Each year the Netherlands sends 20,000 tulips to Canada as a gift for their help during World War II. But this was not your typical, “help me here and i’ll help you there”, military help. This story is quite weird (pretty much just like any other story that qualifies to be listed on I’m A Useless Info Junkie).
Here’s how it goes.
When the German Nazis invaded the Netherlands back in the 1940, the entire Dutch royal family left the country and went to the UK. After spending a couple months there, they decided to fully abandon Europe and went to Ottawa, Canada. (the article continues after the ad)
In 1943, Princess Juliana was pregnant and was about to give birth to Princess Margriet. But she was facing a bizarre problem: if the baby wasn’t born on on Dutch soil, she wouldn’t be fully Dutch and, therefore, she wouldn’t be in line for the throne.
And here’s how Canadian hospitality comes in handy.
In an effort to help in this uncomfortable situation, the Canadian government decided to make Ottawa Civic Hospital extraterritorial (something like an embassy), so that Princess Juliana could give birth on Dutch land. In other words, they actually gave a piece of their land so that the new Princess could be born in a Dutch soil. They even played Dutch music to welcome the child into the world!
So, the baby was born, time went by and in May 1945, when the war was finally over, Princess Juliana flew back to the Netherlands. She never forgot the help she was given though so, in order to show her gratitude, she sent 100,000 tulips to the Canadians. In addition, she ordered that 20,000 of tulips should be sent annually to Ottawa, a custom that holds up to our days.