Tulip Mania

Nowadays you can buy a bag of flower bulbs at Flower Market near Mint Square for a few euros and grow the most beautiful tulips at home. But that has not always been the case. In the 17th century, a few years after the introduction of the tulip in Amsterdam, its popularity grew to incredible heights. And with it the price for brightly coloured yellow, red and white flowers. How much exactly becomes clear from a book that was printed in the time. “The flowers are now worth as much as 2 cartloads of wheat, 4 cartloads of rye, 4 fat oxen, 8 fat pigs, 12 fat sheep, 2 barrels of wine, 4 barrels of beer, 2 tons of butter, 1000 pounds of cheese, a bed, a silver chalice, and a ship to transport it all. You can even trade the bulbs for an entire house on the canals”, Zacharias Cornelisz, a librarian from the nearby city of Hoorn, says about what has become known as ‘Tulip Mania’.

The madness about the flower bulbs did not last. After a few years, traders realized that they had been carried away by the flowers and the money that could be made from them. The market collapsed, the demand for tulips decreased, and with it the price for the bulbs. The story about the power of the flowers however remains. When growing a tulip at home, remember that you could once have bought an entire house in Amsterdam for it.

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