Dutch toughen up for downturn

News analysis: Report from the European housing market

AMSTERDAM — Allegedly, the first recorded speculative financial bubble occurred in the Netherlands in the 1630s when, according to Wikipedia, tulip contracts sold for 20 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. When tulip prices came crashing down so did the economy, according to reports that have not been sufficiently documented for historians to conclude exactly what occurred.

During a visit to Amsterdam with more than 50 local real estate leaders, those in attendance were a bit skeptical of that history, but were keenly aware of and on top of every aspect of the current financial mess