Exhibition: Tulips through the Ages

Published on
March 5, 2012

To mark the occasion of the Floriade and the World Tulip Summit, both in Venlo, and to commemorate 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey, the Library is dedicating its spring exhibition to the tulip. The exhibition is based on the collection of exceptional works from the Special Collections. Unique in the collection are the scores of original and precious florilegia from the 17th, 18th and 19th century. With these and other, mostly original sources, the exhibition will sketch a picture of the cultivation and breeding of this unique flower from the 16th century to contemporary times.Various publications, pamphlets and prints from 1568 to the present day will be shown. From florilegia (flower books) to water colours and prints. From pamphlets to growers catalogues. From tourist folders from the 1920s to promotional posters from the 1950s and 1960s to scientific discussions about all kinds of technical aspects on cultivating illustrious bulbous plants.

One of the collection’s treasures is, without a doubt, the famous Tulip Book of Pieter Cos made at the height of the Dutch Tulipomania (1637). In fact, the Tulip Book is a growers catalogue, before such a thing existed, to which the sale price for each bulb was later added. Tulipomania lasted only a few years but was a period in which a tulip bulb, such as the Viceroy (see image), commanded more than 4000 guilders, an amount that could buy a modest house on a canal at the time.The bubble would later burst and leave many who had invested hundreds, even thousands of guilders in the bulb market with bulbs that were then worth nothing.

The exhibition will run from 9 March to 29 June 2012, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm in the Forum (Building 102), Wageningen Campus. Droevendaalsesteeg 2, 6708 PB Wageningen. Admission is free.

For more information and requests for group tours, please contact Liesbeth Missel in Special Collections tel.0317-482701 / 0317-484546.

(newsletter 2-2012)