Although Aalsmeer in North Holland is most famous for its large flower auction, the flower auction is not the only horticultural attraction that the town has to offer. For those visitors who are more interested in the history of flower cultivation and the trade of plants in the Netherlands, the Aalsmeer Historical Gardens is well worth a visit.
A trip to the Aalsmeer Historical Gardens will take you back to the early 17th Century, when the people of Aalsmeer were more focussed on growing fruit than flowers. This garden offers you chance to wander through real plant and flower displays which represent the horticultural history of Aalsmeer, spanning over 400 years. It is possible to see fruit trees and a kitchen garden, as well as ornamental shrubs, outdoor flower displays, rose gardens and bedding plants. Wear comfortable shoes, as the garden is over 13000 sq metres in total!
The Auction House
In historic 1930s auction house on-site, you will have the chance to purchase yourself a bunch of roses which have been freshly picked from the gardens themselves. Using the “Dutch Auction” style, which is still used in the famous flower auction, the trick is to bid before anyone else does, however, the auctioneers starts by offering a high price, and gradually works his way down! There is fun to be had in this historical auction house, even if you don’t win any of the lots.
As well as being able to stroll through the huge historical gardens it is also possible to view displays of gardening tools, barrows and baskets in the on-site museum. It is even possible to see examples of the flower boats which were originally used to transport fresh flowers to market along the country’s canals.
The Aalsmeer Historic Gardens are cared for by a team of volunteers who are all knowledgeable in the art of horticulture. The floral displays themselves have been designed with the changing seasons in mind, so that will always be something interesting to see. However, the gardens usually only re-open in April each year, so plan your visit accordingly.
Ticket prices for the 2014 season are €4 for adults, €3.50 for over 65s and free for children under the age of 12. If you are planning on spending a day sightseeing in Aalsmeer, various combination tickets are also available, including one which allows you to take in the world famous FloraHolland flower auction and to take a boat tour around the waterways of the town. This three attraction combi-ticket costs €13.50 for adults and €8.25 for children.
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