After Paris and before I started another course in London, I squeezed in a few days of Amsterdam. As you can probably guess, the reason for going was to see the world famous flower auction at Aalsmeer - flower capital of the world.
So the first morning after I arrived Amsterdam, I got up at the crack of dawn and made my way to Aalsmeer.
Many will know that the Aalsmeer flower auction is the largest in the world and each weekday about 20 million, yes, 20 million stems of flowers go through and are sold in this building.
Below is the famous Dutch auction. You can see all the men look like traders on Wall Street, flowers ARE serious business in the Netherlands afterall. Carts of flowers are wheeled into the auction hall for the buyers to see and they only have a few seconds to bid on the flowers before someone else snatches them, don't know how they can all look so calm and in control.
A center for testing and grading flowers.
And now, flowers!!! Colourful tulips and what looks like a specie of artichoke.
I went to the flower auction at the end of September and obviously they have started Christmas preparations already, so some ready made wreaths were available and what looks like ammi/queen anne's lace.
Huge purple allium and pepper plants.
Even from afar, I can see how fresh and strong those hanging amaranthus are and tubs of crap apples!
And look at these gorgeous babies! A sea of huge hydrangea in vintage pink, purple, blue and green, I WANT THEM ALL!
Just to give you an idea of the sheer size of the building, you can't actually see the end of the hall.
The staff there move at amazing speed. They ride bikes (true Amsterdam style!) and also whiz carts of flowers around with these segway looking motor bikes. It looked horribly complicated due to the sheer volume of flowers they have to process. From the flowers arriving the building, to sorting out and grading, to being auctioned off and thereafter packed and shipped to their new owners, speed is of essence as every minute counts!