Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tuesday June 19th: Flora Holland, Guest Speaker Zoe, and an evening out with friends!

It's was an early morning in Amsterdam but one that proved to be well worth it. We went to Flora Holland and toured their enormous facility. We only saw 10% of the total space and it was roughly the size of 10 Walmart Superstores. Flora Holland is truly incredible. The logistics system is so flawlessly managed it seems as if the place is a living breathing organism. I've never seen so many flowers at one time. As a business student you study businesses that are successful at implementing supply chain management systems but to see how Flora Holland manages so many vendors, products, and customer orders was amazing. Each employee operates a small forklift which can pull behind it several carts of flowers which represent different orders. They pick up several shipments and pull them over to a computer where they can scan the cart and find out where it goes. As they take the carts to the designated area other employees break the orders down into groups for shipment and push them out of one warehouse and into another where they are packaged and shipped. As we walked on the catwalk above them they looked like ants working diligently to move food out and building materials in to the nest. I don't want to rant about how cool it is but if you're ever in Amsterdam you should definitely check out Flora Holland.

We arrived back at the hostel with just enough time to get cleaned up and have a small snack before our guest speaker Zoe took center stage to show us about independent film making. Zoe's presentation was very cool and laid back, a welcome change from our more formal speakers. She is a very young woman who is trying to make a difference through film and taking on some very big projects along the way. She was very inspiring and I think she motivated several students in our group to pursue their dreams no matter what because she was a living example of making things work in order to achieve those goals.
I went out with several new friends from the group tonight to enjoy some beer and the mid-week social scene. Amsterdam seems to be a very social city and no matter what night you go out there is always something going on. We walked through the Red Light District which is an experience all itself. It's amazing to see how casually the Dutch treat sex. It doesn't seem to phase anyone and regular bar life goes continues on the same streets as live sex shows. We walked past a lot of coffee shops on the way to the Red Light District and there is a strong aroma flooding out of them as you go by. It too is such a casual thing for the Dutch and I really enjoy the acceptance and tolerance they have towards other peoples beliefs and actions. This is only one reason why Amsterdam is such a cool city and I really wish we had more time in this city.