“When spring comes, I send you tulips from Amsterdam” (Dutch song)
But Antwerp discovered this flower 30 years earlier than the Netherlands (of course : everything in Antwerp is better, bigger, earlier, newer - the chauvinists, but I love them).
In 1562 a trader from Antwerp discovered some unknown bulbs in a load of fabrics from Turkey. He tried to eat them (of course : as a man), didn’t like it and put the other bulbs in the ground. Next spring : Antwerp discovered the tulip. And Flanders became the center of the European cultivation of tulip bulbs ( these days the Netherlands are the biggest cultivator : 3 milliard of bulbs each year !!)
In the century of the tulip (17 th century) especially tulips with a print (flames, stripes, …) were a hype.
Info : Tulip walk in Antwerp till may 31, ticket gives you access to 13 locations (museums) during 3 days ( www.dewereldinantwerpen.be )