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Flower Markets

World-famous flower markets are in full bloom

By Heather Tucker

Like in other parts of the world, in Belgium and the Netherlands, flowers signal the end of a dreary winter and the start of a blooming spring. Bouquets are cradled in the crook of a woman’s arm as she rides her bicycle through the cobbled city streets. Blossoms radiate a rainbow from seemingly endless fields glimpsed from the window of a train. The world no longer is cold and dark, the flowers seem to shout, as hats and gloves are banished to the back of the closet.

If you’re cruising into the Netherlands or Belgium this spring, here are several not-to-be-missed flower markets.

Keukenhof

A visit to the Netherlands in spring is not complete without a trip to the famous flower park, Keukenhof, and for very good reason. You can’t hand-plant 7 million flower bulbs and rack up 4.5 million tulips in 100 varieties without the outcome being spectacular, and spectacular Keukenhof definitely is.

With 80 acres of blooms, Keukenhof has earned the title of the largest bulb flower park in the world. Nearly 10 miles of footpaths gracefully wind around pavilions, works of art, fountains and lakes, flower shows, and jaw-dropping displays of flower arrangements. Everywhere you look is splashed with color. Whether it’s the meandering flower river, the vantage points providing views across the flower fields, the rhythmic swoosh of rotating sails on the windmill, or a boat ride through the bulb fields, Keukenhof is bound to make you feel like you are truly in the Netherlands.

Address: Stationsweg 166a, Lisse, 2161 AM, Netherlands

Telephone: +31 (0) 25 246 5555

Website: keukenhof.nl

Opening Dates and Times: March 22–May 20, 2012, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ticket office closes at 6 p.m.)

Entry Price: €16.50 adults, €7 children (4-11)

Getting There: Keukenhof is situated between Amsterdam and The Hague and is reachable via both public transport and car (paid parking is €6 per vehicle). From March 22, a direct bus runs to Keukenhof from Schiphol airport, The Hague, and Leiden. A Combi-Ticket will provide you with both entry to the park and return travel on the bus for €21.

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