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Holland, The Land of Flowers

Holland is a region located in the western part of the Netherlands. When we hear “Holland”, the first images that comes to mind are windmills, cheese, their national costume or klederdracht, and of course—tulips! Holland tulips have become popular all over the world due to their distinctive bulbous shape and  shocking varieties of color. They are commonly grown in gardens, used as potted plants or fresh cut flowers sold in shops. Moreover, red tulips have become the symbol of passion and eroticism of young love. White tulips, on the other hand, stand for pure love while yellow ones symbolize a concern for the beloved.

While tulips are closely identified with Holland, the flowers did not originate from that province. Tulips actually came from the Ottoman Empire and only arrived in Europe in the late 1500’s, introduced by a botanist Carolus Clusius to the Leiden University in the Netherlands. Not long afterwards, the flowers became such a hit in the Netherlands that one bulb, the most famous one called Semper Augustus, sold for as much as 6,000 florins (the average annual income at that time was only 150 florins). Semper Augusus was indeed very rare; it had red and white vertical stripes which can only be produced by a virus on a healthy tulip crop.

Around the time of its sale—early 17th century—the Netherlands was undergoing what historians call the “Tulip Mania” (incidentally, the phrase “tulip mania” have become a metaphor to a large economic bubble). The flowers sold for such exorbitant prices that they were even used as currency for trade. However, the market collapsed eventually, leaving the flowers worthless. Thousands of Dutch were left financially ruined in the wake of the crash, including noblemen and dignitaries. For a flower, this is indeed a very interesting history.

Tulips grow best in temperate climates, such as Holland’s. The perfect weather for them are cool springs and early summers. In the Philippines though, they can be grown annually in natural conditions. The Philippine weather is not exactly suitable for tulips, but some growers make use of greenhouses to cultivate the flowers. This way, the problem with the high temperature and sometimes extreme weather conditions can be resolved. It’s not Holland tulips, but if you want to get tulips here in the Philippines (and other flowers as well, such as roses), there are many flower shops that you can look into.

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