Tulipomania

Posted in All posts, April, Tulips, on

The "Tulipomania" that took hold in the Dutch Golden Age, is something which has been written about extensively over the years, with one bulb famously being sold for the price of a house in Amsterdam. The fever which had taken hold of people was all for the love of the fabulous tulip – a flower which has long since been synonymous with Holland, and particularly with Amsterdam.

I recently travelled to Amsterdam, and to Keukenhof – the world famous tulip gardens, to see for myself what it was that had so captured the imagination of people, that they were willing to lose all of their money, and even the roof above their heads for just one bulb!

Upon seeing Keukenhof, it was easy to see why people had so fallen in love with the tulips. I was interested to hear that the ones that they had been so desperate to buy, had in fact been sick – the stripe within them had been caused by an illness, so people were spending all their money on bulbs which weren't even healthy!

Nowadays, the beautiful stripes are bred into the plants, but the effect is every bit as beguiling. Row upon row of different colours of tulips can be seen at Keukenhof, and a bike ride into the bulb fields surrounding the park was every bit as magical. There is a bike hire place just outside of the park, so it is very easy to get to the fields, and the ride isn't too arduous – with Holland being famously flat!

The sun was shining, which made the ride even more enjoyable, but the rows of tulips, and hyacinths on either side of us was a truly magical experience, and I loved seeing where the flowers are grown that we so often see in our florist shops, and supermarkets at this time of year. The variation of colours, and markings on the tulips was also breathtaking. From miniature varieties, to those with stripes on the petals, and every imaginable colour – you would be hard pushed not to find something which you fell in love with, even if you didn't like tulips!

It was fascinating to see the impact that the tulip has made on so many aspects of Dutch culture – not just the economy, but also the art. We visited an exhibition at the Museum Frans Hals on Tulipomania – it was really interesting to see the use of tulips within the paintings – and of course the beautiful tulip vases. The vases are something which have totally captured my heart, and although I couldn't afford anything as spectacular as the one shown above – I have bought myself a very small version, to proudly display the tulips that I grow in my own garden.

Although we were staying for a few days, it would have been possible to visit Keukenhof, and the bulb fields within a day trip if you timed your flights well. The park isn't far from the airport, and flights from the UK are reasonable, and you can be in Holland in just over an hour from Heathrow. For more information about visiting Holland, and the stunning tulips – go to www.holland.com or www.keukenhof.nl.

Thanks for reading!

Deborah x

This post was written by guest blogger Deborah who writes The English Rose. You may also like her previous post title 'Ladies in Lavender' about her trip to her local lavender fields in Hertfordshire.