The Netherlands – the country of Van Gogh, red lights, and tulips. Every spring, not only tourists but also operators of the flower industry gather here, as one of the largest flower auctions in the world, FloraHolland, is located here

For example, you can still buy Dutch tulips at Trader Joe’s, as America is one of the countries that procure the largest quantity of flowers from the Netherlands. By the way, it’s not just tulips. The top 5 flowers that fly around the world every day are, besides tulips, lilies, chrysanthemums, gerberas, and of course, roses.

The auction itself is located in the small town of Aalsmeer, where life is bustling 24/7. The auction occupies an area of 75 hectares or 20 football fields. It’s one of the largest single-story buildings in the world, the fourth largest in size. And all 75 hectares are a floral paradise that has been dictating global floral trends since 1911.

Photo: Jeff Gottesman I

On any given day, 20 million (!) cut flowers are sold here, and on the eve of holidays (Valentine’s Day, Easter), sales increase by 10%. Every evening before the auction, flowers from all over the flower fields of the Netherlands are transported to huge hangars via various channels – by land, water, trains, and cars.

The auction welcomes both tourists, who can ride special vehicles through the trading halls, and buyers. The sale takes place in 5 huge halls, each accommodating 2 thousand people. Flowers move along conveyors through the halls, while buyers must quickly make decisions and purchase desired lots without much hesitation. The price is set – from the highest in the morning to the lowest in the evening, as the flowers begin to lose their freshness. Buyers see the price on large clock displays, which are in each hall. Buyers stand in front of tables with special buttons – if they like a flower lot (up to 2 thousand flowers), and if they like the price, they press the button as quickly as possible.

Photo: Jeff Gottesman I

After the purchase, deals are processed within 15-30 minutes, and then the flowers are distributed as quickly as possible to stores/planes/cars to delight buyers with their beauty and freshness the next morning.

By the way, the only visitors interested not in the flowers themselves but in the technologies of their cultivation are the Japanese. They buy cultivation and breeding technologies almost without bargaining. Experts believe that soon the main competitor to Aalsmeer will emerge in Japan.

However, going to the Netherlands in spring is worth it not only because of FloraHolland. It’s in spring that you should enjoy not only cut flowers but also luxurious tulip fields here. The spring flower season is quite short, so if you haven’t visited the tulip fields in the Netherlands yet, be sure to plan it for next year. Especially since such a trip will be affordable for almost everyone: a night in a hotel in Amsterdam or small towns will cost $70-130, and a round-trip ticket from California will be around $1100. That is, admiring tulips will cost about $2500-3000 for one person, without denying yourself anything.

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