The Netherlands has been the international trade centre for flowers and plants for years. The largest flower auction in the world is in Aalsmeer. The flowers and plants are auctioned on thirteen clocks and in five halls. This way of selling is known worldwide as a 'Dutch auction'.
The Aalsmeer flower auction is open to the public Monday through Friday from 07:00 to 11:00. It's advisable to come early. From the grandstand, you can see the halls where the flowers come to auction, where the porters show the products and the buyers do business from the stands.
A visit to the auction complex in Aalsmeer is fascinating. Dozens of tractors with flower carts drive through the complex. When a trader or merchant has purchased a batch of flowers or plants, it will be delivered to a designated location in the complex within the hour. Hereafter, these flowers may be further processed into bouquets for export or for marketing domestically.
The flower auction in Aalsmeer is part of FloraHolland. Aside from the one in Aalsmeer, it has auctions in Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg and regional branches in Bleiswijk, Venlo and Eelde. When putting all establishments together, 125.000 auction transactions are done and thirty-nine auction clocks run on a daily basis. This amounts to about 12 billion cut flowers and over half a billion plants per year.