Tulip mania peaked in Amsterdam during the city’s 17th-century golden age, sowing the scene for today’s fragrant flower markets, or Bloemenmarkt. We recommend visiting two of the city’s flower markets.
Amsterdam is fertile ground for free and almost-free souvenirs. While floral bouquets don’t travel well on an airplane (and may not be allowed!), seed packets and bulbs are both easy to pack, travel well, and will blossom back home. Plus, they’re totally cheap.
See also: Our guide to recommended cheap hotels in Amsterdam.
The Aalsmeer Flower Auction
Daily between Koninsplein and Heiligeweg. Monday through Saturday, 9 AM – 5:30 PM, Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM.
Since the pandemic people have gotten sick of seeing discarded masks strewn around our cities, knowing that they will end up in a landfill or in the ocean. However, one Dutch woman is proving that things don’t have to be this way – masks do not need to end up as non-recyclable litter, we can make biodegradable masks! [Photos: Marie Bee Bloom/Facebook]
Marianne de Gro0t-Pons has found a way to create sustainable masks that actually help the environment, rather than harming it. Marianne lives in Utrecht and she was sick of seeing ‘blue disposable masks, thrown on the streets and sidewalks’. So, she decided to take action and developed a mask that is 100% biodegradable. Moreover, these masks contain flower seeds, so that once they have been used they can be buried and flourish into flowers as the rice paper degrades into the earth.
Flowers are a lifeline for bees, and sadly we have seen a decline in bee populations worldwide in recent years. Bees have an important environmental role, pollinating plants as they pass from one flower to another. In short, we as humans need bees, and this is why Amsterdam has been taking action over the past few years to increase bee populations, creating wildflower areas purposefully in the city. This lead to a 45% increase in honeybee populations in Amsterdam since 2000, making it one of the only places in the world where honeybee populations are not in decline. Fantastic, right?
So, if you’d like to invest in some biodegradable flower seed masks, you can visit the Marie Bee Bloom website and start shopping. These masks give the same protection as homemade fabric masks and they are produced right here in the Netherlands, meaning that they won’t have far to travel before they arrive at your door.