The tulip flower, the symbol of Holland, has its roots in Asia and the Mediterranean. Holland is the tulip capital of the world, although it is not a native Dutch flower. There is not a single species of tulip indigenous to Holland. Tulips grow so well in Holland due to the pleasant climate. Tulips were introduced in the Netherlands during the 17th century by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist. He achieved immense recognition for his works with medicinal herbs in Prague and Vienna. In 1593, he accepted a position as the head botanist of the Dutch University in Leiden.
At Leiden, Clusius founded the first botanic garden focusing on ornamental plants rather than medicinal ones. In this garden, he developed a private tulip collection with the tulip bulbs and seeds brought from Constantinople (presently Istanbul) and thus introduced the flower to Holland for the first time. Some local gardeners broke into his garden and stole many of the specimen tulips. It is from these that the now famous Dutch bulb industry began. Tulips rapidly gained popularity as a trading produce, especially in Holland. The interest in these flowers was enormous and bulbs were sold for incredibly high prices.
Through various botanical experimentations, Clusius and other horticulturists discovered new color variants in tulips. The popularity of tulips soared and in a little while the demand increased drastically. In the months of late 1636 to early 1637, there was a complete “Tulipmania” in the Netherlands. People began speculating with tulips. Conversely, during the first few days of February 1637, the Dutch tulip market crashed dramatically.
Many tourists visit Holland just to see the bright colored flower and the amazing view of the bulb fields. The flower fields in the west of Holland are at their peak during the months of April and May. There are numerous flower exhibitions held in Holland every year in which tulips form a major part. The Keukenhof in Lisse is the most exciting and colorful spring attraction in Holland, where tulips, along with daffodils, hyacinths and other flowering bulbs, are the main crowd pullers.