An estimated 1.7 billion Dutch tulips bring a welcome touch of spring to households and businesses all over the globe each year.
National Tulip Day sees Dutch tulip growers create a massive temporary garden on Dam Square Amsterdam, blooming with around 200,000 tulips. More than 10,000 people traditionally come along to pick up their own free tulip(s) every year – don’t miss the chance to pick your own! This year, the theme is ‘Romantic’.
You can explore this pop-up garden this Saturday, 20th from 13:00 on Dam Square in Amsterdam.
More information can be found on Nationale Tulpendag 2018.
The tulip is a member of the Liliaceae (lily) family, along with 14 other genera. There are about 75 species, and these are divided into four subgenera. The name “tulip” is thought to be derived from a Persian word for turban, which it may have been thought to resemble. Tulips, in their natural state, are adapted to steppes and mountainous areas with temperate climates. Flowering in the spring, they become dormant in the summer once the flowers and leaves die back, emerging above ground as a shoot from the underground bulb in early spring.
In seventeenth century Netherlands, during the time of the Dutch Golden Age and Tulip mania, an infection of tulip bulbs by the tulip breaking virus created variegated patterns in the tulip flowers that were much admired and valued. This phenomenon was referred to as “broken”. While tulips had probably been cultivated in Asia from the tenth century, they did not come to the attention of the west till the sixteenth century, when western diplomats to the Ottoman court observed and reported on them. They were rapidly introduced into Europe and cultivated and became a frenzied commodity during Tulipmania. Tulips were frequently depicted in paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, and have become associated with the Netherlands, the major producer for world markets, ever since.