Visitors to the Amsterdam Tulip Museum have a treat in store. In celebration of the its recent renovation, the museum staff teamed up with six world-famous Dutch tulip explorers to update wild tulip exhibits and create a stunning new 45-page full-color booklet on wild tulips called “Tulips.” The booklet, featuring detailed text and brilliant photography, is currently offered free to all visitors.
Wild tulips, you might ask? Yes, and it’s an exciting story.
While millions of visitors flock to Holland each spring to see the famed Dutch tulips, the vividly-color spring bloomers are not actually native to Holland or even to Northern Europe. Most tulips hail from the hard-to-reach mountain ridges and barren steppes of the Himalayan and Ural Mountains.
The sight of exquisitely-colored tulips contrasted against the rugged backdrops of their extreme natural habitats is an eye-opener. Programmed by nature for survival, tulips in the wild cling to exposed rocky crags, thriving against odds where the weather can change by the minute from scorching hot to brutally cold night falls or when the wind shifts direction. In its wild tulip exhibits and booklet, the museum showcases a labor of love, captured over 20 years of annual treks on foot or horseback by six Dutch scientists and flower bulb specialists who share a passion for rugged adventure and tulips.
In addition to the wild tulip exhibits, visitors to the museum can experience the entire story of the tulip:
- how it captivated the 16th century Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent;
- How a European ambassador to the Sultan’s court brought the first tulip bulbs back to Europe;
- and how thieves in the night stole bulbs out of a walled private botanical garden, ultimately leading to the infamous tulip speculation and financial market collapse known as Tulipmania.
Other exhibits provide a look at the commercial bulb trade, tulips and the arts and antique gardening tools.