Horticulture and starting materials

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The Dutch horticultural sector is a global trendsetter supplying markets all over the globe, as well as being a leading innovator in greenhouse technology.  The Dutch horticulture sector is the undisputed international market leader in flowers, plants, bulbs and reproductive material and the number three exporter in nutritional horticulture products. It forms the heart of an international network for floriculture, bulbs, and decorative trees as well as fruit and vegetables.

A significant contribution to the country’s prosperity

The challenges faced in establishing sustainable urban population centres are often related to basic human needs such as food and shelter. Supplies of vital resources such as water, food and energy must be secured and this requires smart thinking and creative solutions. The systems that were designed over centuries to deal with this set of circumstances in the Netherlands now offer prime export possibilities to countries dealing with resource shortages. Dutch horticulture is a global trendsetter and is concentrated in six clusters, called Greenports, where businesses and research institutes work closely together on production, R&D, logistics, infrastructure, and exports. Horticulture makes a significant contribution to the country’s prosperity, through the considerable volumes and sheer quality of production, as well as via technological innovations. These include intelligent greenhouses that can float on water, robot fruit pickers, innovative energy-saving lighting, water and waste recycling, and greenhouses that generate more energy than they consume and feed power to the grid.

5 reasons why Holland is the world's leading supplier of flowers, plants and trees

1. Leader in Green genomics

The Netherlands is a leader in green genomics, which aims to achieve better yields, sustainable and safe production, resistance to diseases, or taste/design changes. Plant Research International and the Technological Top Institute Green Genomics lead the field.

2. A wide variety of trees and shrubs

When it comes to trees and shrubs, no other country can match the variety produced in the Netherlands, where the industry enjoys a strong domestic market. The Netherlands is also a leader in the development of propagation material, tissue culture, and the production and trade of seeds and young plants.

3. The Golden triangle, a unique approach to innovation

The Dutch approach to innovation and R&D is rather unique: companies, research institutes and governments work together on innovation projects and programmes in the so-called Golden triangle. Prime examples of innovations include intelligent greenhouses that can float on water, moving platforms, robots, innovative lighting, water- and waste-recycling, and greenhouses that generate more energy than they consume and thus contribute to a reduction in CO2.

4. The renowned Dutch greenhouses: a city of glass

The current generation of greenhouses already generates approximately 10 percent of Holland’s power needs by using combined heat and power (CHP).Dutch inventiveness under glass is well known. Nowhere else in the world are plants cultivated on such a large scale - Dutch greenhouses cover an area of more than 60 km2, constituting a city of glass - and with such a relatively low impact on the environment. The focus is on concepts and technologies that facilitate energy-efficiency and adaptability to climate change.

5. Logistical hubs & development of high-quality production

The country’s important logistical hubs – such as the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – its proximity to Europe’s 500 million consumers, plus the development of high-quality production methods, have enabled the Dutch horticulture cluster to become this strong. The Dutch have created efficient supply chains that are able to deliver flowers in New York that have been cut the very same day in the Netherlands. And, true to the Dutch entrepreneurial character, nurseries have been set up in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, France and Portugal.

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