Part 3: Arriving in Holland
As trade and relations continued between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, Tulips very slowly began to appear in the private gardens of the well connected. While one can only speculate as to when the very first Tulips truly appeared, the man most credited with bringing the storied flower to Holland is Carolus Clusius.
A botanist and professor, Clusius likely first received bulbs from a Flemish ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. He planted Tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573, and in 1592 published the first major work on the flower, noting variations in shape and color.
In 1593, he was appointed director of Leiden University's newly established 'Hortus Botanicus' (Botanical Garden), and proceeded that year to plant a variety of Tulips both there as well as his private home. The blooms in 1594 are considered the first time Tulips officially flowered in the Netherlands.
Hundreds of bulbs would be stolen from Clusius' gardens in the coming years as the Dutch found themselves infatuated with the colorful flower. It rapidly ingrained into Dutch culture, appearing in art, literature, and even on the ceramic tiles used to decorate homes.
The above image of a woman is Rembrandt's 'Flora', painted in 1634. It depicts his wife, Saskia, as the goddess of Spring and flowers, complete with a Tulip adorned head dress. This infatuation across the Netherlands would soon drive a frenzied market that has come to be known as tulipomania or "Tulip Mania".