Millions of Dutch tulips bloom again, in a spectacle few will see

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LISSE, Netherlands, April 29 (Reuters) - With dazzling displays of colour including tulips in purple, yellow, and crimson, the Keukenhof flower garden outside The Hague usually rivals Amsterdam's top museums as one of the Netherlands' biggest tourist attractions.

This year, for the second year in a row, millions of tulips in the park and nearby fields are blooming and will likely fade largely unseen, as the Keukenhof remains closed to visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Keukenhof is only open 8 weeks a year, end of March until mid-May," said Managing Director Bart Siemerink.

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He said that given the country's current lockdown regime, his best guess is that the park will be allowed to open from mid-May.

"And then the tulips are gone, and probably no visitors will come at all this year," he said.

The Keukenhof attracted around 1.5 million visitors annually in the years before the pandemic, most of them from abroad.

Like many venues, the park is attempting to maintain some revenue and attention via online displays and television programs.

There was a brief ray of hope this week as the Dutch government slightly eased lockdown measures for the first time in months on April 28, despite high infection and hospitalization rates.

But while restaurants were allowed to open outdoor dining areas to a limited number of guests, zoos and parks like the Keukenhof were not included.

"We face a hard time of course," Siemerink said. But "we will survive, and then we'll pick up the good years again probably from 2022."

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Reporting by Pirochka van de Wouw; Writing by Toby Sterling; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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