Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dutch Flower Auction and Anne Frank House - June 17

I had a very early morning to my 33rd birthday, as we went to the FloraHolland flower market, which is the largest flower market in the entire world.  Over 20 million flowers are traded on a daily basis.  The facility was massive, having the size of over one million square meters, and is the fifth largest building by square footage in the world.

The tour that we took had an elevated walk way so we were able to see the automation in work.  Each mobile cart was filled with flowers, some were boxed up and other carts were with wrapped flowers with open tops.  The mobile carts were similar to railroad cars in that each cart had a place in the front and back for another cart to connect to it.  These carts were lined up by long rows and then were able to use a machine that could transport the rows to its destination through the various stages of entrance, quality control, sell of the flowers, and transport to the buyer.

As we continued on the walkway, we were able to observe three massive rooms where the auctions were taking place.  Each room can house up to 350 bidders but in what we saw, each room was about a quarter full.  The set up reminded me of that as a NASA control room or in the grandstand of a horse race center.  There was elevated seating with computers and monitors available for the bidders to use.  Two large screens utilized by a projector hung at the end to monitor the bidding and the product (flower/plant) currently on bid.  

After the auction, I was able to get some rest before going to the Anne Frank House with another class.  I remember reading her diary in middle school and always tried to visualize what the attic may have looked like so it was surreal to actually visit the place.

The line is always long to go inside and no photos are allowed.  Since the house was actually on the top floors of an office building, the tour took a bit longer than I expected.  It starts out on the first floor and gradually goes up to the attic.  Along the way is the story of the Frank family and includes quotes from Anne's diary.  It also discussed World War II and how the Jewish population suffered.  There were various short movies and World War II-era artifacts.  It was incredibly sad and my mindset was identical to that when I visited the Nazi concentration camp when in Brussels.