The town of Aalsmeer, located 8 miles southwest from Amsterdam, is referred to as the flower capital of the world. It is home to FloraHolland (a Dutch cooperative of 6000 growers) which has the largest flower auction in the world. Approximately 20 million flowers from all around the world are auctioned daily and shipped from Schiphol Airport. Many flowers you buy in the US have been auctioned through Aalsmeer.
FloraHolland’s building is the 5th largest commercial space in the world with a floor space of approximately 10,750,000. Sq.ft. (more than 100 football fields).
The auction is open to the public from Monday to Friday between 7 and 11 am and costs 5 Euros to view.
Visitors are able to walk along the second floor platform overlooking the floor where millions of flowers are received from nurseries worldwide. Flowers are refrigerated, prepped, inspected, graded, transported by trolleys, auctioned, then immediately trucked throughout Europe or delivered to Schiphol Airport (only a stone’s throw away) to board a plane for their final destination. Transport from growers worldwide to Aalsmeer then to the final destination of an American flower shop takes less than 24 hours. This is Dutch efficiency!
I have never seen so many flowers in one location. There was a sea of quickly moving colorful flowers to look upon.
The trolleys each carry one lot of a particular flower stacked in containers which are rapidly moved by a motorized vehicle. Some are moving 30 MPH. Flowers are whizzing by quickly. Employees ride their bicycles throughout the building as it has a massive floor space.
The auction is Dutch style which means the price starts high and then goes lower. Bidders have only a short time to place bids and then the flowers are shipped immediately out of Amsterdam. There are 13 auction clocks running in five auction rooms and approximately 115,000 transactions take place daily.
Two auction rooms visible to the tourists are large and surprisingly very quiet. No one speaks. The bidders are all concentrating and working on a special computer that links to the auction price. They are constantly looking at the bidding clock and making instant transactions from their computer.
This is the World Trade Center of floricultural business.
An amazing distribution system!
Visited Friday, April 20, 2012
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