Warning: Beautiful Tulips Ahead

Tulips were originally wild flowers found and eventually cultivated as early as 1,000 A.D. in Turkey (during the Ottoman Empire period). Named after the Turkish word for turban, tulips were introduced in Western Europe and the Netherlands by a botanist from Vienna, Austria in the 17th century. Carolus Clusius was a medicinal plants researcher at the University of Leiden when he “got some bulbs from Turkey from his friend Ogier Ghiselain de Busbecq, the ambassador of Constantinople (now Istanbul)” and planted them on his garden.

The first major book on tulips written by Clusius himself in 1592 became popular that his garden was often raided and bulbs were regularly stolen. This flower was so popular in the mid-17th century that it’s known to have caused the first economic bubble aptly called “Tulip Mania” (tulipomania) – because of the high demand, they became more and more expensive that bulbs were used as money until the market in them crashed.

Fast forward to the 21st century, human beings don’t have to sneak into Clusiu’s garden and/or be wrapped up in an economic turmoil. I for one was able to see the beauty of: more than 7 million tulips plus daffodils and hyacinths in over 32 hectares of wonderland. Welkom bij Keukenhof!


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