Posted by: internationalroutier | April 7, 2011


I have been intending to write a ‘Tulipmania’ post for some time but have instead decided to provide you with the resources that I have found in my search and let those more braintastic than I tell you all about it.
Brief intro though: Tulipmania refers to a period in Dutch history following the introduction of the tulip from Turkey in 1593. The novelty and desirability of the flower meant that prices for the bulbs escalated. When a non fatal virus resulted in the now famous ‘flame’ colourations the Dutch people went loco for tulips.

People liquidated assets as fast as they could to buy bulbs- and the promise of bulbs from future harvests. Even the already high prices increased twenty-fold in one month.
Can anyone guess what happens next?
Find out here!
And here, I love the herring for breakfast story!
And even here– destined likely to be the only link to a Business Week article ever appearing in this blog .

Today, we can join in all the fun with Tulipmania 1637 a boardgame released in 2009. Anyone got a copy?

You can also read about it in a recently released murder mystery novel The Tulip Virus.

Jan Brueghel, the Younger painted A Satire of the Folly of Tulip Mania c 1640 and which is now housed in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. From the museum’s website…

“One monkey points to flowering tulips while another brandishes a tulip and a moneybag. This is how artist Jan Brueghel indicates that this painting is about the tulip trade. A sale is concluded by hand-clapping. Bulbs are weighed, money is counted, a lavish business dinner is savoured. The monkey on the left has a list of names of expensive tulips. The sword at his side is a status symbol. Farther back, a monkey sits like a nobleman astride a horse. Another in the mid-foreground is drawing up a bill of sale. The owl on his shoulder symbolises folly. Brueghel is ridiculing tulip mania by depicting the speculators as brainless monkeys. The painting also shows what happened when the tulip trade crashed: a monkey on the right urinates on the – now worthless – tulips. Behind him a speculator who has run up debts is being brought before the magistrate. A monkey sits weeping in the dock and in the centre at the back a disappointed buyer is wielding his fists. At the back to the right a speculator is even being carried to his grave.”



  1. You may also be interested in a posible Hispano/Vatican conspiracy behind tulipmania – a means of disrupting the economy of the new United Provinces during the Thirty Years war. It’s a novel, but thoroughly researched – The Chosen Man by J.G. Harlond. See:

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