dutch garden

Lavender common names are a mess

Three relatively common types are called French, Spanish, and English Lavender, respectively. Sounds informative, right? No.

This is Lavandula stoechas. It’s got the leaves you might expect, but a different sort of flower. It’s native to the Mediterranean, including parts of both Spain and France, and is usually what people mean when they say Spanish Lavender. Some historical texts call it French Lavender. 

This is L. dentata. Its leaves are “toothed” (hence the name) in contrast to the simple leaves that “ordinary” lavenders have. It’s called French Lavender, and it’s native to Spain. It is not the perfume/culinary lavender grown in France.

This is L. angustifolia. Different flowers, see? And the simple leaves you expect. This is the true, or common lavender, the classic one for perfume and such. It’s called English Lavender, of course, since it’s the one that grows in those crazy beautiful fields in Provence, France:

Just to muddy the waters further, there’s also L. latifolia, which is usually called Spike Lavender I believe. It and its hybrids with L. angustifolia are used in perfumes etc. as well. It has wider simple leaves that are maybe sometimes a little toothed on the edge, just to confuse a little, but at least they didn’t name it after a country it has little to do with.

Oh - but lavandin, the hybrid, is called Dutch Lavender! As far as I can tell there is no good reason for this! The main difference there seems to be that it does a bolder branchy thing with its flower spikes. There are other Lavandula species, but now I’m tired.

This has been a Lavender Education post, or Why Common Names Are Really Dumb Sometimes (But I Like Them Anyway).

Your house in Dutch

Go around your house to practice this vocabulary!

Other Useful Dutch posts:
Dutch Garden Vocabulary
Dutch Mail Vocabulary
Dutch City Vocabulary


  • The house - Het huis
  • The mailbox - De brievenbus
  • The room - De kamer
  • The floor - De vloer (as in: I’m walking on the floor)
  • The floor - De verdieping (as in: My bedroom is on the 1st floor)
  • The wall - De muur
  • The furniture - De meubels, het meubilair

The basement - De kelder

  • Old stuff - Oude spullen

The hallway - De gang

  • The front door - De voordeur
  • The door - De deur
  • The doormat - De deurmat
  • The stairs - De trap (Stair - Trede)
  • The dresser - Het dressoir, het kastje (Kastje is the diminutive of kast, which is a closet)

The living room - De woonkamer

  • The couch - De bank (Dutch), de zetel (Flemish)
  • The pillow - Het kussen
  • The blanket - Het deken
  • The lamp - De lamp
  • The TV (Television) - De TV (Televisie)
  • The remote - De afstandsbediening
  • The coffeetable - De salontafel, koffietafel
  • The fireplace - De (open) haard
  • The radiatior - De radiator
  • The rug - De mat

The kitchen - De keuken

  • The sink - De wasbak
  • The tap - De kraan
  • The stove - Het fornuis
  • The oven - De oven
  • The microwave - De magnetron (Dutch), microgolf (Flemish)
  • The (re)fridge(rator) - De koelkast (Dutch), frigo (Flemish)
  • The cabinets - De (keuken)kasten (Cabinet - keukenkast)
  • The drawers - De laden, lades (Drawer - Lade)

The dining room

  • The table - De tafel
  • The dinner table - De eettafel
  • The chairs - De stoelen (Chair - Stoel)
  • The plates - De borden (Plate - Bord)
  • The cutlery - Het bestek
  • The glasses - De glazen (The glass - Het glas. Not to confuse with ‘de bril’, which are the glasses to put on your nose so you can see better.)

The bedroom - De slaapkamer

  • The bed - Het bed
  • The sheets - De lakens (sheet - laken. Not to confuse with ‘het vel / blad papier’, which is ‘the sheet of paper’)
  • The closet - De kast
  • The wardrobe - De kleerkast, garderobe
  • The desk - Het bureau
  • The bookcase - De boekenkast

The bathroom - De badkamer

  • The bath - Het bad
  • The shower - De douche
  • The shower head - De douchekop
  • The sink - De wasbak
  • The mirror - De spiegel
  • The toilet - Het toilet, de wc
  • The washing machine - De wasmachine
  • The dryer - De droger (Dutch), droogkast (Flemish)
  • The laundry basket - De wasmand

The attic - De zolder

The garage - De garage

  • The car - De auto
  • The bike - De fiets
  • The scooter - De scooter, brommer
  • The motorcycle - De motor (Dutch), moto (Flemish)

The garden - De tuin

(I made a separate post with garden vocabulary. You can find the link above!)

Study tip: write the names of these things on post-it notes and stick them to the right object. This way you’ll see the name on everything and this will make it easier to associate the word with the object!

We gingen naar het Keukenhof.

Het was onze eerste keer en het was leuk!

This was last week sometime. The boyfriend and I went for a 50 km cycle on our rusty little city bikes and ended up spending some time in the Keukenhof. It was beautiful, and we saw lots of these!

I don’t think any of the photographs I took did it any justice.

The Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in Europe, and it is situated in Lisse, Netherlands. A whopping 79 - negenenzeventig - acres of land is covered in approximately seven million flowers of many different types - including tulips tulpen of course! The park is open every year from mid-March to mid-May, and I was told that the best time to view the tulips is mid-April (which is exactly what we did!).

What’s really interesting about the Keukenhof grounds is that they were originally part of a 15th century hunting ground. It was a source of herbs for the kitchen of a castle, which actually was the origin of the park’s name; keuken - kitchen, hof - courtyard/garden. The castle was inhabited by  Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, the last Wittelsbach ruler of Hainaut and Holland. Wittelsbach is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria. Following her death in 1433, rich merchants took over the grounds and VOC (Dutch East India Company) captain and governor Adriaen Maertensz Block spent his retirement years in the country house (at this point known as Castle Keukenhof) in the 17th century.

In the 19th century, the garden was landscaped and re-designed around the castle by architect Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. In 1949, the grounds was established as a garden and aimed to promote a flower exhibit where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe could show off their hybrid creations.

Long tulip fields

Contrary to popular beliefs, the Keukenhof itself does not contain the long fields of tulips, but features a variety of different gardens and garden styles. It also has numerous water features, exhibitions and even a windmill that you can go inside to look around!

Now, if you’re wanting this

…or this

… these are likely to be private land of tulip farmers and such.

I highly recommend grabbing your bicycle (or renting one!) and just cycling in and around the Lisse area between the March and June time. You will see miles and miles of colours, and it’s really breathtaking to see. We were pretty lucky as it was the first consistently sunny day we’d had for quite a while!

Dus, als je tulpen en bloemen wilt vinden… dan moet je dit doen!