April 16, 2024

AMATO (Amsterdam Market exposition) in the Centrale Markthal

The largest exhibition of vegetables, fruit, and flowers ever held in Western Europe.

In september 1952 was the Central Market Hall in Amsterdam the venue for the AMATO, the largest exhibition of vegetables, fruit, and flowers ever held in Western Europe.

Business card for the fruit and vegetable trade
The nearly 25-hectare exhibition site was transformed into a paradise full of fruits and crops from Dutch soil for a week. About 500 horticulturists and entrepreneurs presented their products here. Hundreds of thousands of kilos of apples and pears were displayed in fruit mountains along the walkways. Caves were set up with kale, and various special color compositions were created with fresh vegetables. Outside, the latest machines were set up and demonstrated to visitors. A fair, a colorful parade of 50 decorated wagons, and an illuminated boat parade of horticultural boats through Amsterdam were also part of the program.

It was not the first AMATO exhibition on the grounds of the Central Market Hall. In 1934, it took place in the newly built Central Market Hall, which was opened and put into use at the same time as the AMATO. It served as a replacement for the fruit and vegetable market on Marnixstraat. Horticultural products worth over 50 million guilders were traded here annually. The exhibition in 1952 was again at this location, now on the occasion of the opening of a new hall and was named AMATO II.

Overwhelming crowds
On Tuesday, September 23, Minister of Agriculture S.L. Mansholt opened the exhibition, and the chosen Amato Queen was introduced to the public from representatives of horticulturists and wholesale and retail trade. Even the National ‘Fruitqueen’ from England had specially come for this occasion. However, this queen show was not necessary to emphasize the attractiveness of AMATO. The turnout was enormous. After two days, the exhibition had already attracted 100,000 interested parties from all parts of the country. On Wednesday evening, the turnout was so overwhelming that the sale of tickets had to be stopped. This had not been anticipated. Police and mounted officers had their hands full trying to guide the enormous crowd back into more or less orderly lines.

Afterwards, the exhibitors were very satisfied. A lot of business had been done, and substantial orders had been placed. An estimated 175,000 visitors had come to the Market Hall site that week. This exceeded expectations. In 1934, the exhibition received 192,000 visitors, but that had lasted ten days.

Text Jasmijn Bus
Source: Delpher