For the love of tulips

And in some countries a declaration of love.  

  • There are 6,000 varieties of tulips around the world, in Sweden 400 of them are cultivated. Swedes buy more of the flower than any other nationality.
  • Elegant and kind of art deco, the tulip is loved by many, but more so by Swedes (followed by Finns and Danes). Although the flower is associated with Holland, Swedes buy more of the flower than any other nationality. From January, when the Day of the Tulip is celebrated every year on January 15, until Easter or April, close to one million tulips per day are bought in Sweden.

  • Over 150 million tulips are sold annually in Sweden, according to statistics from Jordbruksverket (the Swedish Board of Agriculture) – in all kinds and colors and most of them homegrown, in Sweden. Though the tulip is Holland’s national flower, the cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire. The word itself (and tulip in Swedish is “tulpan”) entered English and Swedish by way of the French “tulipe”, from the Ottoman Turkish “tülbend” meaning “muslin” or “gauze”, but it is ultimately derived from the Persian word “delband”, which means “beloved”.

  • In Persia to give a red tulip, is a way to declare your love for someone. The tulip was introduced to Europe by Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador for Ferdinand I of Germany to Suleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire. It quickly became popular. There are as many as 15 groups (or divisions) of tulips, based on size and flower morphology. In Sweden, the sales of tulips signify spring is coming. It’s a bit of color in the dreary, gloomy winter. And color? Older people tend to like colorful tulips, whereas young Swedes favor white. Says Bengt Lennartsson, owner of Lennartssons Handelsträdgård in Väröbacka: “Twenty years ago, nobody wanted white tulips, now that’s trendy. And ten years ago, all tulips sold were yellow. Now yellow tulips are only sold for Easter.” Of the tulips sold in Sweden, 75% are cultivated in Sweden. Imported tulips are cheaper, but most people prefer the Swedish ones.

  • When it comes to potted plants there's been a revival of those with small, cute flowers, known as Revenge of the 'missus flowers'