Congratulations to Nine Streets florist Gerda’s Bloemen, recently selected by the Rijksmuseum to provide the weekly flowers for this very prestigious venue. Each Wednesday morning, Gerda’s team creates new floral arrangements exclusively for the Rijksmuseum, based on what is currently in season. Here are a few stunning highlights:
Rijksmuseum celebrates the 17th Century:
One of the greatest museums on the planet, Amsterdam’s newly renovated Rijksmuseum is perhaps best known for its collection of paintings by 17th Century Dutch masters. The 17th Century was Holland’s Golden Age. It was also the time when tulip mania gripped the country and saw the tulip’s popularity reach unprecedented levels. “Broken” tulips were particularly prized for their exquisite patterning in contrasting colours, known as feathers and flames. This striking feature is in fact caused by a virus (Broken Tulip Virus) which, without harming the bulb, can separate the colours to spectacular effect. At the peak of Tulipmania in 1637, tulips were frantically traded with phenomenal prices being paid for rare bulbs. Notoriously, just before the market collapsed, a buyer offered an amount equivalent to the value of an Amsterdam canal house for a very rare Semper Augustus.
It is then hardly surprising that broken tulips are featured in several still life paintings by the 17th Century Dutch masters, many of which now reside in the Rijksmuseum.
As a floral tribute to the 17th Century, this month on 17th November 2013, the Rijksmuseum will plant 17 varieties of heirloom tulip bulbs from the 17th Century in the gardens of the Rijksmuseum, here in Amsterdam. This is a special project in co-operation with the Keukenhof Spring Gardens.
The tulip flowers which these ancient heirloom bulbs produce are very beautiful. They simply cannot be compared to the commercially grown tulips most of us are used to seeing these days. However, growing these rare historical bulbs takes genuine dedication and passion. The Broken Tulip Virus, which gives the flowers their spectacular colour, is spread by aphids and other insects, making these heirloom varieties commercially non-viable and difficult to grow.