Close your eyes for a moment and imagine Holland. Let us guess what you see: traditional mills, famous cheese and Dutch tulips? These common stereotypes are an integral part of the history and culture of the Netherlands. Did you know why Dutch farmers are considered the best suppliers of tulip bulbs around the world? Let’s find the answers in Dutch history.
Back into History
Nowadays, you could easily buy flower bulbs online, but the majority of gardeners prefer particularly Dutch bulbs. For example, the following species can become a pleasant acquisition:
- Fiery Dream;
- Dazzling Sensation;
- Violet Pranaa;
- Snow Crystal;
- Negrita Double;
- Mystery Valley.
How Dutch Breeders Managed to Gain Such Popularity?
The first tulips appeared in Holland only in 1593. That year, the botanist Carolus Clusius became a professor at Leiden University. Then, Mr Clusius founded the Botanical Garden, in which he planted the tulip bulbs from Constantinople. This event became the turning point in building the Dutch bulb industry.
Quite quickly, tulips gained popularity among the upper class and gradually became a real luxury item. By the beginning of the 17th century, the passion for tulips turned into a “gold rush”. The Dutch were ready to pay a lot of money to become the happy owners of these flowers, the presence of which determined the status of a person. Then, the tulip mania spread throughout the country.
Huge competition among manufacturers forced them to breed new types of flowers. The most expensive Dutch tulips looked amazing. The cost of unique pieces ranged from the cost of a carriage with horses to a house on a canal in Amsterdam.
How Tulips Made Stock Markets Go Crazy
Having seen an easy way to make money, speculators began to invest in the sale of bulbs. To trade tulips, they created stock exchanges, where they sold futures on the unplanted flowers. Despite the authorities’ attempts to somehow control the market, the tulip trade flourished: people sold houses and lands to invest in tulips.
In 1635, a record price was paid for 40 bulbs — 100,000 golden coins! There is no doubt that all this tulip madness had to end someday. In 1637, the “financial bubble” burst, putting the economy of a prosperous country into crisis. By the way, the term “tulip mania” is used today to refer to a major economic crisis, when asset prices significantly deviate from real values.
The National Symbol
The Dutch have been cured of their flower disease, but their love for tulips remained in their hearts forever. The Netherlands is home to one of the most famous tulip parks, Keukenhof. There is also the Tulip Museum in the heart of Amsterdam, the city where Dutch citizens annually celebrate the Tulip Day. Dutch tulips are familiar to the whole world. It is impossible to pass them without stopping for at least a few minutes to smell their scent and enjoy their beauty. Aren’t they lovely?
Dutch Tulip Fields: Lisse, Hillegom, Noordwijkerhout and Zilk
First of all, it is worth noting that flower fields are not only randomly scattered across the country but mainly located near the flower auctions and Keukenhof Park. The location near auctions is very pragmatic and allows farmers to quickly deliver their products for sale. The most visited among tourists are the fields of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in Lisse. This is explained not only by the worldwide fame of the park but also by the fact that it is extremely easy to get to Lisse by bus from Leiden. Besides, flower fields in Hillegom, Noordwijkerhout and Zilk have also gained worldwide recognition.
FloraHolland Flower Auctions: Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg
FloraHolland is an exchange, which does not trade stocks or oil, but flowers. These auctions are similar to an autonomous city since work on them continues around the clock. Inside each auction, there are cafes, lounges and smoking areas, and even hairdressers. The attractive thing is that the auction is in free access for tourists. You can watch the buyers from a special gallery. Tourists at FloraHolland have a unique opportunity to find themselves in the centre of the international flower trade, while gardeners — to make a favourable purchase.
The FloraHolland flower auction is located in three cities: Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg. You can visit any of them! However, the Aalsmeer auction is considered to be the most convenient to visit due to its size and its proximity to Schiphol Airport.
Blooming season in Holland: The Best Time for Visit
The flowering season in Holland is believed to start from mid-March to mid-May. However, flowers just don’t tend to bloom at the same time every year. It all depends on the temperature. Therefore, if the winter is warm, active flowering in most fields can be observed already in early April. The Dutch also monitor the beginning of the flowering season in the fields thanks to the well-known websites. Due to such innovation, you can tell when tulip fields are in their most beautiful flowering phase.
We also recommend you to attend the National Tulip Day, which takes place every year in Amsterdam on Dam Square. However, this is far from the only flower festival in Holland! An overview of such holidays with dates and programs is presented on a specially created website.
As you can see, the Dutch have created an impressive flower industry, turning a bad story into a successful business. Nowadays, tulips have become not only a national symbol but also a source of pride for the citizens. Serious tourist infrastructure has been created here so that many people come to the Netherlands to watch the fascinating flowering on the flower fields, participate in auctions, and of course, celebrate the National Tulip Day.
All these factors made Dutch breeders the leaders of the industry. Thanks to their work, we can enjoy tulip blooming in our gardens around the world, and choose among the variety of species.