The Netherlands to Produce Two Billion Tulips

March 8, 2017 by



Tulip lovers worldwide will be happy to hear that production of the flower in the Netherlands is at a record high. Dutch growers are on their way to producing a massive two billion tulips annually.

The Netherlands exports two-thirds of the world’s flowers, many of which are tulips. How did the Dutch generate such a large share of the world’s flower market?


The Origin of Tulips in the Netherlands
The origin of the tulip’s popularity can be traced back in the late 16th early 17th centuries. After merchants from the Ottoman Empire introduced the tulip to the Dutch from the in the mid-1500s, the flower became popular because it tolerated the region’s harsh climate conditions. The Netherlands became a prime location for growers and sellers of the seeds and bulbs. Over time, the tulip became a luxury item to own and grow, its rarity and quality leading to increased demand. This demand for tulips benefited the Dutch East India Company, which at one point generated a profit of 400% on the tulips alone. 


Tulipmania to Market Crash
Toward the mid-17th century, the tulip became the Netherlands’ fourth largest export. It was around this time as well that greenhouses began to appear in the region, the early versions used to grow the valuable flowers all year round. During a subsequent market crash, the tulip lost much of its value but the years spent cultivating the flower left the country with a horticultural skill set that farmers repurposed for growing crops. It wasn’t until after World War II that the tulip started to rise in popularity, making it far more affordable for the average person. With this turn of events, farmers shifted back to cultivating the flowers, and the Netherlands became a large worldwide exporter of tulips.


Tulips Grown Without Soil
Tulips can be cultivated using hydroponics, a method whereby plants grow without soil in a nutrient-enriched solution that does not require the use of chemicals. Growing the
 resilient tulip this way uses less heat and fewer resources, making it easier to produce every year and enabling growers to meet an increased demand for the flower. The tulip’s popularity has led the Dutch to build some of the largest greenhouses in the world, as they constantly seek ways of increasing the yield using the fewest amount of resources while at the same time minimizing the effect on the environment.

Greenhouses Also Supply 10% of Country’s Energy
The greenhouses double as solar power generators, providing energy to the surrounding area and supplying 10% of the country’s energy needs. Growers use these same advanced greenhouse technologies to cross-breed and experiment with different flower varieties, a practice that sometimes results in new species which they export to the rest of the world.

A total of 77% of all the world’s flower bulbs originate from the Netherlands. By current estimates, nine out of ten tulips are exported from the Netherlands. This massive flower market comprises roughly 10% of the Netherlands’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 


Today, Dutch company Florca Westland exports over 750,000 kg of flowers, plants, and accessories each year to more than 30 destinations around the world. Wholesale buyers, including florists such as Reids in Northern Ireland, import tulips for flower arrangements that they deliver locally and ship internationally.

Tulips Continue to Grow After Cutting
Tulips are unique in that they continue to grow after being cut. They are considered the flower of Spring. The meaning and symbolism of the flower varies according to the color: yellow tulips convey cheerfulness while white ones represent forgiveness. Tulips can be arranged with other flowers or bunched together in single or multi-color displays. A modern take on tulip presentation includes short-stemmed single-color arrangements in glass containers.


Increased Yield and Greater Sustainable Practices
With the tulip’s colorful history, it is not much of a surprise that the Dutch now manage to produce an astounding two billion annually. Each year,they set the bar higher as they find ways to make the greenhouses more efficient.  Dutch growers focus on horticulture production methods not just as a business, but as a sustainable practice and as an environmental blueprint for a more energy-neutral society.

The tulip business continues to succeed while the industry advances innovation using the greenhouse’s energy production possibilities. With increased global tulip exports, the future includes a brighter world filled with the flower’s colors and scents, and along with it, a growing contribution to an ever greater sustainable planet.

Photos courtesy of Reids.


  1. The Netherlands to Produce Two Billion Tulips in 2017 | Worm Farm Adviser Pingback said:

    […] Source: […]

    — March 8, 2017 @ 22:30

  2. Knud Stauning said:

    I am looking for bulbs in Lilli Marlene is it something you can help me with..?
    If you can’t help do you know wher we can find a product…?

    — January 17, 2020 @ 16:46

  3. 30 surprising facts about the Netherlands – Tech News Pulse Pingback said:

    […] the Netherlands is the world’s leading exporter of flowers, most of which are tulips. Around two billion tulips leave the country each year and travel to different destinations around the globe. In most cases, […]

    — January 11, 2021 @ 13:36

  4. Mother’s Day At Keukenhof – Scott's Blog Pingback said:

    […] of course, tulips, billions of tulips, fields upon fields upon fields seen from highways, railways, bike trails, they are literally […]

    — September 17, 2023 @ 19:17

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

The freshest innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for urban gardens and stylish small places.

Visit Robin Horton @UrbanGardens's profile on Pinterest.

Discover more from Urban Gardens

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading