In spring the Dutch landscape becomes very colorful. The tulips are flowering and cause the scenes which the Netherlands are famous for. Though the Netherlands are famous for tulips, they do not originate from this area. Naturally the bulbs can be found in the south of Europe and the north of Africa all the way to western China. The biggest diversity of tulips can be fount in the mountains of Central Asia. The latin name Tulpia means “flower which looks like a Turban”.
In the dark ages tulips were grown and taded in Turkey. In those days men wore Turmans. the tulip was a luxury item which could only be afforded by the very rich people. The powerfull sultan Soeleiman had many of the beautiful flowers in his gardens. He only gave bulbs to special guests. One of those guests was a noble from Flanders, De Busbecq. In turn he gave the bulbs to his friend Carolus Clusius who led the gardens of the Austrian emperor. When Carolus Clusius moved to Leiden and became responsible for the Hortus botanicus in 1593, he introduced his bulbs there. He kept them to himself, but one night some were stolen. This was the start of the trade in tulips in the Netherlands.
In those days tulips were very expensive. One bulb did cost around 500 Euros where the average annual wage was less then 70 Euro’s. Between 1634 and 1637 there was a real tulip mania. Many people started speculating and prices rose up to 2700 Euro’s, the price of a canal house, for rare bulbs. People hoped to become rich in a fast way, and gave up everything they had to buy bulbs. Often the flower was only sold on paper and the buyer never saw the actual tulip. In 1637 the trade crashed. Many of the flowers sold, appeared not to exist. And many buyers were not able to pay. The tulip mania is regarded the first recorded speculative buble.
Traditionally South Holland and the West-Frisian polders are well known for their bulb farms. On about fifty percent of the bulb fields, tulips are grown. Today most tulips are grown in Flevoland, especially the Noordoostpolder. I made photo’s of some of these fields with the beautiful flowers and some wind turbines, another thing Flevoland is famous for.
A selection of my photo’s of tulips is for sale at the stock agencies.