Crossing Continents: Tulips and Globalization

At first glance, the words “tulips” and “globalization” featured in this post’s title may sound completely random in relation to each other, but as you should know, everything is connected to globalization in one way or another. So let’s talk tulip.

Mental Floss made a post earlier today featuring a video by Stephane Kaas called “The History of the Tulip”. The five-minute video was created for the Amsterdam Tulip Museum in the Netherlands and described just how the flowers became associated with the country. Nope, tulips were never native to the land which now boasts itself as the plant’s largest commercial producer in the world, but they had to travel there somehow.

The story of the tulip’s trip to Western Europe begins in the Himalayas. Nomadic Turks began to collect the specimens, which were apparently first cultivated by Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire. Over time, tulip bulbs made their way westward as gifts from sultans to diplomats and a few found their way to botanist Carolus Clusius who planted the bulbs in his Dutch gardens. And no, that isn’t a euphemism for something dirty. The rest is history.

Anyway, just check out the video because it’s interesting to hear about how even things such as a flower can spread from one continent to another.

The History of the Tulip from Stephane Kaas on Vimeo.

P.S. I think tulips are great and would love to visit a field full of them one day. Gotta make it happen!


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