The tulip originated in Turkey and was named after the traditional tulip-shaped turban.
Sixty percent of the world’s bulbs come from the Netherlands and three-quarters of all global trade in flower bulbs passes through NL.
Export value of Dutch bulbs is approx. 600 million euros annually.
It takes 7-12 years to cultivate a flowering bulb from a seed. This slow growing process partly fuelled tulip mania in the 17th Century.
In the early 1600s tulip mania gripped the Dutch. Bulbs were traded for extortionate amounts of money. Often the bulbs were ‘virtual,’ passing from speculator to speculator, but never physically changing hands.
The much-coveted ‘broken’ variety (with striped petals) which fetched the highest prices during tulip mania were the result of a virus in the plant.
The world’s first economic bubble burst in February 1637 in Haarlem, possibly triggered by the outbreak of bubonic plague in the city.
Author Deborah Moggach wrote ‘Tulip Fever’ which will be released later this year as a film. I highly recommend this novel if you like your fact peppered with fiction!
In WWII, many Dutch citizens were forced to eat tulip bulbs during the famine of 1944. This period is known in Dutch as the hongerwinter. Usual food supplies were either blocked or diverted to Germany. Eighteen thousand people died of malnutrition during the exceptionally hard winter.
The Keukenhof attracts around 800,000 foreign visitors each year. You have till 17 May 2015 to visit this cornucopia of flowers covering 70 acres!
Angela writes using pseudonym, Susan Carey. She has dual nationality, GB/NL and lives in Amsterdam. Susan has had short fiction published on multiple platforms and was a runner-up in the 2018 and 2017 Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Competitions. Every year she is crazy enough to take part in Nanowrimo, and has done so successfully since 2009. Her writing has also been published and performed by amongst others; Mslexia, Liars’ League, Reflex Fiction, the Casket and of course the wonderful Writers Abroad. She has a love hate relationship with her adopted hometown and often dreams of living in a thatched cottage, far from the madding crowd.