2022 Flower festival Keukenhof

In 2022 flower festival Keukenhof will bloom again. It is not just one of the largest gardens in the world. It is also one of the most popular spring attractions in the Amsterdam area. Start planning your spring visit 2022 to Holland now with this info & tips.

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The Hague outdoors with kids : park & play

Dubbed as the Green city by the sea, visiting The Hague outdoors with kids is just one big celebration. 

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Visit flower fields in summer around tulip gardens

Less tourists, more interaction with locals. Visit flower fields in summer around the tulip gardens Netherlands and you'll feel that burst of happiness. The colorful explosion of dahlias and other bulb flowers will make your heart go b(l)oom like tulips do. And, when that's not enough there are still the highlights of the Flower Region. And the local festivals. All best to be explored by bike. A great way to taste the local culture in a relaxed way and live the Dutch life. Even if it's just for 1 day. Read more


Heritage Days South Holland Open Monuments

Local festivals and public holidays in the Netherlands are based on ceremonies and traditions. Nature is linked to century old involvement by humans. Even seasonal Dutch food and artisanal products are not the same without looking at history. The European Heritage Days in South Holland make you live the Dutch life in present, past and future. Here are my 4 favorite places to visit on Open Monuments Day.

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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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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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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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

 

 

 


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.

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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.

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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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When small town boys visit the canal parade

When small town boys visit the canal parade they get hyperactive and super excited. Maybe it is the surrounding. The story about Vermeer and his secret marriage. All of a sudden they fall silent and look serious. Not for long though.

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Secret marriage in Delft countryside

We’ve just walked through the chapel and the group’s laughter and chitchats turn into a respectful awe. Now the three men sit opposite of me, hands supporting their heads, eyes looking straight at me. I tell them the story of protestant Vermeer and his marriage with the catholic Maria. Catholicism was forbidden in those days so they had to get married in secret in this village not far from Delft.

 

Back home in Dutch farmland

The handsome small town boys know how it feels to hide your true self and sigh. “North of New York is where I grew up, but it wasn’t like NY at all. Just farmlands. Nobody travels, everyone stays in their comfort zone.”, one says. He almost jumped up and down on the bike when we started the tour. Now he looks at the others and finds comfort in their expressions.

When Fields of Dreams meets the Big Apple

“Do you know the movie Fields of Dreams?, that’s where I’m from”. The guy who’s talking is quite the opposite of his friend. He took his time to take in the scenery while cycling. You can see he thinks before he speaks and right now he has a stern look on his face. A mix between melancholy and pride. He’s clearly goal driven: “When I was young I told my mother I wanted to live on Sesame Street. Now I live one block away from it”.   They moved from small countryside villages to the Big Apple. Dreaming of a good job, meeting like-minded people and being accepted for who they are. They succeeded and are proud of themselves. So they should be.

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Birthday celebration in and out of Amsterdam

These three beautiful men celebrate a birthday in Amsterdam. At their arrival they stumbled upon the first Pride parties. They’re all excited for this afternoon, when these small town boys visit the Canal Parade. An endless flow of questions runs through the air:

“Will the Canal Parade be like the one in New York , celebrated in different districts? Will it be as big?”

Juicy stories and good food in Vermeer's wedding town

They left big city Amsterdam and Pride to wonder through the countryside near Delft with me. Even if they would have liked to be at the Canal Parade the whole day, they don’t show it. Their attention is on me and that makes me feel real special. When one of them gets a flat tire, we’re all sad. I promise them beer and good local food. Their laughter and juicy stories can be heard from far away. Somehow, with some effort, we make it back to Vermeer’s wedding place. In my favorite restaurant we savor local delicacies and good beer. More stories, more questions follow. They miss their train back to Amsterdam. And the next one. And the next one. Then they decide to really make a move. Ready for Pride Amsterdam!

local food tasting gastronomy tour Delft gastronomische tour reis Verita's VisitWhen small town boys visit the canal parade

When the small town boys visit the Canal Parade, they make a trip in Delft to visit the farmlands. I’m happy they did.


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