Aalsmeer………at last!


blog Alsmeer flower orders rolling togetherI’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.

bucolic Aalsmeer

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!

Alsmeer Flower Auction Holland

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!!

Alsmeer Waiting Carts

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.

 Alsmeer magnetic carts

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.

Alsmeer flower orders rolling together

They are now hitching up into orders.  They will be collected and moved by a cart seeker – sounds like Harry Potter, right?

Alsmeer magnetic hookup

They stand on these – what? – backing in to hook up, magnetically, to the line of carts.

 Alsmeer Allium on the march

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!

Alsmeer Auction room

 Alsmeer Auction clockone bucket

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.

Alsmeer Piink callas Alsmeer orders waiting

Alsmeer waiting shiipment

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.

 Aalsmeer mixed bouquets

Mini calla lilies in a rainbow of colors travel along with buckets of Sweet William.

Alsmeer orders trundling

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…

 Alsmeer Shop

Hardly……too bad after all that gorgeousness…..this is what is offered!  Happy Fourth!


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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2 Responses to Aalsmeer………at last!

  1. Alexandra says:

    So cool! I’ve always wondered how it all works. Great pictures

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