Holland’s booming tulip trade

When we think of a tulip, most of us almost instantly picture the rich and colourful fields in Holland. While these blooms may not have originated from Holland, they have become one of the top exports of the country. Yes, many flowers are sold locally, but they are also exported to various countries around the world.

Tulips in history

The first tulips were imported from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey today) to Holland in the 16th century. Not to long after this, there was a huge boom in the industry and tulips were a hot commodity. The price of these blooms skyrocketed and this is what is referred to as ‘tulip mania’. Tulips were more valuable than gold and, although this is no longer the case, the Netherlands still manages to export them in massive quantities. 60% of the country’s land is used for agriculture and much of this land is used for cultivating tulips. In just one year, the Netherlands can export around 2 billion tulips which is excellent news for their economy.

Holland flower facts

If you are still not convinced that Holland is the ‘Flower shop of the world’, here are some statistics to keep in mind:

  • 44% of international flower trade is maintained by Holland.
  • 77% of flower bulbs are from the Netherlands (majority are tulip bulbs).
  • Almost 50% of trade in 2015 was in the form of flowers and buds.
  • Over 65% of new varieties supplied to Europe come from the Netherlands.
  • In 2014, the Netherlands exported $3.8 billion worth of flower seeds.

Maintaining their own stock

While Holland exports a huge number of tulips each year, they also take care of their own market. By the end of March, there are usually 800 varieties of tulips in the form of 7 million bulbs in Keukenhof. Here, many visitors flock to see the superb array of colours and there are activities for all ages. Children can enjoy a playground, maze and petting zoo. This is a wonderful opportunity to keep everyone happy and outdoors for hours.

So, the next time you see a tulip bouquet, just take a moment to think about how many miles it travelled and picture those gorgeous fields in Holland that have become synonymous with the country and a big part of their culture and tradition.