The latest “Mach was!” (Do something!) topic is Herba’s challenge to do something with tulips… I’m Dutch, so of course I just had to join this challenge!
Tulips became popular here during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. There was even a ‘Tulip mania’ (see this Wikipedia entry) at the time, when a single tulip bulb sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman! Tulips soon became normal, however, and during the last winter of World War II, tulip bulbs were famously cooked and eaten when there was no other food available! That winter was later dubbed “The Hunger Winter”. My mother remembers eating tulip bulbs as well when she was a child in the war and remembered them tasting awful.
I’m not sure what makes tulips so popular as to my mind they are so ‘normal’. It always feels a little surprising to me how much tourists seem to crave seeing them here in The Netherlands. When I first read Herba’s challenge, I decided to look around me and see how many references to tulips I see around me in daily life. It turns out, tulips really are very normal here… So, this tulip challenge does not come to you from Amsterdam, as I don’t live there, but there are enough tulips to be found here where I live as well!
Very soon after I read about the challenge, we went to the funeral of a friend of my dad’s who had died in an accident. We also visited the spot where he died and laid down our flowers amongst other flower tributes that also included tulips:
Not long after that we visited my own dad’s grave, and there, in a little separate and still empty plot, the only flowers popping up were tulips:
I also bought myself some tulips for at home:
After all, in the local small mall that is almost opposite my house, there are more than enough tulips to choose from at the 3(!!) flower shops here:
They also have them in our supermarket, where they also sell tulip chocolates (that I have never eaten before, but I suppose they taste the same as any other Droste chocolate)! At one of our stores I also saw some ornamental plastic tulips…
Last weekend during Easter, my husband, the kids and I had a drink at a cafe and the decoration there included some fake tulips:
And apparently tulip tourism is still very much alive! When two of my closest friends from the US came to visit me here in The Netherlands 7 years ago (has it really been that long? It’s time they visited again!) they asked if we could drive by some flower fields. We did just that on the way to my house from the airport…
There seems to be a misconception that the tulip fields are just everywhere in the Netherlands, but that’s not true. The fields are concentrated in certain areas and in my daily travels I do not see them… they’re to the north of where I live, closer to Amsterdam. There is a yearly flower show in that tulip area called the “Keukenhof”. I have only ever been there once (again, with foreign guests) and this year, like every year, the opening of the Keukenhof flower show was also announced on our Dutch TV news:
At a bus stop near our house I also saw an ad for another tulip show in Haarlem (although, I think this is Keukenhof related as well):
And our tulips (& other flowers) are also very much present at the Vatican at Easter. Every year the Dutch are very curious to find out whether the pope will thank The Netherlands again for supplying the Easter flower decorations:
I didn’t really pay attention, I missed the speech and Easter blessings, but I am told that this year ‘we’ were thanked again by the pope. 🙂
With all these tulips, where are my own tulips in my own garden do you ask? Well, we do have them planted in our garden but this challenge has come too early – the tulips haven’t come up yet! I don’t see any tulips around me in the outdoor green areas yet either. Our own tulips are starting to come up, though, like in this pot (leaves but no flowers yet):
We’ve had a very mild winter so maybe it won’t have been cold enough for the plants in this pot to bear flowers now? Time will tell…
My daughter bought me some tulips the other week (very affordable on the pocket money she gets) that I finally had to chuck out two days ago after keeping them for as long as possible. Here’s what they looked like just before they were headed for the green bin:
And, to end, here is the most famous (and oh so cheesy!) Dutch tulip song called Tulips from Amsterdam! I’m posting the Dutch original (and not the English version by Max Bygraves); the lyrics are basically about some guy bringing someone else tulips from Amsterdam in the spring. Not too imaginative.
Happy spring, everyone! Enjoy the spring tulips if you can! They are not my favourite flowers (maybe because I see too many of them around me) but they are very pretty nonetheless. 🙂