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Why Dutch Tulip Time Should Not be Missed

field of tulips
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

Look back to the 1600s, when the Netherlands kicked off its own mania trend with… tulips.

Uncover the craze of Tulip Mania during AmaWaterways’ springtime Tulip Time sailings. It was in the 1600s that a Flemish botanist named Carolus Clusius first introduced the tulip to the Middle Ages-weary Dutch in 1593.

Dutch Boy smelling the tulips in Holland
Dutch Boy smelling the tulips in Holland

What is Tulip Mania?

The vibrant flower, indigenous to countries of the Ottoman Empire, bloomed with rich hues not yet seen before in Western Europe. A fascination was soon born. The en vogue bulb quickly rose to an important status symbol. While financial records are limited from the 1600s, research indicates that some precious bulbs went for as much as ten times the annual salary of a skilled craftsman and quite a bit more than the value of many homes.

At the time, of course, a purchase of this flower seemed like a sound investment. The Dutch were living their Golden Age when Tulip Mania reached its fever pitch in 1637. It was the time of the Thirty Years War, and the Dutch intervention from 1625-1629, and its people were eager for something cheery and bright. Amsterdam merchants were making profits of up to 400% in the East Indies and wanted to show off their wealth with grand estates and magnificent gardens. The rarer and more unique, the pricier the flower. Exalted names were bestowed upon the various breeds, giving fancy prefixes like ‘General’ or ‘Admiral,’ or even ‘Admiral of Admirals’ to some of the best-sellers. But it wasn’t just the wealthy who were besotted by the flower’s charms. Those less financially well-off were also enticed by promises of quick returns on investments. Some even remortgaged their homes for a chance to ride the tulip craze at a time when bulbs were reportedly changing hands as much as ten times a day.

Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

The End of an Era

Until the bubble burst. A wave of bankruptcy and financial woes quickly swept the country. Fortunes were made and lost overnight and some were left having traded valuable goods and commodities for a few now-virtually worthless bulbs. Fast-forward a few hundred years and even today, the term ‘Tulip Mania’ is still used as a cautionary phrase for any large economic bubble that may not last.

Today’s Tulip Celebrations

While Tulip Mania may have long since ended, the tulip craze continues in the Netherlands as a celebrated part of the culture. The Dutch still dominate the worldwide tulip industry, producing over 4 billion bulbs annually, over half of which are grown into cut flowers. And there’s plenty of opportunity for anyone who loves to stop and smell the flowers between Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum, a national holiday, and private homes and gardens.

Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

The Beauty of the Keukenhof Gardens

Yet nowhere boasts as much flower power as the breathtaking Keukenhof Gardens. For only a few scant weeks between mid-March and mid-May, the Gardens showcase over 7 million planted bulbs on nearly 80 acres of greenery and welcome nearly a million visitors. Walking and biking paths, not to mention waterways and electrically-propelled whisper boats offer a chance to enjoy the fields in nearly any way you choose. Take a romantic stroll through the fields, be captivated by the beauty and fragrant scents wafting up, weave through unique artworks and sculptures on display, and be sure to check out not only the flower shows and exhibit detailing Tulip Mania – but the particular theme of this year’s display. These are always fun, with mosaics thematically crafted out of various flowers. Past years have celebrated artist Vincent van Gogh and the Golden Age.

Tiptoe through the tulips for yourself as part of AmaWaterways' Tulip Time sailings in springtime!

20 ports of call only accessible via a river cruise

If you're looking for new cruise ports to explore – if you feel like you have seen every island in the Caribbean and stopped at every port in Mexico and the Mediterranean, these are 20 ports of call that you will never see on an ocean cruise ship, that you will only see on a river cruise.

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I am Ann Bartholomew, the owner of Simply River Cruises.

My love of travel comes from the many trips I've taken to other countries over the course of my life. I officially got my start in the travel industry 10 years ago. Since then, I've made it my life's mission to help others realize their dream vacations.

Planning a vacation yourself entails making decisions that can make or break the entire experience. After hours of researching, talking to travel partners, and planning an itinerary, you can still feel lost and confused. Your inexperience could lead you to a disheartening trip, which I want you to avoid.

With my expertise, you can bid farewell to the stress of travel planning and focus on the joy of your vacation. I will take your vision, customize the experience, and provide you with the perfect itinerary. All you have to do is make a booking and embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Working in the travel industry gives me a unique understanding of your yearning to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. By giving each case my full attention and dedication, I have helped hundreds of clients fulfill their travel goals.


With over 10 years of experience, I have all the resources and premium partnerships needed to curate a unique and remarkable river cruise experience, allowing you to focus on the beauty of stunning destinations that leave you invigorated.

You want to travel, and I have the knowledge, skills, and connections to create a high-end vacation that goes above and beyond your expectations.

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