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Statue of Cupid in the garden of Keukenhof Castle.
Image from Koen Smilde

Art and culture in the Flower Strip

With a history stretching back centuries, the flower region is rich in art and heritage. There are fascinating flower museums, spectacular gardens, and industrial monuments. Whether you’re visiting on a rainy day or want to know more about the region’s history and background, there’s plenty here to satisfy culture seekers.

Cruquius Museum

Image from JUST JUSTA

Four metres below sea level, the municipality of Haarlemmermeer harbours a historic pumping station with the world’s largest steam engine. In the middle of the 19th century, this engineering marvel was used to drain the lake and surrounding landscape to create new land. The only pumping station saved from demolition, this fascinating monument is now part of the Cruquius Museum, where you can learn about the Dutch struggle against water, marvel at a model of how the Netherlands would look without dykes, and experience a live steam engine demonstration.

Museum De Zwarte Tulp

Located in the centre of Lisse, the Museum De Zwarte Tulp (Black Tulip Museum) examines the history of the flower region, the origins and evolution of bulb culture and the science behind developing new varieties of tulips. Through interactive exhibitions using pictures, photography and videos, the museum paints a picture of the remarkable bulb-to-flower-to-bulb cycle. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum hosts several special shows throughout the year.


Each spring, Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse come alive with a spectacular show of blossoms. Throughout the flower season (March-May), you will find a host of special activities, shows and performances – especially at the weekend or on public holidays. And be sure to check the latest event schedule for the traditional costume show, the fabulous annual flower parade and plenty of special events during the Easter weekend.

Here are our top reasons to visit Keukenhof this spring.

Fort van Hoofddorp

Fortress of Hoofddorp.
Image from Koen Smilde

Once part of The Defence Line of Amsterdam, a UNESCO-listed ring of fortifications around the Dutch capital, this fortress has undergone a large-scale renovation in recent years. With the redesignation, Fort van Hoofddorp has been transformed into a unique meeting place with space for hospitality, landscaping and various cultural activities throughout the year. Amidst the public park, you will find a restaurant, terraces, a wine bar, an open-air theatre and an education centre.

Kasteel Keukenhof

Two women and a child walking next to Keukenhof Castle.
Image from Koen Smilde

Located across from the world-famous gardens, the Keukenhof Castle boasts an impressive history with 17th-century roots. It was built in 1641 by Adriaen Maertensz Block, an administrator for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The house and its collection can be viewed on guided tours, where visitors will learn about its history and previous owners through portraits, furniture and décor. Alternatively, head outside to view the unique sculpture collection or wander through the impressive English-landscape-inspired gardens. For music lovers, the Coach House hosts classical concerts by young and upcoming talent in the summer months.

Aalsmeer Historical Gardens

Explore the greenhouses of yesteryear, dotted with gardening tools from a bygone era. The Aalsmeer Historical Gardens are home to a vast selection of long-forgotten strains of plants and fruit varieties. Every last Saturday of the month, from April to September, the impressive auction house hosts a flower and plant auction. Afterwards, take a perch on the charming waterside terrace at the Tuinhuis cafe for sun-soaked refreshments.

Aalsmeer Flower Festival

21-23 June 2024

Exposition hall in the Flower Art Museum in Aalsmeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

If you love flowers, don’t miss the Aalsmeer Flower Festival, where colourful blooms are showcased in beautiful arrangements, surprising works of art and unique locations. See designers at work and enjoy the exhibitions and live music before rolling up your sleeves during a mini workshop. Locations include the horticultural museum, a rose nursery, a floral design school and a spectacular waterfront venue. Visitors can travel around by bus and boat, and there is also a bike tour available.

De Zuilen

People playing chess in the De Zuilen garden
Image from De Zuilen

De Zuilen is a beautiful garden estate in Hilegom that boasts 3,500 square metres of groomed, walkable grounds and courtyards filled with Roman and Greek statues, fountains and columns, from which the estate gets its name. From 1 April to 31 May, De Zuilen’s gardens bloom with narcissus, hyacinths and tulips, the latter cultivated by a Lelystad tulip specialist.

Flower Art Museum

Flower art and drawings on the wall in the Flower Art Museum in Aalsmeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

The Flower Art Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated to floral-inspired contemporary art. Located in the former water cellar of Aalsmeer (opposite the water tower), this 1,000-m2 museum organises exhibitions with renowned artists and challenging themes in which flowers and plants play the leading role.


People on a boat tour on the Westeinderplassen lakes near Aalsmeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

The Aalsmeer area is famous for its horticultural industry, and the small islands of the Westeinderplassen (Westeinder Lakes) still grow strawberries and lilacs – just as they did long ago. After exploring the greenhouses at the Aalsmeer Historical Gardens, book an organised boat tour by Westerinderrondvaart from the neighbouring jetty. During this fascinating 1-hour cruise, a knowledgeable skipper will float you through a network of channels teeming with local plants and wildlife. Tours can be booked from May to October.