Saturday, 12 May 2012

Les Fleurs and Aalsmeer

Roses from Paris, Amsterdam and Lucca.....

Roses from Paris, Amsterdam and Lucca.....and they probably all started their journey to market from Aalsmeer in the Netherlands.......THE international portal for flower distribution in Europe.   It's the largest flower auction in the world.

Aalsmeer is actually a huge (and I mean really, really huge) flower warehouse that auctions and distributes thousands/millions of flowers to buyers throughout Europe each and every day. Here's how it works.  

Growers or nurseries from the Netherlands and other European countries, Africa, South America and the Middle East send their flowers to Aalsmeer, where they're auctioned in large halls and bought by thousands of buyers from various world markets.  

The flowers are despatched to their final destinations...London, Berlin, Prague, Moscow, Lucca, Paris etc......for sale to the consumer........and the entire process takes just 1 or 2 days depending on the final destination.

I visited Aalsmeer early one morning and it was a frenzy of activity.....everything happens very, very fast in Aalsmeer......the flowers need to be rushed to ensure they look their freshest and loveliest for sale.

Aalsmeer was really interesting and well worth the 30 minute bus ride from Amsterdam.  The auction 'concept' has worked well for many, many years...take a look.
One of the 12 auction rooms......electronic screens provide all details about the flowers...and the crates of flowers
are wheeled before the buyers
Trolleys stacked with every possible bloom.  The variety, quality and colours were incredible.
These were the most superb orange roses.
Now I know where my sunflowers come from.
I have no idea where the blue roses came from...but aren't they amazing?
Cerise petunias all potted and ready to go to that pretty flower stand in Paris.
Quickly being despatched to market....the dodgem cars whizzed around delivering purchased flowers to buyers' designated areas.
Off they to market.
And I loved these black and white photos of 'old' they used to auction many years ago...
Lot 357 arriving at Aalsmeer
Auction room..probably 1940/50s
Ready for despatch via road and air...looks like 1930s
As you can see from the snaps above, the auction concept hasn't changed much over the's only become a little more mechanised and computer savvy.

If you visit Aalsmeer, go early.....the auction starts at 6am.....but we arrived at 9am and there was still plenty of action!

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  1. Gosh what colours. I would like to visit someday - maybe next time I am in Paris. How lucky you are to be here for a while. Every time I visit, I start thinking about the next time I can come back. I never seem to have enough time to do all that I want to do.

    1. Amsterdam and Aalsmeer are really worth a visit Ingrid....even just for a few days. And it's such an easy hop away from Paris. Yes.....we never have enough time to see it all....but aren't we fortunate to see 'some' of it!

  2. Aalsmeer has to be flower heaven!!!!An interesting and colourful insight into global trading. Thanks Robyn. Jude

  3. I would love to go to the dutch flower markets. Was it very cold in the auction halls to preserve the flowers?

    1. It's really worth a visit Paul...and so easy to get there by local bus. I didn't really notice the cold...though it's always cold in the Netherlands so praps that's why they don't have to worry too much about refrigeration in the auction halls.

  4. how did you contain yourself!?