Do you have such an impression of Holland?
The images of Holland are windmills and tulips. The tulips’ fields extend over the countryside, and the blades of windmills are turning as the wind blows over it…
Actually, tulips which Japanese also like, is a symbol of Holland. In the souvenir shops in Holland, there are a lot of tulip bulbs and items with tulip patterns.
The reason for this, is that Holland is No.1 in the production volume of tulips, and tulip is their national flower. Tulip’s cute appearance makes us happy. You can enjoy seeing tulips with various patterns and colors. So it is one of the famous flowers in the world.
World’s largest flower wholesale market Arsmail market.
Half of the land in Holland consists of agricultural fields. Its advanced technology for the protected greenhouse is the top class in the world. About 70-80% of agricultural products are for exporting, they are mainly roses, carnations, lilies, tulips and so on. So, the flower industry is very important for Holland.
The Arsmail market, which is the largest wholesale flower market in the world is located in Holland. About 60% of flowers worldwide are auctioned there and exported globally.
When doing an auction, there is a unique rule in the flower industry called, the “Dutch auction”. It is a rule that buyers start bidding from a high price and compete for the lowest price. In general, we see it in the reverse order. Dutch auction was developed in Holland to finish bidding quickly when flowers are still fresh and this is part of the ideas and lessons from “Tulip mania”.
Even if excluding business side, Dutch people like flowers very much. They decorate various flowers in their rooms so that they enjoy their life during a long cold winter season in Europe.
Dutch people and flowers
Dutch people love flowers. They always use flowers to decorate their garden, doors, rooms, and the cityscape is full of flowers. In addition, a lot of flower shops which sell various seasonal flowers are supporting their habits. In Japan, we can buy common popular flowers at flower shops but cannot see a variety of seasonal flowers.
There is a saying in Holland “When I have enough money to buy 2 pieces of bread, I prefer to buy one piece of bread and flowers”. When they decorate flowers on the window side, they think it is not only for themselves but also for sharing happiness to other people who pass by. It is nice!
The history of the industry of tulips in Holland
The cultivation of tulips in Holland began in the 1500’s. At that time, tulips were only loved by people of the upper class such as royalties and aristocrats. Then, since people learned that breeding tulips are not so difficult, it spread across Europe.
In 1630, a lot of investors wanted to grab the opportunity that they could to purchase tulips and resell at the much higher prices. They purchased a lot of tulip bulbs for future trading, then on February 3, 1637, the bubble burst. The bubble was called Tulip mania and it was the first bubble in the history of economics.
In 1870, the Dutch succeeded in cultivating flowers using the greenhouse cultivation system. After that, in 1950, they were able to produce flowers effectively in a mass production system controlled by computers on several factors affecting the flowers’ growth. They strengthened having the management ability to cultivate flowers.
Some other features of tulips
Have you noticed that tulips have petals either opened or closed? Tulips have a feature called thermonasty. When environmental temperature is about 20 °C and above, its petals are opened, and when it’s about 10 °C and below, they are closed.
A good place you can see wonderful tulips fields
Keukenhof Park located near Amsterdam is the world’s biggest tulip park. It has about 7 million flowers such as tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and roses blooming, and you can see flower gardens spread across the site.
You will enjoy looking at various tulips you have never seen before. The best season when a lot of flowers bloom is only 7 – 8 weeks in a year, so it’s better to check the best season every year before visiting there.