A Blog Post About the Netherlands’ Floral Emblem - the Tulip

Tulip: The Flower that Caused the 1630s Market Bubble - Why the Netherlands' Floral Emblem is So Popular

June 26, 2017

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The Netherlands' Floral Emblem

Hello again, Naho here. Recently, apart from practising speaking English, I've started learning about investing.

After some research, I read about the era during which the Dutch were obsessive with investing, and I was astonished to find out that they all had their eyes set on tulip bulbs.

Tulips' Long-lasting Popularity in the Netherlands

It was said that although tulips were native of Turkey, ever since the 16th century when the Turkish king gave some tulip bulbs to a Dutch diplomat, tulips have been widely cultivated across the Netherlands and became their national flower.

At that time, wealthy Dutch gardeners branded themselves florists and were engaged in the breeding of different plants. Easy to grow and pleasant to the eye, tulip flowers soon gained great attention within the gardening industry, and various tulip gardens were established across the country.

In particular, in a town called Lisse, there is a large tulip garden called Keukenhof that features the full blossom of over 7 million tulip flowers. During the flowering season in mid-April, tulips run riot with blossoms in red, white, yellow and pink, and visitors from all over the world are attracted to this spectacle.

The Tulip Mania

We talked about how tulips became the Dutch's favourite. However, this flower also caused one of the most intriguing financial events in history.

Through selective breeding processes carried out by gardeners, tulip flowers with rare features were first found in the Netherlands. Among those, bulbs that were able to grow into a beautiful variation with blotches on it were especially sought after as a rarity by gardening enthusiasts at an extremely high price.

Due to the fact that it takes a long time to grow a tulip flower, the already overpriced bulbs became increasingly expensive. Rumor had it that "selling tulips makes lots of money," so even business investors, who were not interested in gardening, joined the game of purchasing masses of tulip bulbs, with the aim of churning a high profit. Some even say that back then, there were people who earned enough to buy a big house by selling one single tulip bulb.

The Surprising Origin of the Word "Tulip"

Tulip flowers look lovely with their simple, unobtrusive shape. The Turkish must have thought that the tulip flower resembles a turban, because the word "tulip" comes from "tulipan," Turkish for "turban."

Tulips are called "chūrippu" in Japanese, which features a long vowel that's very similar to the English word. However, it seems that shorter pronunciations such as "churippa" and "churippu" were mainstream back in the day.

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