Aalsmeer Netherlands is the village of flowers and water, only 30 minutes from the Dutch capital Amsterdam. It has the biggest flower auction in the world and one of the biggest inland waters of the Netherlands. The village always has been famous for its many flowers. I used to visit Aalsmeer for the television studios (not operational anymore) when I was younger. But I never had the chance to really explore the village. Until VisitAalsmeer and Iamsterdam invited me for a one-day trip. There are many different places to visit and things to do in Aalsmeer nowadays. All related to flowers! From visiting contemporary art, flower fields and greenhouses, to virtual flower experiences, watching a flower auction, and learning about the history of floriculture. In this article I’m sharing my tips for what to do in Aalsmeer, for a real Aalsmeer flower experience.
Discover Aalsmeer Flowers
The history of flower culture in Aalsmeer Netherlands is dating back to the beginning of the 20th century when Aalsmeer growers thought it would be a good idea to start an auction. Being able to negotiate better prices for their products. A new era of flower culture had been born. Aalsmeer Netherlands became the flower capital of the world. As I always look for flowers when I’m abroad, this trip was a great way to spend an entire day around flowers in my own country. Ready to discover Aalsmeer flowers in this cute village in the Netherlands?
What to do in Aalsmeer Netherlands?
1. Visit the historical garden
The historical garden of Aalsmeer is a living open-air garden museum. In a surrounding of almost 13.000 m2, you will find greenhouses and lots information about 350 years of Dutch flower history. The amount of greenhouses and flowers, is pretty impressive and I actually can’t believe I’ve never visited this place before! There are the most beautiful roses, dahlias, lilacs, and all type of plants. You can enter the greenhouses and walk between the beautiful flower fields. A picture heaven!
Want to learn more about floriculture history? One of the greenhouses is an exhibition hall showcasing different pictures and tools, giving a better understanding the way Aalsmeer flowers and plants were cultivated back in the beginning of the 20th century. It is also possible to attend and learn more about a flower auction!
Did you know that most roses don’t smell anymore because the focus is more on the beauty and shape of the flower nowadays? In this historical garden you will also find an area with roses that actually smell! Lovely to experience! The historical garden is taking you on a journey back in the days, while enjoying beautiful Aalsmeer flowers and plants!
Tip: Make sure you have lunch, coffee or tea in the townhouse, the lunchroom of the historical garden. Everything you taste is extremely fresh and well prepared!
2. Enjoy views from the watertower | What to do in Aalsmeer
This iconic building, located on the edge of the Westeinderplassen is one of the best things to do in Aalsmeer if you want to enjoy beautiful views and take pictures! This water-tower was built in the beginning of the century 20th century in Art Deco style. It is 51 meters high and you can climb all the way to the top. Just make sure you take your time, as there will be 214 steps to take. Once you’ve made it the top, you can walk around the tower and look towards Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, people surfing on the water and the lovely Dutch countryside.
The water tower is located in front of the flower art museum. Easy to combine with a quick museum visit. Entrance is only 2 euros!
Historical facts: This water towers was built to provide Aalsmeer and the surrounding villages with fresh drinking water. There were two large reservoirs inside the tower, directly connected to the piping network with a constant pressure on the pipe lines. The water was coming from the dunes and meant to be a supply in times of need. There are 200 old water towers spread across the Netherlands. The building of the towers declined in the 50” because of the use of electric regulated pumping stations. This water tower in Aalsmeer is a national monument nowadays.
Things to do in Aalsmeer in terms of art
1. Flower art museum
“Trees are more like humans than we might think; they communicate with each other, learn from experiences and even solve problems. Mysterious, powerful, wise, vulnerable and magical. They are a source of life and the connection between heaven and earth”. This is where tis museum had my attention. I’m not specifically into trees or anything, it’s just that I do believe in the power of nature. Because of my many visits to the Andes mountains, where people live so close to nature and mother earth, I really started to develop a deeper understanding of the connection between humans and nature.
The Flower art museum is a museum hosting different contemporary art exhibitions, where all artists got inspired by nature and especially flowers. During my visit there was an exposition called tree art. An idea that came up after Peter Wohlleben’s best-seller, “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World”.
What I love about visiting smaller museums, is the surprise, as most times you don’t know what to expect. There will be pieces of art that will make you think, wonder, love, or maybe misunderstand, but there is always something you are going to like. I loved the stories and art about the trees. But also the work by video artist Elsbeth van Noppen, who presented Nocturnal Garden: Fashionable art pieces, highlighting the connection between the night, human beings and flowers.
Favorite pieces | Aalsmeer flowers
My all-time favorite piece is the beautiful flower Dia de Los Muertos skull, probably because of my connection with Mexico. I also thought the different guns, decorated with flowers were very creative.
The Flower art museum is not a place to spend hours but nice to include in your itinerary, if you want to be inspired by modern art and nature. Check out the website if you want to learn more about the exhibitions.
2. Floriworld Aalsmeer Netherlands | Visual flower experience
Need an inspiration boost and want to enjoy Dutch flowers and plants? Floriworld is the flower experience in Aalsmeer (opened in 2020). It’s located at the Aalsmeer Flower auction premises and all about real and virtual flowers. There are visual art installations, colorful shows and lovely flowers setting. You will be experiencing an interactive journey, while learning more about the flower culture, we have in the Netherlands.
Your journey starts in a hallway with surrounding pictures of typical Dutch landscapes, bringing you to the first area of Floriworld: a beautiful green lush environment with Dutch flowers. After this surprise, you will continue your flower journey, going through to the different experiences and photo settings.
Floriworld made me dance between the tulips, think about my favorite Dutch flowers and plants, walk through beautiful flower settings, participate in a flower auction (didn’t win unfortunately) and take many cool pictures. It’s a great visual place to include in your Aalsmeer flower itinerary!
3. Learn how to arrange flowers in the Boerma institute
Want to work on Aalsmeer flowers yourself? Boerma Insitute is an international Floral Design School in Aalsmeer Netherlands. You can take a course to become a florist or floral designer. But they also offer nice afternoon workshops where you learn how to arrange Dutch flowers and make real floral art.
What to do in Aalsmeer? Activities
1. Cruise the Westeinder Plassen
If the weather is nice, take a boat-tour on the Westeinder plassen. You can rent a boat yourself or go on a tour at the historical garden, where you will not only enjoy the surrounding views but also learn more about the origin of the flower village Aalsmeer. Feel like windsurfing or SUPing? Check out Surf Island, it’s a cool spot on the Westeinder plassen to enjoy any type of watersport.
2. One of the most famous things to do in Aalsmeer is to visit the flower auction
Aalsmeer Netherlands is world famous for the Royal FloraHolland Flower Auction; the largest flower auction and in the world. And it is possible to visit this place! There is a visitors-centre where you can actually watch the auction and learn more about the buying process. Just make sure to wake up early! If you are interested in seeing more of the flower center, you can also sign up for a guided tour. Check the website for updates, due to Covid-19.
Do you want to read more about the Netherlands? Check out all the blogs on the website, including an article with things to do on Texel, the famous Dutch wadden island, a city guide for Haarlem with the best things to do in terms of art, history, cultural highlights, activities, boutique stores, fancy coffeeshops and restaurants and the castles, gardens and lakes around Amsterdam.
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This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)