Aalsmeer: the dutch city of flowers, growers, auctions and horticultural history

Dutch flower traders, boat builders, growers and sailors have made Aalsmeer an authentic and vibrant part of the Netherlands, where flowers and water dominate, very close to Amsterdam city and Schipol airport.

The Historical Garden museum (Historische Tuin) museum is one of the hidden gems of Aalsmeer. On the ground of a former nursery in the village center, this ‘living’ museum with the official status of a botanical garden tells the story of the illustrious horticultural history but is also important as a museum that grows and maintains historical crops.

The Historical Garden museum in Aalsmeer has been in existence for almost 35 years. The Garden is situated on a unique section of raised land in the center of Aalsmeer. You will find special collections of horticultural plants that were once grown and traded in Aalsmeer. In the past, the nursery of the Maarse family, nicknamed “Dahlia Maarse” was located in this field. The family was so named because of their famous collection of dahlias, which the Historical Garden fortunately still has today. In addition, the Historical Garden is very well known for its collection of lilacs, roses and clematis. And this is just a selection of the more than 1200 species and varieties present. We therefore still serve as a gene bank for the current floriculture sector. In addition, the Historical Garden collects objects and materials that have been important for the horticultural history of Aalsmeer.

The 50-meter-high Art Deco Watertoren (water tower) is one of Aalsmeer’s showpieces. Swing by for a fascinating exhibition about local water management before climbing to the top for breathtaking views of the surrounding region and Westeinderplassen (Westeinder Lakes). Across the road, The Flower Art Museum is the world’s first museum entirely dedicated to floral-inspired contemporary art.

The Flower Art Museum in Aalsmeer presents time-by-time exhibitions regarding photography, sculptures, and paintings dedicated to the flowers and the natural world.  WONDERLAND is the new exhibition starting March 13th to May 22. More than fifty paintings by the Maltese-Iranian artist Lida Sherafatmand are on display, as well as large flower sculptures by Alisa Lis. Together they form a magical world full of color and deeper layers.

In Aalsmeer, the Westeinderplassen (Westeinder Lakes) offers plenty of watersports, from swimming to sailing lessons and boat rentals. The area is famous for its horticultural industry, and the small islands still grow lilacs – just as they did long ago.

A boat trip on the Aalsmeer lakes (Westeinderplassen) shows Aalsmeer’s secrets. The combination of horticulture, recreation and nature make this area unique. Open boats take the visitor through a surprising maze of islands. With extensive knowledge, the skippers guide you through the past and present of the Westeinder lakes.

The Westeinder Rondvaart will hold lilac cruises in Aalsmeer. The ‘lilac tours’ are now well known in the region and with the flower exporters. These especially forced spring flowers can only be found at the Aalsmeer growers and traders. The first part of the tour leads through the fields on the Westeinderplassen, where the migratory shrubs (lilacs and snowballs) grow most of the year. The special composition of the soil on the islands and the presence of water make the fields on the Westeinderplassen suitable for the cultivation of Syringa and Viburnum, called lilacs and snowballs. Ninety-five percent of the world’s production of lilac flowers comes from Aalsmeer, namely from the fields on the upper land of Aalsmeer.

At the Royal FloraHolland flower auction, visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s largest flower sale. Experience the hustle and bustle of the trading floor, watch dealers bidding against the clock and be amazed as hundreds of thousands of beautiful flowers are sold to traders from all over the world. Located just a stone’s throw from Schiphol Airport, get there early to explore the auction at its busiest with a guided tour with an expert or using the information panels to embark on a self-guided tour.

Visiting the flower strip out of season is not a problem. For the ultimate flower experience at any time of year head to FloriWorld, the region’s newest attraction, and delve into the world of plants and flowers. Discover how flowers impact daily life, take a selfie against a backdrop of blossoming blooms and marvel at the artistic creations handcrafted by expert florists. If the visitor wants to take a memento home, it’s possible to bid on a bouquet in the auction hall at the end of the tour.



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