Yesterday, we drove up to Alkmaar to tour the Royal Flora Holland Flower Market. The market is actually a flower auction. It is the largest flower auction in the world. Every weekday, millions of flowers are auctioned from 7am to about 10am. The facility itself is impressive. It is 1.3 million square meters which is the equivalent to 220 football fields. Flowers are supplied by 6,000 suppliers from all over the world and there are 2,500 customers to which flowers are transported. The facility uses technology to help them sell the flowers quickly and get them to homes in a shorter turn around time.
They test flowers at the facility as well in order to ensure the quality and shelf life of the flowers. Labs simulating real-life household conditions such as temperature control and day and night variants in light are used to determine how long the flowers should last in our homes.
On the visit, we were also able to see the auction floor where the biding on the flowers occurs. It too is heavily automated and even allows for today’s buyers to bid remotely. The entire process from arrival from sellers to the bidding, packaging and delivery to buyers is very streamlined and quite impressive.
In addition to the flower market, they also have a plant auction which we did not see.
I never knew what an involved and high-pressure business flowers could be. The tour was enlightening and quite enjoyable and man were there some beautiful flowers there!