International Horticultural Expo Floriade & Keukenhof Gardens, April 2022
Floriade Expo 2022
Garden Holidays and Escorted Tours
Short City Breaks with a Twist
International Horticultural Expo Floriade & Keukenhof Gardens, April 2022
April is the opening month of the International Horticultural Expo Floriade 2022. It is also tulip time in the Netherlands. Our 5 nights/6 days programme combines a full day at Floriade with visits to the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens and a trip along the flower-lined Noordoostpolder Tulip Route and Tulip Route Flevoland.
Based in Utrecht, you will visit private gardens on the Tulip Route Flevoland, Keukenhof Gardens, Flower Farm De Tulperij, Kröller-Müller and Sculpture Park and Amsterdam.
What we love
- Staying in the De Stijl-inspired Park Plaza Hotel in the centre of Utrecht
- Exploring two of the Netherlands most interesting and beautiful canal cities
- Discovering the inspirational International Horticultural Expo Floriade 2022
- Journeying through a landscape painted in blocks of dazzling colour as you travel along the famous tulip routes
- Visiting beautiful gardens filled with tulips and other spring bulbs
- Seeing the finest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world
Experiences you will treasure
- Staying in Utrecht with time to explore this quintessentially Dutch, canal-crossed city at your leisure. Look out for the Miffy traffic lights!
- A full day to explore the International Horticultural Expo Floriade 2022 and discover a unique view of the cities of the future through inspirational exhibitions, innovative concepts, and remarkable attractions
- Taking a journey along the ‘Noordoostpolder Tulip Route’ and ‘Tulip Route Flevoland’, heralded by National Geographic as “one of the world’s most beautiful car journeys”
- Seeing spring bloom in four beautiful private gardens
- Visiting the remarkable Kröller-Müller Museum, home to one of Europe’s largest sculpture gardens and the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world
- Tiptoeing through seven million spring-flowering bulbs at Keukenhof Gardens
- Buying bulbs to take home at a specialist tulip farm
What people say
Floriade is a huge celebration of horticulture and floriculture, like the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on steroids… It’s a must-visit for anyone because it’s such a good day out – there’s art and fashion and food, as well as gardens and flowers.
Sarah Hills-Ingyon, Chair of UK Floristry Judges Guild
The Glorious Spring Gardens of Keukenhof!
Keukenhof’s annual spring festival is one of the world’s most spectacular floral events. Seven million flowering bulbs turn the garden into a heady celebration of tulips, anemones, daffodils, freesias and hyacinths, all meticulously planted in a patchwork of vibrant colours, and beautiful textures.
A Deeper Dive
Less well-known than Europe’s other canal cities, but just as picturesque, Utrecht has a special charm. Quintessentially Dutch, it offers visitors both an authentic taste of the contemporary Netherlands and also a fascinating insight into its history. Initially designed as a medieval fortified city, the heart of Utrecht is enclosed by an inner canal ring measuring just under 6km so can be easily explored in a few hours. Here are our highlights.
The Dom Tower. At 112.5m high, this is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands and is considered the symbol of Utrecht. The tower was part of St. Martin's Cathedral, also known as the Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382, to a design by John of Hainaut on the site of a Roman fortress. Most of the church was destroyed in a tornado in the 1500s, so only some parts remain, including the tower. There are 465 steps to the top, but the views when you get there are stunning! (Please note, you can only visit the tower as part of a 1hr guided tour.)
While you’re here, take a moment to visit the Pandhof garden. Once part of the old monastery garden, it is one of the most elaborately designed courtyards in the Netherlands. You can admire the 15th century cloister surrounding the courtyard as well. (Entry here is free and does not require a ticket to Dom Tower)
DOMunder: Located in the centre of Dom Square, this underground space traces 2,000 of Dutch history. Follow a route with special torch to experience history from the time the Romans built the castellum Trajectum, around 45 A.D, learn why Utrecht was the center of the Netherlands in the middle ages and even experience the destructive tornado that caused the nave of the Dom Cathedral to collapse in 1674.
The Centraal Museum: housed in a medieval cloister on the Nicolaaskerkhof, this museum boasts the largest collection of Gerrit Rietveld pieces in the world, as well the work of the world-famous Dick Bruna, and Dutch icons Jan van Scorel, Abraham Bloemaert and Hendrick ten Brugghen. It also provides a broad overview of 2,000 years of the country’s turbulent history.
The Utrecht canals: the only canals in the world to have wharfs and wharf cellars, the city’s waterways date back to the 12thC when the first canal, Oudegracht, was dug to change the course of the Oude Rijn River. Connecting the river Vecht in the north to the Vaartsche Rijn in the south, the Oudegracht became an elongated harbour. Large city castles were built along the canal and wharfs were added where boats could unload their cargos directly onto the land. These wharfs had deep cellars which served as water level storage spaces and pedestrian walkways, creating a unique two-level street system. Today these cellars are filled with shops, restaurants, galleries and cafes and no visit to Utrecht is complete without a drink or a meal in one of these atmospheric cellar restaurants.
Located slightly outside the city centre, but easy to get to from Utrecht Central Station (which is close to your hotel), The Rietveld Schröder House is a must for anyone with an interest in art and design. Built in 1924 by the designer Gerrit Thomas Rietveld for Ms Truus Schröder, this small family house is still strikingly modern. With moveable walls and design elements that connect inside with out, it embodies the principals of De Stijl artistic movement and has become one of icons of the Modernism. (Please note, advanced booking is required.)
And don’t forget Miffy! Or Nijntje as this cute white rabbit is known in her home town. Created by the artist Dick Bruna, Miffy is one of the Utrecht’s most famous stars. Visit Nijntje Pleintje, or Miffy Square, to see the statue by Dick Bruna’s son, Marc Bruna, and cross the road at the world’s one and only Miffy traffic light on the Lange Vliestraat.
Here are our highlights for an afternoon in the capital city.
Art lovers should head straight for Museumplein where you will find a cluster of world-beating museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, devoted to modern and contemporary art, and the Rijksmuseum with its stunning collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings such as ‘The Milkmaid’ by Johannes Vermeer, ‘The Night Watch’ by Rembrandt, and ‘Portrait of a Young Couple’ by Frans Hals. The city’s favourite park, Vondelpark, is also here and is a perfect place to sit and digest everything you have seen before setting off for the Rembrandt House Museum at Jodenbreestraat 4 where the artist lived and worked from 1639 to 1658.
Amsterdam’s Golden Age history can be seen in all its elegance at the Herengracht, the first of the four main canals in the city centre’s Canal Belt. Completed along with its neighbours in the 17th century as part of an expansion project that is now UNESCO listed, this is where Amsterdam’s social elite built their grand gabled houses. Look out for the former office of the Dutch West India Company at Herenmarkt, one of Amsterdam’s oldest residences (built in 1590) at no. 81 and, at no. 172, the magnificent 1617 Bartolotti House, considered the finest of all of Amsterdam’s Golden Age merchant’s houses. You should also visit The Royal Palace on Dam Square. Designed by architect Jan van Campen to reflect the power and wealth of this city in 17thC, this is the largest and most prestigious building of the era.
The Anne Frank House on the Prinsengracht preserves the secret annexe where the young diarist hid from Nazi persecution from 1942 until she was captured, along with her family and four other inhabitants, in 1944. The secret rooms are on an enclosed courtyard behind a 17th-century canal house and give a visceral sense of what it was like to live in hiding.
And if you are looking for cafes to watch the world go by, as well as specialist shops and galleries for interesting souvenirs, head for the Jordaan, a grid of little streets and filled-in canals bordered by the Singel. Created in the 17th century, this area was first inhabited by Amsterdam’s working class and an international array of migrants, such as the Huguenots from France and Puritans from England, all seeking the city’s famous religious tolerance. Today it offers a picture postcard slice of Amsterdam life. Don’t leave without dropping into a ‘brown café (a Dutch pub), or tasting a traditional bitterballen (deep fried breaded meatball).
The Kröller-Müller Museum was founded by Helene Kröller-Müller, an avid art collector who was one of the first to recognize Vincent van Gogh’s genius and collect his works. In 1935, she donated her whole collection – the second largest in the world - to the state of the Netherlands. Three years later, she founded this museum within the extensive grounds of her and her husband's former estate (now the national park). The building was designed by Henry van de Velde, one of the founders of Art Nouveau.
Today the collection comprises some 20,000 works of art. Amongst the Van Gogh works are masterpieces such as ‘Café Terrace at Night’, ‘Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate)’ and a version of ‘The Potato Eaters’. Other highlights include works by modern greats such as Piet Mondrian, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Georges Braque, Paul Gaugin, Lucas Cranach, Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso.
The Museum is also famous for its large sculpture park, set in a beautiful forest garden. The garden reflects Helene Kröller-Müller's conception of a symbiosis between art, architecture and nature and boasts an impressive collection of both modern and contemporary sculpture by, amongst many others, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, and Jean Dubuffet, as well as two striking 1960s pavilions – one by Gerrit Rietveld and another by Aldo Van Eyck – which have been given a permanent base here.
Rightly known as the ‘most beautiful spring garden in the world’, the history of Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century when Countess Jacoba van Beieren [Jacqueline of Bavaria] gathered fruit and vegetables from the Keukenduin [kitchen dunes] for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. Keukenhof Castle’s imposing castle was built in 1641 and the estate grew to encompass an area of over 200 hectares. The English landscape-style park we see today is based on the 1857 redesign by landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher.
In 1949, a group of 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters came up with the plan to use the estate to exhibit spring-flowering bulbs, signalling the birth of Keukenhof as a spring park. The park opened its gates to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, attracting 236,000 visitors in the first year alone. 2022 will be the 73th edition of Keukenhof and people can expect a heady mix of seven million tulips, anemones, daffodils, freesias and hyacinths. There is also a spectacular sculpture garden with extraordinary displays created by the world’s leading floriculturists, as well as exhibition zones such as the Beatrix Pavilion with its stunning collection of orchids and the Orange Nassau Pavilion where florists give daily demonstrations.
One of the highlight features of Floriade Expo 2022 will be the Flower Art Project Classics & Future.
This outdoor, natural gallery will be made up of eight colourful gardens, each one cleverly slanted so you can see them from afar and featuring a special 'selfie' square.
“Maybe you are familiar with the photogenic flower bulb fields in Holland which are very popular with tourists. We used that idea in the construction of these gardens and I can tell you that it will be very beautiful, “says Niek Roozen, landscape architect at Floriade.
Modern planting plans
As well as flower bulbs, there are also lots of perennials and shrubs ensuring that the gardens are real works of art to look at during the entire Expo. As Niek Roozen says, “we want to show here how important planting plans are for a beautiful garden. In the arboretum you can see all kinds of plants with special properties, but there is no planting plan involved. At Classics & Future you can see what a beautiful, modern combination of plants looks like.”
Classics and talents of the future
The name Classics & Future refers to the four 'classics' and the four upcoming talents who will be showing their skills on each of the eight lots. The 'classics' are the very experienced and well-known planting experts Buro Mien Ruys, Jacqueline van der Kloet, Fleur van Zonneveld and Atelier Ton ter Linden, while Stefan Jaspers and Marcel Silkens and two students from Larenstein and Aeres complement them as talents of the future.
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