04 Dutch artists commonly depicted tulips and other ﬂowers in their painting, like this one by Jan Davidsz de Heem. 05 Springtime in Holland is magical and colourful.
In those early days, tulips were considered a luxury buy aﬀorded only to the wealthy and noble. A trend also began where cultivars began swapping bulbs, using them as a form of money, where actual properties traded hands with rare and scarce bulb varieties. In today’s term, the trading could be called a futures market. When people started noticing the seemingly easy proﬁts made from trading tulip bulbs, prices skyrocketed. “Tulip Mania” swept the country, peaked, then just as easily as it gained momentum, the frenzied trading came crashing down overnight resulting in what was thought to be the world’s ﬁrst economic bubble. The bulbs’ value tumbled to a tenth of their former worth, speculators hurried to cover losses, but the damage was done. With demand for the bulbs disappearing, the rumblings on debts would continue for many years to come.
05 JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2017