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Where have 140 million Dutch tulips gone?

Amsterdam: For tulip growers in the Netherlands, Friday, March 13, was a true horror show. When tulip stems came up at the country’s largest flower market in Aalsmeer, the prices stalled over and over again at zero.

Frank Uittenbogaard, a director of JUB Holland, a 110-year-old family farm in Noordwijkerhout, made the tough decision to destroy his tulip stems — 200,000 of them.

“That hurt a lot,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s very painful because you start in July with digging the bulbs and you have to give them the right treatment to plant them in October, and later move them to the greenhouse. We had very good quality tulips this year. I took my bike and went cycling when they did it because I couldn’t handle it.”

A woman wearing a sanitary mask to protect against coronavirus picks tulip flowers to be home delivered, in the "Tulipani Italiani" tulip field, planted by a Dutch couple to recreate the tradition in the Netherlands where you can pick your own tulip, in Arese, near Milan, Italy.

A woman wearing a sanitary mask to protect against coronavirus picks tulip flowers to be home delivered, in the “Tulipani Italiani” tulip field, planted by a Dutch couple to recreate the tradition in the Netherlands where you can pick your own tulip, in Arese, near Milan, Italy.Credit:AP

He wasn’t the only grower who had to dump tulips. About 400 million flowers, including 140 million tulip stems, were destroyed over the past month, estimates Fred van Tol, manager of international sales for Royal FloraHolland, the largest co-operation of flower and plant producers in the Netherlands.

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