Vermeer tour Delft holiday
Pouring the milk like Vermeer's maid in Delft

Recipe for Pentecost luilakbol

  • 40 grams of yeast
  • 500 grams of flour ( of which 2/3 wheat flour and 1/3 rye flour)
  • 250 grams of milk
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 20 grams of brown sugar
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 300 grams of raisins
  • 100 grams of currants
  • tea spoon of cinnamon
My homemade luilakbol. Will you show me yours?

Step by step making of Delft bun

Mix the yeast with 4 spoons of lukewarm milk. Take the flour and mix it with the salt and sugar. Then make a little whole in the middle of the flour. Pour the melted butter in the yeast mix and add this to the flour. Knead until you have a smooth dough. Cover with a clean cloth and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.

Wash the raisins and currants and make sure they're dry. Then add them to the risen dough with the cinnamon. Knead and leave to rise for 15 minutes. Set the oven on 240°C.  Out of the dough, make buns of about 60 grams. Put them on a well-buttered baking tray, cut each bun on 4 sides.  Leave to rise for another 15 minutes. Then brush them with egg and bake them for 15 minutes.  Eat them with butter and syrup (or jam).


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Challenge Delft Blue Vermeer group activity

Delft & Gouda light festival: December in Holland

 

Sources of inspiration:

https://www.bakkersinbedrijf.nl/recept_artikelen/recept-luilakbollen

https://www.maxvandaag.nl/sessies/themas/terug-naar-toen/luilak-het-uitstervende-kwajongensfeest/

https://www.beleven.org/feest/luilak