If one were to glide over the Dutch countryside via helicopter in the springtime, the beauty below them would seem almost surreal. The rolling rectangular fields are composed of immaculately neat horizontal stripes in vibrant swatches of scarlet, pink, lavender, cream white, and midnight blue. The ethereal sight is even more breathtaking when one takes a stroll along these fields, surrounded by endless carpets of bright color. These world-famous three-petal, three-sepal flowers, all craning their necks toward the dazzling sun, are none other than Dutch tulips.
The Netherlands is now the world's leading commercial producer of tulips, shipping out more than three billion of these colorful beauties each year. Standard tulips, depending on where one is based, typically sell for anywhere between one dollar to $3.50 US dollars per stem today. They are a creative alternative to roses, lilies, and other traditional flowers. Needless to say, like every other floral breed, special tulips - such as hybrids, or ones with unique multicolored streaks and patterns - will cost buyers a pretty penny, but a bouquet is certainly not going to break the bank.
Legend has it, however, that this was not always the case. As a matter of fact, these delightful “harbingers of spring” were supposedly once so rabidly sought after that it wasn't just more valuable than gold - men threw themselves into financial ruin all for the sake of attaining just one of these sacred flowers. At the crescendo of what is now remembered as “Tulip Mania”, or the “Tulip Craze”, a single shallot-like bulb of an unripe tulip was worth 20 times the annual salary of a skilled laborer. This aggressively volatile period, marked by convoluted and careless market speculation, inevitably culminated in the disastrous bursting of one of the world's first financial bubbles, an example of the perils of herd mentality.
But how much truth is there to this oft-repeated story of the Tulpenmanie, really? Tulip Mania: The History and Legacy of the World’s First Speculative Bubble During the Dutch Golden Age analyzes the legendary mania and whether it was as dramatic as portrayed. You will learn about Tulip Mania like never before.
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- Colin Barry
Not Anne Goldgar's Tulipmania
This is some random 1.5 hour knockoff of the actual definitive book on the Dutch tulip bubble, Anne Goldgar's Tulipmania.
Don't be fooled like me.