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Aalsmeer, Delft, Kuekenhof, flower parade

We'll be in the Netherlands in April and are trying to make the most of our time. Would it be possible to combine a daytrip to the Aalsmeer flower auction with a trip to Delft? Or should we combine Aalsmeer with Keukenhof? What would be the best way to work in the flower parade? I think we may stay in Haarlem or Amsterdam.

Posted by
1924 posts

MW, April is an amazing time to visit the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the 2020 Keukenhof Flower Parade was canceled and we're holding our breath for 2021. It's currently being advertised as happening on April 17, 2021. There are many websites detailing the parade, here's one example.

The Aalsmeer Flower Auction at the FloraHolland is impressive; the building is HUGE! We've done the tour a few times with friends and family. But if I recall correctly, it's not open on Saturdays, so there's no chance to see it and the parade on the same day. We've done the self-tour at FloraHolland, but our first visit was with a local guide. That was far more entertaining! I believe the tours start as early as 7 AM, and our self-tours ran about 90-120 minutes, depending on the level of interest by friends and family.

Not sure how many days you have, but Delft on Saturdays is quite active as there is an antiques and vintage market open on Saturdays from April through October. It sprawls along the canals in the center of the city. Certainly, a great place to find memorable gifts to take home. You could always arrive around 9.00 AM, then head to the parade afterward. (Generally, the parade passes by Keukenhof in the late afternoon (3.30 PM?) but there are other vantage points (with less traffic!). The last parade I went to ended in Haarlem, which might be convenient for you if you stay there.

Because the parade day is so busy, I'd combine the Aalsmeer Flower Auction at the FloraHolland (early AM) with a Keukenhof visit ON A WEEKDAY!

So perhaps  FloraHolland with a Keukenhof visit on a weekday... and then Delft on Saturday, followed in the afternoon by the parade. (Just give yourself PLENTY of time to get to your "parade spot" as traffic can really get backed up).

All of the above activities are currently impacted and canceled due to the pandemic - we're hoping 2021 will not be.

If you're a fan of flowers and April doesn't work due to the current restrictions continuing (Gosh, I hope not), you might also consider the Corso Zundert, which bills itself as the biggest flower parade in the world! This weekend event happens annually, the first weekend of September. (unfortunately, this year it has also been canceled). We've been a couple of years - after a Dutch friend recommended it to us. The small town of Zundert, close to the Belgian border, is literally in full bloom. We found this parade far more of a WOW than the Keukenhof parade. See a video example here or the longer, local television coverage version here. Note, all the floats are powered by volunteers pushing and pulling them through the streets - no engines allowed!

Hopefully, April 2021 will bring lots of flowers and open borders. We're all looking forward to both!

Posted by
712 posts

I would move mountains to see Keukenhof in full bloom. (In fact I have, 5 years out of the last 17.) The last time we were staying in Haarlem and looked forward to catching the parade on its final lap. Maybe it's more impressive in daylight, but in evening under halogen streetlights, the colors just looked weird. If you're picturing something like the Rose Bowl Parade, lower your expectations.

Keukenhoff is big and spread out, and deserves a full day with an early start, preferably on a weekday. You can sign up for their newsletter and get a better idea of when it's at its peak. Early in the season it's not quite there, and in the last week or two, the flowers are not as impressive. Much is dependent on how cold the winter was, but late April seems to be a sweet spot.

Posted by
4739 posts

I agree that Aalsmeer/Keukenhof is the best combination for one day. I have been to Delft as a same-day runout from Amsterdam (as well as visiting from Den Haag another year), but if you're going to any museums or shopping, it's worth a whole day. The day will come when Aalsmeer becomes a purely online trade auction, so visit the warehouse while you can. (Covid-19 may accelerate that decision, who knows?)

I can't help you with the Search (top center of desktop version of this page), but you need to look up previous discussions if you are doing this with public transportation. It's not hard to get a day bus trip to Keukenhof from Amsterdam and other cities, but Aalsmeer-Keukenhof-Amsterdam is more of a sequence of unrelated local busses, that requires research and planning. We did this by car, before dropping the car for our Amsterdam stay, so I can't help. There have been some posts specifically on this issue, in the last few years. I presume you need a bus card for paying the local fares. (Day excursions to Keukenhof are probably different ticketing style.)