Do you know all about the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer?

The fact that the world’s largest flower auction is located in Aalsmeer is well known. All the action accredited to the Royal FloraHolland takes place on the Legmeerdijk. A visit to the flower auction in Aalsmeer, may mean getting up early, but guarantees a unique experience in a totally different world. During your visit, keep these fun facts in mind when you walk across the visitor’s bridge to the auction.

History of the Dutch flower auction in Aalsmeer

  • The flower auction came into being in 1910 in two Aalsmeer pubs. Watch the video showing history footage.
  • At that stage, Royal FloraHolland started with just one warehouse and has since been expanded to an area which would encompass 200 football pitches. Or in square metres: 775.000 m2.

 Royal FloraHolland statistics

  • Royal FloraHolland employs more than 2,600 people from 44 different countries.
  • The flower auction has 35 auction clocks.
  • The number of flower and plant species traded exceeds 30,000.
  • Every year, some 1,200 to 1,500 new products are added to this total. There are also products that are no longer traded, some of which you may still find in the Historical Garden in Aalsmeer.
  • From Monday to Friday, 43 million flowers and 5 million plants are sold every day.
  • More than 60% of the global flower and plant trade passes through the Dutch flower auctions.
  • 54% of all flowers and plants in the Netherlands are sold through Royal FloraHolland. So, chances are that your bought flowers or plants which were still in Aalsmeer this morning.

Interesting facts 

  • The top five export countries are Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Belgium.
  • The most popular varieties are roses, tulips and chrysanthemums.
  • The cold storage rooms at the flower auction in Aalsmeer cover a surface area of 51,800 m2. By way of comparison, all the refrigerators and freezers in Amsterdam put together have a surface area of 40,000 m2.
  • The Aalsmeer Shuttle, which you may see when you arrive at Royal FloraHolland, is 18 kilometres long and ensures that flowers and plants are transported from one side of the building to the other in 10 minutes. Due to the size of the flower auction, it would take a car up to 45 minutes to drive the same distance.
  • Royal FloraHolland has its own fire brigade, fishmonger, hairdresser and bicycle repairman. The building is so large that employees travel by bike to get to where they need to be.
  • A tarantula, poisonous tree frog or even 12 cm long grasshopper. These exotic animals have all been found in the flowers and plants that come to Aalsmeer from abroad. The animal ambulance comes and picks them up.

About flowers and plants

  • Did you know that tulips are not from the Netherlands at all? They come from Turkey and ended up in the Netherlands in the 16th century.
  • The tulip is a popular flower but was even more popular from 1600 to 1637. It was the most expensive flower of the time, when the most expensive bulb cost €2,000 in today’s money.
  • Plants and flowers sometimes have a symbolic meaning. Here are some: a branch of an olive tree stands for peace and reconciliation, a blue violet stands for hope, red roses stand for love of course and the lily is the symbol of innocence.
  • The oldest product traded in Royal FloraHolland is the Bonsai tree, which is sometimes as much as 50 to 60 years old.
  • The Iris flower, on the other hand, is the youngest product with an age of 4 weeks at the time of auction.

Of course we don’t want to give away all the facts and trivia, because when you cross the bridge and experience the daily life of the flower auction in Aalsmeer you’ll find out so much more! For example, about the batteries, the cold storage rooms, the old and new auction rooms including information about the clock, the exporter’s packaging area and the knowledge centre. And of course, about how, within all this chaos, the dealers know where to go with their trolleys. This has something to do with lights and coloured safety vests. Okay, time to go and see for yourself!