A long long time, this very Dutch flower was not really something you would easily give away at someone’s birthday or because your room needs some brightening up. No, tulips were very precious and the flowers of Sultans. You could buy a house with just tulip bulbs. Wait what? Let’s dive into the history of Hollands favourite flower!
The tulip originally comes from Iran, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan and ended up in Turkey, where the Sultan made it extremely popular. The handsome and fashion-minded Sultan put this flower on their turbans, hence it got the name ‘tulipan’ which means turban is Turkish. Turkey was a very powerful country back then. The gardens of the palace of the Sultan Soeleiman were filled with the most beautiful tulips, and only special guests received these beautiful flowers as presents. One day the sultan gave some to a Flemish merchant who in turn gave the flowers to a friend who lived in Austria.
This friend moved to the Netherlands and took his precious tulips with him, and planted them in the garden of the university of Leiden. He studied them vigorously and took care of them. It was a big shock for him when one morning he discovered his bulbs were gone. This was the start of the tulip trade in Holland.
Like precious gems
Within no time this flower was more precious than gold. People gave all their possessions, even their house, for a tulip bulb. Or just a paper saying they were the owner of a bulb. This wasn’t a fair trade that would last long.
Tulips no more
And just like that, the bubble popped. In February 1637, the government ended this strange trade and left some people extremely rich and others extremely poor. Up to today the tulip is still Hollands most famous flower, the un-official national flower of our country!