I went to Amsterdam for two nights to visit to Aalsmeer Flower Auction. It’s the biggest flower trade center in the World. It was HUGE. Anyway, here is my trip report.
At 6.15am I took Bus #172 from the city center so I can be at the auction at 7am. The auction opens from 7am until 11am, Monday to Friday, but by 9am, usually all the flowers are sold and packaged for export so you have to be there at 7am to see the flowers.
Anyway, the journey took around 45 minutes from the city center. When we arrived at the bus stop, we asked a random man where it was located and he told us to follow him. It turned out he worked there and let us inside through the back-door. At the time, I actually thought this was the official entrance so I took a couple of shots. There were tens of fast-moving trolleys filled with fresh flowers & plants passing in front of us so I snapped a couple of pictures, thinking that when we arrive at the auction, I will have time to take more.
There were thousands of flowers and the scent was really wonderful. The man pointed to us where he worked and told to continue straight ahead to find the auction. After walking for a couple of minutes looking lost, a very nice Dutch lady asked us if we needed any help. We said yes. We wanted to know where the auction was. She pointed where it was but then she looked at our shoes and told us since we weren’t wearing safety shoes, she would have to take us there. She was afraid we would get accidentally injured by those fast-moving trolleys. Anyways, we took the stairs up. It turned out the ground floor was restricted area and no tourists were allowed there. 😛 😛 had I known that, I would have taken thousands of pictures. 😛 😛 😛
Even tourists are only allowed to observe from top, it was still an amazing experience.You could see hundreds of thousands of colorful flowers. We saw the quality test room where flower quality inspectors perform random quality tests on flowers to ensure quality.
After that, we observed the auction room. Flowers & Plants are displayed in front of the buyers and then on the auction screen all the information regarding the flowers & plants is displayed for the buyers. The buyers electronically bid on them. It was really interesting. I really felt I was in a stock market.
We stayed there for about one hour. The process was fast as with in one our, more than half of the flowers & plants in the warehouse was sold & packaged for export. When we existed, we saw that there was a ticket center. Since we entered unknowingly through the backdoor, we bought two tickets & left.
This is a summarized version of how flowers are transported to us:
At 5pm, the flowers are picked from the nurseries and then at 8pm they are transported to the auction house. At 10pm they are arrive at the auction place. As soon as they are documented & processed, they are re-fridereted. At 4am, auction quality inspectors perform random quality tests on flowers & plants. At 6am, buyers start to attend the auction house. At 7am, the auction starts. Once the flowers & plants are sold, they are moved to distribution areas. Usually the flowers arrive on the same day or the day after to customers.
My 1 fils Opinion:
Would I recommend anyone to go there? Absolutely! If you love flowers or gardening, you are going to love that place. I suggest bringing a decent camera instead of relying on your smart phone as the place is a little bit dark. Additionally, since you are going to take pictures from the top, a zoom lens will come in handy. Make sure to arrive there at 7am exactly as with in one our, more than the flowers & plants displayed were sold & packaged for export.
Here are more of the pictures I took: