Human Flower Project

Dutch Auctions Merge Their Might

FloraHolland and Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer join foces, not to be outdone by new global flower centers.

imageShuttling flowers at FloraHolland’s auction

Photo: Kleurige Kunst

As the global flower industry bubbles with change, the world’s two biggest and most distinguished rival auctions, both in the Netherlands, are going into business together—the better to stay on top.

FloraHolland and Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer announced the merger Thursday, saying that “international developments” threatened their supremacy.

And how. India, a huge producer AND consumer of flowers, has opened a Flower Centre near Mumbai, though operations there seem to be still in a developmental phase. Closer than the Netherlands to both the Indian and the African flower farms, Dubai is an up and comer. Designed initially as an efficient transportation hub, in the longer term, Dubai plans “a warehouse Freezone for value-added functions, including the creation of bouquets. The ultimate intention is to develop a flower auction, like in Amsterdam,” said a spokesperson.

And perhaps the biggest incentive for the Dutch firms to rally comes from China. This fine paper gives an excellent overview of the world flower market, its history and some of the possibilities emerging in Asia. Heidi C. Wernett notes that Holland’s flower centers have managed to build and maintain their centrality not just through the volume of flower sales but through their leadership in research, production, marketing, standardization, education, and flower handling, having been THE innovators in all these fields—until now, anyway.

imageFloraHolland’s facility at Rijnsburg

Photo: SRC

“The European flower industry exports more than just flowers,” writes Wernett. The Netherlands also sells industrial equipment to growers and packagers, as well as exporting its marketing practices and agricultural know-how.  “Even floral design concepts have been defined by the European flower industry.”

Last year, the combined sales of FloraHolland and Aalsmeer amounted to $4.68 billion USD.  That’s more than the Gross National Income of Laos or Niger. It’s twice the GNI of Kyrgyzstan and more the FIVE TIMES the Gross National Income of Burundi.

The merged companies, to be called FloraHolland, will officially begin business together January 1, 2008. Worldwide, there’s bound to be lots of facility-building, flower growing, buying and competing between now and then.

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