Tulip Mania

The Tulip Mania was the very first eco­nom­ic bub­ble of the world his­to­ry. Many spec­u­la­tors mort­gaged all of their belong­ings, just to get in pos­ses­sion of a few tulip bulbs. This event hap­pened in the Nether­lands as the coun­try expe­ri­enced its Gold­en Age in the begin­ning of the 17th cen­tu­ry. Can you imag­ine that the sum paid for one tulip was suf­fi­cient to house, feed and clothe a whole dutch fam­i­ly for half a lifetime?

I spent 2 months in research, design and cod­ing work for this Inter­ac­tive Sto­ry­telling Web­site about the Tulip Mania. If you are inter­est­ed in this sto­ry in gen­er­al you should order this great book at your local bookstore.

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Chap­ter 1

To a Dutch­men of the Gold­en Age (17th cen­tu­ry), the tulip was a bril­liant new­com­er, still bear­ing some­thing of the allure of the exot­ic East and obtain­able only in strict­ly lim­it­ed quan­ti­ties. Because the most superbly fine vari­eties were scarce, they were expen­sive and because they were expen­sive, they were attrac­tive to have for rich people.

Chap­ter 2

Most rare tulips were grown prin­ci­pal­ly by rich dutch regents and mer­chants, who val­ued it for its beau­ty and the inten­si­ty of its col­ors. By 1630 pro­fes­sion­al flower grow­ers could be found in almost every town in the Dutch Repub­lic. Tulip farm­ing was pret­ty attrac­tive. A small plot of land was required and some bulbs being all that was required to start.

Chap­ter 3

From the ear­ly 1630s com­mon dutch­men now didn’t not just breed tulips, they also start­ed to buy them since the dawn­ing real­iza­tion that mon­ey could be made in bulbs not just by breed­ing. For a while at least, many made mon­ey. And that attract­ed yet more novice florists to the trade.

Chap­ter 4

One day there were no bid­ders for a spe­cial tulip bulb. Many traders real­ized, that hey had bought sim­i­lar bulbs with­in the past few days in antic­i­pa­tion of sell­ing again for anoth­er hand­some prof­it. Now, their assump­tions had been shat­tered. The mar­ket for tulips sim­ply ceased to exist. One tulip that had been worth 5,000 guilder was sold lat­er for only 50 guilders.