Tulip Mania

Economic speculation, the birth of futures & options contracts and a market crash in Holland’s Golden Age

There is something so deliciously mad about the phenomenon of Tulip Mania in 17th century Holland where “protestant restraint” was “de rigeur”. This was the “Golden Age” of the Netherlands, when sophisticated modern economic systems were invented: the first-ever multinational corporation (the Dutch East India Company founded in 1602), financed by shares that established the first modern stock exchange and the Bank of Amsterdam (established in 1609), the precursor to, if not the first true central bank.

Tulip Anonymous 17th-century watercolor of the Semper Augustus, famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania.

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