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gemeente (municipality), western Netherlands, 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Amsterdam, on the Ring Canal and Westeinder Lake, a remnant of Haarlem Lake. The older part of the town is on peaty soil at about sea level, surrounded by polders with loamy soil 9-15 feet (3-5 m) below sea level. Once known for its eels, whence its name (aal, "eel"; meer, "lake"), it is the flower-growing centre of The Netherlands, with numerous nurseries, the largest flower auction in the world, and a state experimental station for floriculture. Blooms include carnations, roses, lilacs, freesias, chrysanthemums, and potted plants such as cyclamens and begonias. Many flowers are exported by air, and there is a thriving trade in seeds and nursery plants. There are also television studios in Aalsmeer, and tourism is significant. Pop. (2007 est.) 25,019.