Flowers of Amsterdam
Think of Holland and you think of one flower. The tulip. In 1637 at the height of tulip mania, tulips were being sold for more than the price of a luxurious Amsterdam house. The Flower Route begins at the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) in Amsterdam and ends in Aalsmeer, near the largest flower auction in the world. If you like flowers, this is the route for you.
Level 1: Bloemenmarkt – Nieuwe Meersluis (5,8 km)
1a. Bloemenmarkt Founded in 1862, it is the world’s only floating flower market. The stalls are housed on barges dating back from when flowers were brought from the countryside by boat.
1b. Spiegelgracht When the Rijksmuseum opened in 1885, the arts and antique dealers moved in to profit from the many museum-goers. Many of the artefacts you see in the museum (ceramics, glass and textiles) were bought here.
1c. Rijksmuseum Here you will see numerous paintings of flowers by the Dutch masters. Of particular note, Rachel Ruysch, one of the first female artists to achieve international acclaim.
1d. Vondelpark The Vondelpark is the perfect place to wander for greenery and flowers. In 2017 school children planted 30,000 tulip bulbs at the Vondelpark monument.
Level 2: Nieuwe Meersluis – Schinkelbos (7,1 km)
2a. Nieuwe Meer The Nieuwe Meer is a narrow lake southwest of Amsterdam. It’s a popular place for boating and recreational fishing. Perch, pike, whitefish and eel are the most common species. There are many pretty marinas and bars along the water to tempt you to stop pedaling.
2b. Amsterdamse Bos There are 200,000 trees, 116 bridges and 200 km of paths to walk, cycle or ride a horse. Of course, you don’t need to cycle the full 200 km. There is an open-air theatre, a goat farm, camping and canoe hire.
Level 3: Schinkelbos – Aalsmeer (7 km)
3a. Schiphol Amsterdam Airport 50% of the world’s cut flowers pass through Schiphol Airport. In the distant past large barges brought the flowers from the countryside to Amsterdam.
3b. Oosteinderpoel The Oosteinderpoel is a protected natural area. Little islands and islets heavily overgrown with birch and alder. There are a few open marshy areas which are purple in the summer, because of the cuckoo flower (so named because it appears at the time of the first cuckoos).
3c. De Vries Schipsbouw and Feadship Ever wondered where the world’s most luxurious yachts are built for the billionaire sheikhs and oligarchs? You can stop wondering.
3d. Aviation Megastore If flying is your thing, welcome to Europe’s aviation megastore. A mind-blowing 60,000 aviation items in stock.
Level 4 (DETOUR)
Westeinderplassen 16 km It’s time to choose. Follow the route through Aalsmeer (see level 5), or cycle around the Westeinderplassen (a very healthy extra 16 km cycling).
4a. Fort Rijsenhout / Museum Crash The fort is part of the ‘Stelling van Amsterdam’. A series of forts built in the 19th century. Museum Crash focuses on the stories behind the crashes of 750 planes during the second war.
4b. Westeinderplassen A complex of lakes with 400 islands and 50 marinas lining the banks, many with restaurants and cafes. You can rent a boat in the centre of Aalsmeer.
4c. Surfeiland The Surfeiland is the ideal place to get off your saddle for a while and enjoy the water. The Westeinder Paviljoen next to it is a restaurant with one of the most beautiful views of the lake.
Level 5: Aalsmeer – Schinkelbos via flower auction (12,5 km)
5a. Oude Veiling The oude veiling (old auction) was the original place where all the flowers were bought and sold.
5b. Historische Tuin Along the 450-metre-long garden path, the visitor will find an extensive collection of plants and fl owers. There is a large number of greeneries showing how Aalsmeer growers worked in earlier times.
5c. Royal FloraHolland Aalsmeer has the largest flower auction in the world (12 million flowers sold daily). That really is flower power!
5d. Windmolen de Zwarte Ruiter Built in 1778, it was actively used up until 1919, to control the water level in the polder. Before the Second World War it was the meeting place for artists from the Amsterdam School.
5e. Schinkelbos This is exactly how forests were 400 years ago, during the Dutch Golden Age.
Level 6: Schinkelbos – Amsterdam (16 km)
6a. Amsterdamse Bos / De Poel De Poel is a peat lake created by excavations in the 19th century and used for water sports. On the East side of the pool is the old village of Amstelveen with Museum Jan van der Togt and many places to stop for a drink.
6b. CoBrA Museum (worth a detour) CoBrA was an international movement of young pioneering artists from just after the Second World War, with new ideas about modern art. This spirit is captured in the art still displayed today.
6c. De Braak / Jac. P. Thijssepark Botanical gardens in Amstelveen, where you can admire a wealth of rare plants usually only seen in books.
6d. Olympisch Stadion Used for the 1928 Olympics and major sporting events. Have a rest at the Vondelpark and cycle back to the Bloemenmarkt to return your bike.