AMSTERDAM — After a week on the throne, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands says it is possible that his people can achieve what they have failed at for so many generations and bring pride to this wealthy, popular trading hub. The new regent says he will breed a tulip that possesses its own particular smell.
Last week, with the abdication of Queen Beatrix, Willem-Alexander became the first Dutch king since 1890. In addition to Curacao, Aruba and Saint Maarten, King Willem-Alexander rules over Holland, one of the great industrial centers of the European continent and a nation famous for its windmills, wooden shoes and lovely but odorless tulips.
“Too long have the Dutch people been shamed by the olfactorily useless tulip,” His Highness said in an official proclamation from The Hague. “Without this erstwhile boring flower, whatever does the Earth have to know us by? Apart, of course, from our thriving agriculture, rich history, world-class art ranging from van Eyck to van Gogh, the oldest stock exchange, the International Criminal Court, soccer, Anne Frank and our indefatigable tourism industry?”
The world’s florists welcomed the royal news, reporting that Willem-Alexander “was just saying what every single other person in the world was thinking.” It’s about time, they claim, that such a high-maintenance bulb as the tulip earns its keep with a pleasant, budding aroma.
“Dutch blossoms are exported all over the world, but their flagship offering, the tulip, is really the above-ground pool of the flower community,” said London florist Geoff Barker. “If Holland wants some respect, it shall have to earn it with a tulip—a tulip that smells.”
“Don’t think they can’t do it either,” Barker added. “Carrots were purple and white before the Dutch House of Orange got ahold of them. What’s it like getting in Holland’s way? Just ask the purple carrot.”