21 May, 2016
The Dutch Icon
Tulips, the Netherland’s national symbol, are renowned for their pride, freshness and colour. From mid-March to late May, tulips transform large parts of Netherlands into a colourful patchwork. Tuilp fields, stretching along the coast of The Hague, Leiden to Alkmaar in the North are excellent for enjoying tulips. In Kuekenhof, tulips grow abundantly in spectacular colours and shapes.
A Tale of Tulips
The name tulip is derived from the word tulipan, which means ‘turban’. The tulips embarked upon their journey to Europe from Turkey, in 16th century. Ottoman sultans would adorn their turbans with special tulip emblems. Long before the tulips flourished in the gardens, they grew on the plains of Central Asia; Pamirs and Hind Kush mountain ranges, Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, the Viennese ambassador to Turkey introduced tulips to Northern Europe. In 1550, Sultan Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire, who is said to have had exquisite tulip gardens in Topkapi Palace, gave some tulip bulbs to De Busbecq. The ambassador was interested in the medicinal possibilities of tulips, so he re-gifted the bulbs to a horticulturist in Holland named, Carolus Clusius to see what he could do with them. Carlos Clusius, a Flemish Botanist, working in the Dutch city of Leiden, planted the first documented tulips in Leiden Botanical Gardens. The Dutch climate, with its winds, chilly nights and cold springs turned out to be ideal for the tulip cultivation and breeding.
Learn more about the history of this blooming world traveller, and get to know its many varieties and influences on art and culture at Tulip Museum Amsterdam and http://www.holland-herald.com/
Did you know, the gorgeous “flames and lines” that decorate the tulip petals are actually the result of a viral infection?