Writers Abroad Magazine Issue 3 September 2015 - Page 32
WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE
Ten Surprising Facts About TULIPS
An Article by Susan Carey
Just one of the perks of living in
inexpensive and enormous
variety of flowers and bulbs on
offer. Holland's national emblem
has a decorative appearance
which belies a chequered and
1. The tulip originated in
Turkey and was named
after the traditional tulipshaped turban.
2. Sixty per cent of the world’s bulbs come from the Netherlands and threequarters of all global trade in flower bulbs passes through NL.
3. Export value of Dutch bulbs is approximately 600 million euros annually.
4. In the early 1600s, tulip fever 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.
5. It takes seven to 12 years to cultivate a flowering bulb from a seed. This slow
growing process raised the flower's value and fuelled tulip mania in the 17th
6. 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.
7. The world’s first economic bubble burst in February 1637 in Haarlem, possibly
triggered by the outbreak of bubonic plague in the city.
8. 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.
9. The Keukenhof attracts around 800,000 foreign visitors each year. In the spring
from late March to mid-May you can visit this 70-acre cornucopia of flowers.
10. Deborah Moggach wrote,Tulip Fever, which will be released in the autumn as
a film. I recommend this novel/film if yo u like your fact peppered with fiction!
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