Aalsmeer, the world’s largest flower auction

Step 1 of 4

Since large European supermarket chains started selling cut flowers, a lot has changed. For these customers, labels such as Fairtrade play an important role. Nevertheless, the most important thing is still the name and reputation of the producer or exporter. More important than the origin and the production conditions are the flowers’ quality and their external appearance. Therefore, as a sales agent it is vital to have diverse contacts and trusting relationships with buyers. Since the prices depend on various factors and vary widely, I always have to have a good overview of the market and a feeling for current developments. In addition, I am pressed for time - cut flowers are fresh goods.


My name is Erik, I am a Dutch sales agent working in and around the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer. My father worked in the flower industry, so I have a lot of good contacts and friends in this sector. After finishing school, I knew that I would like to work in this business. I enjoy the work, even if pressure is very high: I am responsible for all sales and therefore also for the turnover of several Kenyan rose farms. That is why I always try to open up new marekting channels and adapt to new trends.

Country of origin Turnover in Mio. EUR
Kenya 330
Ethiopia 180
Israel 59
Belgium 59
Germany 32
Zimbabwe 20
Denmark 18
Spain 18
Italy 13
Ecuador 11
others 35

Flowers worth more than 1.5 billion euros were exported from the Netherlands to Germany in 2015 via FloraHolland alone, the operator of the largest European flower auctions.

A large part of the roses, however, is not from the Netherlands: out of a total turnover of 735 million euros, imported roses account for 451 million euros.

Export destinations Value of exports Share of total exports
Germany 1.557 27,9 %
United Kingdom 925 16,6 %
France 753 13,5 %
Italy 304 5,5 %
Belgium 232 4,2 %
other countries 1.806 32,3 %

In the past, almost all cut flowers were sold at the large flower auctions. These flowers reached the customers through retail florists. Today, we sell more than half of our goods directly to wholesalers, who often supply large European supermarket chains.

Roses from Africa? That can’t be good for the environment, can it?

In Chapter 2, you will learn more about the impacts of rose production at Lake Naivasha, on the shores of which is the largest production site in the world.

 Continue your journey…

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