I’m sure everyone has a bucket list of things they hope to do. Some things on the bucket list may sit for a long time, and then wonderfully, it is their time. This is what happened when I had the opportunity to visit the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer, Holland.
Aalsmeer’s location in a suburb of Amsterdam, right next to Schiphol Airport, contributes to the very fast turn-around of flowers from all over the world. In fact, arriving at Flora Holland, one can see an overhead runway on which over 2600 trolleys per hour rush back to the airport!
Blomenveiling Aalsmeer, besides being the largest flower auction, is held in a building that is the largest building by footprint in the world = 128 acres!!
The auction is set up to welcome visitors who can wander along on a catwalk to oversee the operation which is set up robotically using thousands of these carts on which the flower ‘buckets’ are placed, bar coded and shifted.
It is almost impossible for me to understand how these carts are activated. They trundle along until suddenly one will dash off on one of the perpendicular tracks on the left.
They are now hitching up into orders. They will be collected and moved by a cart seeker – sounds like Harry Potter, right?
They stand on these – what? – backing in to hook up, magnetically, to the line of carts.
Alliums on the March! These are trundling through the auction phase. With 20 million flowers sold daily, it is amazing to think that each bucket – not cart – is sold separately, every day!
Bidders sit in this room or at their own computers to bid. The screen shows the product and the bids go down on the circular ‘clock’. It is a Dutch auction, so it begins high and then drops. The trick is to let it drop enough towards the price you want before someone else snaps it up. It goes – yup – like clockwork.
The quality of the flowers is superb. The only boxes I saw were boxes of orchids. Flowers come from all over — Columbia, Ecuador, Kenya, Israel and Europe to name a few.
Mini calla lilies in a rainbow of colors travel along with buckets of Sweet William.
Of course, I thought of a million questions long after we left (and traveled on to lunch in Haarlem)! Maybe there would be a book in the shop…
Hardly……too bad after all that gorgeousness…..this is what is offered! Happy Fourth!