TulipsThe first tulip bulbs were brought to the Netherlands as far back as the 16th century. Within a short period of time the cultivation of tulips became a profitable activity. Since the demand for tulips exceeded the supply, prices sky-rocketed. The tulip had quite rapidly become a sort of status symbol and people didn't hesitate to pay thousands of guilders for a single tulip bulb! In Dutch history this was known as Tulipomania, and reached its peak in 1630. But in 1637, the tulip market took a nose-dive; there were more sellers than buyers, which caused the prices to plumment. Nevertheless, people's love of the tulip survived the aftermath of Tulipomania, and tulip cultivation began to flourish once again. These days tulip cultivation is an important branch of the horticultural industry.
The Netherlands covers 41,000 square kilometres of which some 7,700 hectares are used for the cultivation of tulips. This is concentrated mainly in the area between Haarlem and Leiden. Each year about 3,300 Dutch growers export nearly two billion tulip bulbs to over 80 countries around the globe!