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 a -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 then 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 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 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 is 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- group tour.

Ok, Keukenhof gardens are only open from 21 March till 10 May 2021. 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.


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Where to shoot tulip dance movie Keukenhof Amsterdam Verita's Visit Holland

Tulip dance movie Keukenhof - Silsila

There is one ultimate tulip dance movie Keukenhof all flower fans, travel addicts ánd dance lovers will enjoy. Perfect for rainy days, to get into the mood for your spring tulip trip to Holland or just learn some new dance moves. Head over to your favorite video store and get your copy of Silsila!

Sing and dance video tulips

Silsila, it will definitely ring a bell to most of the Indian readers. If you are a non- Indian reader, do see the movie Silsila. It really makes you want to head over to the tulip park near Amsterdam and shoot your own tulip dance movie Keukenhof.

Let me explain the main idea behind Silsila. It’s an incredible Bollywood movie made in the 1980’s. Romantic, colorful. And like any good Bollywood blockbuster, it is full of passionate songs. The most famous song is partly shot in the spring flower fields. Two lovers sing and dance in the tulips.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dO_MS9tZ5E

How to create the ultimate tulip dance movie Keukenhof?

Now, the main goal of many of my Indian participants is to dance in the tulips and create exactly the same video as the one you can see in Silsila. They visit Keukenhof and are disappointed. No possibility there to shoot a tulip dance movie Keukenhof. First of all, because in the Keukenhof spring garden there are no flower fields. Second, angry bulb growers & gardeners will come after you when you try to get into the tulips. So how do you create the ultimate tulip dance movie Keukenhof?

First step for that perfect dancing with the tulips video: step out of your comfort zone, leave the Keukenhof gardens and get into the Dutch countryside.

Second step, or maybe that’s the first, plan your visit to the Dutch tulips in the right period of time. For a long time this was Mid- April, the last years tulip fields bloomed early April. At the moment you’re booking your tulip travel to Holland, ask me to confirm the right dates for blooming tulips with you.

Third step:  Where do you dance in the tulips? Better question is: where are you allowed to film & go into the fields?

Where to shoot tulip dance movie Keukenhof Amsterdam Verita's Visit HollandWhere are you allowed to go in the tulip fields?

Well, as I’ve explained before, it’s probably not a good idea to do it in Keukenhof. The gardeners are quite sensitive when it comes to their well-designed inspirational gardens. So the Amsterdam tulip park is a no-go.

You might be greatly attracted to gracefully float through the flower fields around Keukenhof, but be careful. Here it is not the gardeners getting angry, but the tulip cultivators. These days the flower fields are fenced, it’s impossible to really get into them. Fortunately there are a couple of places where the bulb growers allow you to enter their colorful fields and take flower power selfies and shoot that a tulip dance movie that looks a lot like Silsila. Want to know where? Let me take you in the bike tour flower fields plus visit tulip farm.

https://youtu.be/d0OR_ElEVj0

 


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Delft & Gouda light festival: December in Holland

The Delft & Gouda light festival are two charming December events in Holland. They take place in the historical city centre and put their own unique local culture in the spotlight.

Gouda activities group Verita's Visit groepsactiviteiten winter

The night is dark. Darker than usual. All lights in the city have been dimmed. The Dutch usually stay inside in the cold December months, but tonight everyone is out on the street. Do like the locals, follow your nose. The scent of glühwein, hot chocolate and oliebollen - Dutch doughnuts-  fills the air. It leads you straight to the main square where a choir is singing and a huge Christmas tree is waiting to be lit.

When is the December Delft & Gouda light festival?

Lichtjesavond, Dutch for Evening of Lights, is the Delft December light festival. It takes place on Tuesday 10 December 2019 and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  The Gouda light festival is 3 days later, on Friday 13 December. It’s called Kaarsjesavond, Dutch for Candle Night. 

Are Delft Evening of Lights and Gouda Candle Night the same?

 These two December events in the province South Holland are very much alike.

  • The Christmas tree lighting ceremony starts at 7 PM on the main square and is the main attraction of the Delft & Gouda light festival.
  • All churches in the historical city centre open their doors to the public and have special activities.
  • There are stands selling artisanal products and very typical Dutch food and drinks.  Besides the Dutch doughnuts- oliebollen- , the pea soup – erwtensoep- is also very popular
  • Choirs pop up on every corner. Dressed in Dickens’ costumes or santa’s costume the choirs from the region bring the top Christmas pop and classic songs.
  • There are different routes through the city centre to enjoy the light festival.

Which December event in South Holland to visit

Should you visit both when these two Dutch December festivals are so similar? Yes, do add it to your list of Holland light festival visits! There are some details which make Lichtjesavond in Delft differ in feel and looks from Kaarsjesavond in Gouda

The main differences of the Delft & Gouda light festival are:

  • the routes
  • the locations of the markets
  • how the cities use their traditions.

Choose a light route

For the first time in the history of the Delft Evening of Lights festival you can choose between a couple of routes. They lead from the market square to the different festive hubs and pass various historical streets full of music, food and local products.

Tip: take the route along the oldest street of Delft, the Oude Delft. The canal is very picturesque: all buildings are lit by colored flood lights and light guirlandes hang over the water. Do stop by the Maria Jessekerk, a small, cosy church.

The Gouda Candle Night has used routes before. Gouda works with themed routes, which is great! You can choose to go arty or historical. 

Go christmas market hopping

Gouda’s December event offers a lot more activities inside monumental buildings and churches. Unlike Delft, the festive markets are mostly inside. 

Tip:  visit the St Jan church for free, gaze at the huge stained glass windows and stroll through the covered market where locals sell their artisanal products.

Uitjes winter Verita's Visit family corporate events Gouda

Dutch traditions in the spotlight

Delft 2019 was a celebration of the Golden Age, Delft Blue & Vermeer. This theme will also come up in the Lichtjesavond on the 2nd Tuesday of December. Check the website for all activities, performances and routes.

The Christmas tree on the main square of Gouda is a gift. The city’s Norwegian sister town sends a tree to Gouda every year and has done so the last 60 years.

The lights in the tree itself are not real candles anymore. Gouda, city of candles does like to keep the tradition of lighting candles on this special evening - hence the name Candle Night-. Just before the lighting of the tree, the city’s electric lights are turned off. In Gouda’s City Hall and in some of the houses on the market square, real candles are lit. 

A last tip: For me, the lighting of the tree is not the highlight. I love the atmosphere, the activities. Like any other festival, these two Dutch December events are great opportunities to get #socialwithalocal. Do ask, do sing along, do join the celebration. The Delft & Gouda light festival program already start at 4 PM. Around 6 PM the atmosphere in both cities is best. If you do decide to join the lighting ceremony on the market square, make sure you’re there at 6:30 PM or earlier.

For more info on the light festivals'program:

Delft Lichtjesavond

Gouda Kaarsjesavond

 


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Typical Gouda in stained glass windows

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Typical Gouda in stained glass windows

There’s a lady with a white bun. Find her. She knows everything about the Gouda windows. I enter the St John church in search of typical Gouda in stained glass windows.

make your own Gouda church  Verita's Visit workshop kerk bouwenGroup activity in the longest church of Netherlands

It’s Wednesday morning. A few rays of sunlight found their way through the clouds and now shine on the red-white shutters of the Gouda city hall. While I spot a LEGO version of the church, a woman with white trousers and red jacket swirls her small group of tourists through the alley. I follow them to their, no, our destination.  As the group swarms into the St John, I stop at the counter.

Teambuilding typical Gouda in the stained glass windows

I make myself tall as the longest windows in the church (20m)  and say: “I’m organising a team building event on Dutch culture ánd diversity and want to include the stained-glass stories of the St John church. Can you tell me what the most typical Gouda in the stained glass windows is?”

Erasmus in Gouda

“How Gouda is presented, you mean”, the man behind the desk replies, while you see how he’s trying to formulate the perfect answer. The man clearly likes to think along: “John the baptist is the patron saint of the city Gouda. All through the city you see the colors red and white. Red for his suffering and white for purity. You can find the city’s coat of arms – red and white- in several of the Gouda windows. The glasses in the choir tell the story of John the Baptist’s life.”

 

The man puts his thumb and indicative finger on his chin and thinks out loud, nodding towards the most modern glass. “Of course this stained glass window is quite abstract, but it is representing the beliefs of Erasmus. The humanist was born in Gouda, his father was a priest in this church. If you really want to know what is typical Gouda in the Gouda glasses, look for the lady with the white bun. She’s a guide and can tell you all you want to know about the windows.

 Verita's Visit Leiden Gouda group tour groepsuitje
Leidens Ontzet - Relief of Leiden depicted in stained glass Gouda church

Gouda Glasses and Leiden team event

Every time I visit the St John, I run to one stained-glass window. That has to do with my passion for the Leidens Ontzet and the team event on Dutch culture I once organised in the city of Leiden.  The creation of this customised teambuilding activity has priority now. I enter the church and I immediately see ms Kraal, the lady with the white bun. She’s passionately explaining the story of one of the Gouda windows to a couple of visitors. The scene is so intimate I fear to intrude and break the serene atmosphere. My excitement to find the answer to my quest is far bigger though and in a stutter I begin my question:

“The man behind the counter told me you know everything about these stained glasses. What is typical Gouda in the stained glass windows?”

The Night Watch of the St John church

Ms Kraal looks over her glasses at me. “There nothing typical Gouda in the stained glass windows”, she replies. “But,” as she goes on after seeing my disappointment. “Many of the Gouda glasses have a connection with the biblical humanism, the teaching  of Erasmus. And Erasmus was an important figure for Gouda and for the Netherlands.” For her, window 15 is the Night watch of the St John church. She places her hand on an imaginary hand: “John the Baptist doesn’t baptise Jesus in the traditional way…”

 Verita's Visit Gouda Erasmus cultuur groepsuitje lokaal group tour event culture

I try to listen to her, but find myself to eager to run to the stained glass window and see for myself. I say my thankyous and goodbyes and Ms Kraal gives me one more tip: window 7. This is not your ordinary presentation of the Last Supper. This is a real conversation. The focus is not on the dinner or the characters, but on the lively interaction between the characters. Ow, I’m excited to see for myself!

Humanism in thought bubbles & speech balloons

While the orgue plays a tune I recognise, but can not put a name on, I sit in front of window 15. 10 minutes, half an hour. I listen to the audioguide and see what Ms Kraal explained. John the Baptist doesn’t look at Jesus and baptises him. He looks up and listens to God. His words come down in a ray of light that runs down to the holy ghost. It’s the dove that represents him.

Gouda group activity uitje vrienden familie bedrijf  Verita's Visit

I’ve fallen in love with window 16 before as that does have a typical Dutch  element: the landscape. The brothers Crabeth, who made this glass and 14 & 15 which together form a tryptich, used the countryside around Gouda for the landscape. Now that I see the full story of these 3 glasses, I know I have found the answer to my quest. I’ve found typical Gouda in the stained glass windows ánd typical Dutch elements. Now I only need to think of a creative assignment to include this in the team building event on Dutch culture and diversity....


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Halloween in Holland - pumpkin competition

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custom made bike tour castles Hague kasteel op maat gemaakte tour Haag Verita's Visit

Hague castle event venue once a brewer's farm

There's a The Hague castle event venue, that was once was a brewer's farm. Jan, son of a  golf club maker made money brewing beer. On an estate the size of 7 rugby fields he built a farmhouse. Now, when you walk in the dense estate's forest it is not a farmhouse that's hidden from sight.

custom made bike tour castles Hague kasteel op maat gemaakte tour Haag Verita's Visit

Delft brewer's fortune

Jan Pieterszn. Colff doesn't want to follow his father's footsteps and make golf clubs. He does what many do in his days and opens a  brewery.  In de Witte Hoefijsser  - In The White Horseshoe-  is right next to the canal  in Voorstraat 2 in Delft. Two centuries later, in 1770, his grandson Pieter Maartenszn.  enjoys great fortune. He adds Hoeffijser to his name and replaces his great grandfather's 'Colffmaekerswoning' - house of a golf club maker- . Pieter proudly calls the new building 'House of Hoeffijser'.  It comprises a mansion surrounded by a canal and a small farmer's house. To make sure outsiders understand the difference between mansion and farmer's house the first is referred to as Large Horseshoe.

The woman and the Dutch estate

Mid 19th century brickmanufacturer Cornelis Schiffer van Bleyswijk renovates the whole estate and dedicates it to his wife Suzanna de Wildt. The Large Horseshoe estate is now De Wiltenburg, later known as Wittenburg. It still is not a Hague castle event venue, but this will change. At the turn of the 20th century an esquire knocks on the door and buys estate De Wittenburg.

custom made tour castles Hague kasteel op maat activiteit Haag Verita's Visit
Front side castle De Wittenburg

Wittenburg becomes a castle near Hague

Fashion changes with time.  Esquire Helenus Martinus Speelman has high demands when it comes to the design of his new house. His architect Johannes van Nieukerken has to make several designs before Helenus finally approves the design.   This is the moment the brewer's farm, the brickmanufacturer's house becomes the castle near Hague.  Parts of demolished houses in Amsterdam and The Hague form the castle.  When his mansion is almost finished and the tower is built, Helenus tells the workers to remove tower and upper floor. Still not happy with the result, he asks his friend, also promoter of the interests of Dutch castles, for advice. The upper floor and tower are rebuilt.

The Hague castle event venue & hotel

What was once a brewer's farm is now a The Hague castle event venue.  Royalty, ministers and corporates have been coming to this stately 4 star hotel and event locationfor ages. With the opening of the new restaurant, Sophie, named after the wife of Helenus you can now also enjoy the estate's tranquility  during a lunch, high tea or dinner in De Wittenburg.

side event location Hague Haag locatie personeelsuitje Verita's Visit
Lime tree lane towards castle near Hague

Explore the estate and it's surrounding

One extra tip: Explore the park which is full of monuments and monumental trees. From different sides you'll find great sneek peaks on the castle, its pond and outside terrace. When you you enter estate De Witteburg via the original lime lane you'll see the estate's border monument with the initials of Helenus.

History tour nature Hague geschiedenis activiteit natuur Den Haag Verita's Visit
Initials H.M.S. on estate's border monument

You can also reach this Dutch castle by bike. There is an amazing cycle route from The Hague to Leiden that passes several estates in this part of Holland. Some, like this castle near Hague are hard to spot in spring and summer due to the lush monumental trees.

The Hague castle event venue sneak peek

 


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Sources used:

 

http://www.colf-kolf.nl/1450-1700/8/details.htm

https://www.patriesvandorst.nl/over-ons/kasteel-de-wittenburg/

http://www.kasteleninzuidholland.nl/Pages/Wittenburg.htm

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasteel_De_Wittenburg

https://www.buitenplaatseninnederland.nl/wassenaar-de-wittenburg.html

https://www.restaurantsophie.nl/

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3VVP4_naar-het-kasteel?guid=c1c9eeb7-8e4c-4aec-8127-21bf8a0b77fb

https://www.wassenaar.nl/vrije-tijd-wassenaar/landgoederen_3866/

https://www.cipvw.nl/monumenten/133-buitenplaats-de-wittenburg.html

http://www.wittenburg.nl.transurl.nl/historie-kasteel-de-wittenburg/

 


Flower Parade Netherlands 2021 - When & Where

In spring it's time for the Flower Parade Netherlands 2021. The name in Dutch is Bloemencorso Bollenstreek.  The flower decorated floats follow a route around Keukenhof. In this post you read when the Bulb Flower Parade takes place and where you can watch it.

When does the spring flower parade Netherlands 2021 take place?

The Dutch love to celebrate flowers and color. There are many Dutch flower parades and fortunately they all take place at a different time. Every season has its own flower. The Zundert Flower Parade Netherlands 2021 takes place at the end of summer. Dahlias bloom from August till far into the autumn season. These make the perfect flowers for the Corso in Zundert.

Flower parade special behind scenes tour achter de schermen Bloemencorso dagje uit Verita's Visit

Mid-April the tulips and hyacinths bloom. Tulips are quite fragile and you won't see them that often in the Bloemencorso Bollenstreek. The hyacinths are much firmer. Besides, they can be used in different ways. You can use a full flower with stem or just a single petal as you can see in this post.

In 2021 you can view the famous street parade of the Flower Parade Bulb Region on   Saturday 17 April 2021. 18 floats decorated with spring flowers will be participating in the flower procession this year.

Verita goes behind the scenes of the flower parade from Wednesday 14 April till Friday 16 April 2021. On Friday afternoon there's a special bike tour to the evening flower parade.  Want to join her on a cycle tour or just for a visit behind the scenes?   Contact  Verita's Visit Holland for more information.

Flower parade special behind scenes 4 hour tour achter de schermen Bloemencorso mid dagje uit Verita's Visit

Where can I see the Bulb Flower Parade Netherlands 2021?

My tip of the day: go see this evening flower parade on Friday 16 April.  It's amazing and not so crowded. The nicely scented and colorfully decorated floats leave the huge hall around 2 PM. They head for Noordwijkerhout. In this cosy town they start the party at noon.

On Saturday morning 17 April around 9:30 AM the bulb flower parade starts in Noordwijk. It follows a route through the flower villages Voorhout, Sassenheim, Lisse, Hillegom, Bennebroek, Heemstede. At 21:30 the spring flower parade Netherlands 2021 ends in Haarlem.

On Sunday 18 April you can see the floats displayed on the market square of Haarlem.

Want to know where to go exactly?  Or looking for more info on the full route & timings?

In 2022 the Bulb Flower Parade will take place in the week of 18 April. 

 


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How to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam by public transport? It's fairly easy. As explained in this blogpost, the popular flower garden of the Netherlands is located in Lisse. This year, the Keukenhof is open from 21 March till 10 May 2020. In these six weeks,  there are special buses that drop you right in front of the entrance of this magnificent flower park.

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