Hafiz & Elmy Nahida

By: Hafiz Elmy

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Sunday, 16-Apr-2006 12:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
Keukenhof, Lisse - Holland



In 1949 the then mayor of Lisse, Mr. W.J.H. Lambooy, together with ten leading bulb-growers conceived the idea of a permanent annual open-air flower exhibition. Their eyes quickly alighted on the Keukenhof Estate: the ideal site.

The kitchen herb-garden
Keukenhof has not always been the beautiful estate that we know today. In the 15th century, the 32 hectares of the present park were part of the enormous estate belonging to the castle of Slot Teylingen. This was ruled from 1401 to 1436 by the Countess of Holland, Jacoba van Beieren. She used part of her estate as a herb and vegetable garden. Here, every day, the countess personally gathered the fresh ingredients for her kitchen. It is to this that the present Keukenhof, which literally means Kitchen Garden, owes its name.

A design dating back to 1840
In 1840, the celebrated garden and landscape architects 'Zocher & Son' were commissioned to develop the park. Both gentlemen had carried out a similar task earlier in Amsterdam: they designed the Vondelpark. If you visit the Keukenhof now, you can still see their handiwork in the area surrounding the Beukenlaan. The majestic trees and the pond date back to that time. In the years following, the Keukenhof Estate was further developed into the present 32-hectare park.

World figures
In its first year, 236,000 people visited the exhibition - proof enough that Mayor Lambooy and the bulb-growers had judged correctly. As the years passed, the Keukenhof grew to attract from 600,000 to 700,000 visitors a year, peaking at more than 900,000. These included a great many 'World Figures' such as the US Presidents Eisenhower and Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Keukenhof also had the honour of providing the décor for the first public appearance of Princess Máxima, who at the time was still the fiancée of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander.

Keukenhof today
The number of bulb-growing companies taking part has now grown from 10 to more than 90, but the Keukenhof's character remains unchanged: every year it exhibits the best and most beautiful flowers in the Netherlands. Keukenhof has become one of the best-known attractions in the country and one of the most photographed sights in the world.

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