Netherlands: Keukenhof Gardens (Revisited)
Keukenhof Gardens are the world’s largest flower gardens and cover 32 hectares and are only open for around two months in spring. Around 7 million bulbs are planted each year. Not just tulips of all colors, shapes, and sizes, but also other bulb flowers (hyacinths, daffodils, lilies) are on display in their full blooming glory. It’s crowded and touristy and pricey (more then 1.5 million visitors come here in just about two short bloom weeks in April-May), but it is a must see destination for its sheer variety of tulips, some absolutely surreal and fairytale-like, not just in colors but also in structure. The tulip mania that happened in 1634-37 was the first speculative asset bubble in history, as well as it gave birth to the first futures markets. In many ways, this was like cryptocurrency on steroids, the tulip bulbs and bulb futures were trading on organized exchanges and people specifically bought them for speculation and pump and dump (like meme stocks). At the height of the craze a sale of 40 tulip bulbs was recorded at 100,000 florins (vs annual salary of skilled laborer being 150-350 florins). Assuming an average annual salary in present-day Netherlands of roughly say $30,000 (probably low end actually), those same forty bulbs would go for about $15 million.