If you moved recently in the Netherlands, there’s a chance you had a walk on Singel Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam, to see the tulip market.
And even if you didn’t, even if you came from a faraway land on the other side of the globe, it’s unlikely that you never heard about tulips connected to the image of the city of Amsterdam.
Every kid on its first stoned vacation in Amsterdam has been asked to bring home some weed for his friends or some bulbs for his green-thumbed auntie. And usually it’s safer to opt for the latter.
Have you ever asked yourself why The Netherlands have such an obsession for this flower, as much beautiful as it is?
TULIPOMANIA, by Mike Dash is the perfect reading to answer your question and to know a little more about The Netherlands.
It’s a fascinating and well-researched overview of the crazyness arisen in Amsterdam, Leiden and Haarlem during the Dutch Golden Age, especially around 1630-1637, when a botanical passion for a newly imported flower (His Majesty The Tulip) became the first financial bubble in history, influencing social life, trading and future development of the nation.
You don’t need to be a flower fetishist nor a financial geek to appreciate this little masterpiece, as not only you will find a key to understand most of the Dutch peculiarities, but you will also find the psychological and economical development of these facts from 1600s terrifyingly similar to recent financial bubbles.
Always study the old to understand the new: that’s a rule!
Picture above is “Allegorie der Tulipomanie (An Allegory of the Tulipomania)”, by Jan Brueghel the Younger, about 1640