“The history of the Tulips is an intriguing history, filled with intrigue, skulduggery, thievery, instant fortunes and broken hearts. Although these flowers are synonymous with the Dutch, Tulips did not originate in the Netherlands. The Dutch obsession with Tulips belongs to the relatively recent history of the Tulip”.
Origin of Tulips
What historians have been able to establish is that Tulips probably originated thousands of years ago in a ‘corridor’ which stretches between Northern China and Southern Europe.
It was in Turkey where what was probably the first of the Tulip Festivals which were held at night during a full moon.
“Hundreds of exquisite vases were filled with the most breath-taking Tulips. Crystal lanterns were used to cast an enchanting light over the gardens whilst aviaries were filled with canaries and nightingales that sang for the guests. Romantically, all guests were required to wear colours which harmonised with the flowers!”
Tulips arrive in Europe
During the second half of the 16th century, news of the extraordinary flower reached Europe. As a result, seeds were sent to the prefect Carolus Clusius of the Royal Medicinal Gardens in Prague. This event marked the arrival of the Tulip to Europe.
When Carolus Clusius wrote the first major book on tulips in 1592, they became so popular that his garden was raided and bulbs stolen on a regular basis.
As the Dutch Golden Age grew, so did this curvaceous and colourful flower. They became popular in paintings and festivals. In the mid-seventeenth century, tulips were so popular that they created the first economic bubble, known as “Tulip Mania”.
As people bought up bulbs they became so expensive that they were used as money until the market in them crashed.
Today, Holland is still known for its tulips and other flowers, often being affectionately called the “flower shop of the world.” Tulips are cultivated in great fields of beautiful colour. In the Kop van Noord-Holland, you will find millions of tulips, hyacinths and other flowers. This collection of flowers transforms the landscape into a sea of different colours.
Each year, the Tulip Festival is organized in the Noordoostpolder. Held in the middle of the tulip fields, this flower festival runs from late April to early May. Flower markets and gardens abound, Aalsmeer, near Amsterdam, houses the world’s biggest flower auction, which is really something to see.
Tulips really do deserve the title – Tulips an intriguing history.