The endless variety that one thing can contain – is one of Ben’s suggestions for a take on this week’s Variation theme. Ben chose a shot from the Gouda Cheese store in Amsterdam.
MB has also decided to use Amsterdam for his theme shot, selecting another product synonymous with Amsterdam, and Holland generally – Tulips.
Just across the street (and canal) from the Anne Frank house lies Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum. MB and daughter MB2 happened to spot the Museum only on account of the fact that they could not get into the AF House due to the huge numbers of people already in the never-ending queue. But the Tulip Museum turned out to be the silver lining on the AF dark cloud. It’s a real pleasure to visit and to learn the history of the tulip, brought by invading Ottoman Sultans back to Turkey from Kazakhstan and elsewhere, then brought to Europe by diplomats based in the Ottoman region. The Dutch then made it their own, so to speak.
The fact that Amsterdam had a large wealthy middle class at that time (for reasons MB will not get into here) permitted much trading and investing in tulip bulbs, the iPhone of their day. The years 1634 to 1637 saw a frenzy of such investment which was referred to at that time, and since, as ‘tulip mania’. People were investing approximately 50% of the price of a premium townhouse in Amsterdam on a single tulip bulb, whose particular colour might have been considered rare at that time. Three years passed before everybody work up and smelt the coffee tulips. By then, large personal fortunes had been lost in the world’s first recorded financial bubble, as bulb prices collapsed to a fraction of their previous worth.
For the information of HX followers – anyone considering a trip to Holland to view (or photograph) Holland’s famous tulip fields, April or May are the recommended months to do so.