The wild speculation in tulip bulbs


At first, only the very wealthy could afford to buy tulips. It was very fashionable to have tulips in your garden back then. The flamed and striped varieties were especially fashionable. So what happened? Prices rocketed sky high!


A great many people thought it would be a great to get rich overnight. Sometimes, they gambled all their possessions to buy a single bulb. Well, actually, all they got was a piece of paper saying they were the new owner of a tulip bulb. They didn’t get the bulb itself; it was still stuck in the ground somewhere. Sometimes, the bulb didn’t even exist. The idea was then to sell the piece of paper on to someone else – for more money, of course. And the prices people paid were simply ridiculous.

A price of €1800 for a single bulb was not uncommon at all. Rare bulbs sometimes went for € 6000! This wild speculation is known today as the ‘tulip mania’.

These paintings were made to ridicule the people who bought and sold tulip bulbs during this wild speculation. Also depicted is Flora, the goddess of trees, flowers and plants.