The tulip is synonymous with the Netherlands – despite having first been cultivated in Turkey. Following its entrance into Europe in the 16th century, “tulip mania” became entwined with the Dutch Golden Age, as the world’s first recorded financial bubble. In 2020, Dutch tulip bulb exports were valued at just over 220 million euros. Kevin Krautgartner’s In Full Bloom series captures large-scale tulip agriculture today, focusing on fields in Lisse – between Haarlem and The Hague – the heart of the flower-bulb region. Mesmerising aerial views capture the scale of production, with rows upon rows of deep maroons, yellows, whites and greens. The allure of these images is also unsettling, with lines segmenting the landscape like barcodes, signalling reduced biodiversity. Connected to the global flower trade is the fact that, by 2050, scientists estimate there will be no habitat left for wild tulips, with all future cultivation relying on human intervention.
Kevin Krautgartner, from the series In Full Bloom (2019). Lisse, Netherlands. Courtesy of the artist.