Keukenhof & Koningsdag

We are just rockin’ and rollin’ on our Netherlands bucket list this year!

A few weeks ago, we finally made it to the renowned Keukenhof gardens! We were lucky to have some family visiting the Netherlands, so we met up in Amsterdam and headed about 30 min south to Lisse, where the gardens are located.

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Good side – it was the first warm weekend of the year! 

Bad side – it was the first warm weekend of the year. 

While we did get to wear short sleeves, most of the tulips weren’t in bloom yet because the weather here has been quite cold this spring. It was only a few weeks ago that the canals froze over, so we were kind of anticipating this.

We were able to see some ‘early bloomers’. We learned on this trip that there are early, middle and late blooming tulips. The Keukenhof keeps their gardens blooming through the entire season by strategically planting the bulbs, like the example below. In this way, about the time the early bloomers are dying, the middle ones are blooming, and so on.

Although the fields were mostly green, the greenhouse in the center of the park was in full bloom! There were literally hundreds of types of tulips in here. I had no idea so many existed.

Now that’s a tall tulip!

Next up, something just as colorful…

Koningsdag 2018!

And this year was particularly special because the King came to Groningen! I was BEYOND excited. In case you didn’t know, we don’t have kings and queens in America (something about a Revolutionary War? *joke*). So when I heard there was a chance to see King Willem Alexander and the royal family up close and personal I knew we were going. PLUS – I love a good parade.

Quick recap – Koningsdag, or King’s Day, celebrates the birthday of the King. I would say it’s the Dutch version of the 4th of July: everyone is super patriotic and there is a lot of beer consumed.

Also fun fact – King’s day is celebrated on April 27th, which is indeed the King’s birthday, but this was not always the case. His mother, (former) Queen Beatrix was born on January 31st, but that’s a terrible day to have an outdoor party in Holland. To remedy this, she kept the birthday of her mother, (former) Queen Juliana who was born on April 30th. So, considering the eldest daughter of King Willem was born in December, it will be interesting to see if she adopts the birthday of her father.

Maybe you don’t at all find that interesting. I’ll move on to pictures now.

Bright and early Koningsdag morning Shane and I headed to the parade route to get a good spot! Thanks to Shane, we ended up with a spot on the fence. And, I would say it worked out well for us.

Unfortunately, we were ONE person off from shaking hands with him. Just my luck. We were able to shake hands with all the princesses though, so pretty much that means the future queen and I are besties now.

The rest of the day was reserved for the Vrijemarkt (aka – free market, one giant yard sale) and free music in the city center.

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Kensington in the Vismarkt

Keukenhof Gardens – CHECK!

(basically) Meet the King – CHECK!

Let’s see what else we can do this year…

Tot ziens,

Whitney

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We are two Americans living in the Netherlands with our fat cat, Meatball. The Shwits is a diary of our time abroad!

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