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Celebrating spring with 10,000 tulips

April 18, 2017 at 6:15 PM EDT
In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, as spring begins, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington showed off one of its biggest exports with a display of some 10,000 tulips.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, in our NewsHour Shares moment of the day: that sure sign of spring, tulips.

And no one knows them better than the Dutch. This year, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington displayed some 10,000 at the ambassador’s residence.

We took a tour with Caroline Feitel from the embassy.

CAROLINE FEITEL, Royal Netherlands Embassy: Our ambassador decided that, this year, he would like to do a spring event where we show off one of our biggest export products.

So, we decided to do a tulip event to celebrate spring. We have over 10,000 tulips here, and I would say about 100 different varieties. The Netherlands, we’re the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world.

We export about two billion cut tulips every year. And we export to the United States over a billion bulbs, which half are tulip bulbs. Of course, we’re also very much known for Keukenhof, which has hundreds of millions of tulips during spring.

And it’s endless. It’s like a carpet of tulips that you see, and it is very impressive. And a lot of Dutch people, but also a lot of tourists come to the Netherlands and want to see that. So, it’s a unique moment in the Netherlands every year in about mid-April.

In the 16th century, there was a lot of tulip bulb speculation, and one bulb could be the value of a house in Amsterdam. So, it’s seen as the first bubble speculation, you know, commercial bubble in the world.

Every tulip you see comes from one bulb that was created by the grower, and then had to be multiplied. So the one bulb became four, and the four becomes 12. And so that’s why, when you have a new variety of tulip, it takes quite a while before you have the huge quantity to be able to sell it commercially.

They come in a huge variety of colors. You have parrot ones that have the multiple colors. You have doubles. You know, it’s almost like three tulips in one. Black doesn’t exist. And then blue doesn’t exist either.

The closest you can get is a deep purple. So, we played a little trick. So, we have a blue tulip here today that was colored. It’s originally a white tulip. And the way it’s colored, it’s put in blue water, and then it becomes a beautiful blue.

Tulips, they are definitely the springtime flower that you see around. And I think it brings people happiness.

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