Netherlands: Chopin, from the ground up, at the Keukenhof Gardens

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

In October, Janusz Stanczyk, Polish ambassador to the Netherlands, took up a trowel to plant a few of the 50,000 flower bulbs that, come spring, would form a portrait of composer Frederic Chopin at the Keukenhof Gardens outside Amsterdam.

The patch of earth looked bleak then, but a picture is starting to emerge amid green tufts of grass as the world’s largest bulb gardens prepare to open to the public Thursday. Chopin is the poster boy for this year’s theme, “Poland, Heart of Europe.”

Spokeswoman Laurens Lindhout writes in an email that the Chopin mosaic, which measures 39-by-65 feet, will feature white with red, purple and orange flowers. Aside from the composer’s flowery portrait, the gardens also will honor Poland by naming a new variety of tulip for its first lady, Anna Komorowska.


The 50,000 flower bulbs are a fraction of the 7 million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, gladiolus and other bulbs planted each year, of which about 4.5 million are tulips. Keukenhof, which literally means “kitchen garden,” is near the town of Lisse.

For those tempted to visit, walking and bicycle tours seem to be the way to go. The gardens will be open 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily until they close May 20. (Buses will run 12 times an hour to take you directly from Schiphol Airport to the garden gates.) Tickets cost $19 for adults, $9 for children.

Go to the Keukenhof Gardens website for more information.