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Notable upscaling in the Netherlands’ greenhouse vegetable production

hortalizas paises bajos

Between 1980 and 2017, the number of greenhouse vegetable growers operating in the Netherlands plummeted by 85%, according to data published by CBS Landbouwtelling 2017. Over the same period, the acreage of the remaining growers increased by 700% time, with the country’s ten largest greenhouse vegetable companies owning nearly 10% of the total area by 2017. 

This upscaling of production in the sector is evident from the revealing statistic showing that in 1980, the average greenhouse vegetable producer had 0.6 ha, whereas by 2017, the figure stood at 4 ha. Moreover, this increase in scale has been occurring ever more quickly.

Improved technology and better varieties have led to greater productivity. In 1980, a square metre yielded 40 kilograms of tomatoes, while the same area can now yield over 50 kilograms. The average production of greenhouse vegetables increased by around 36% between 2000 and 2017, while the production of strawberries and courgettes rocketed by 177% and 138% respectively. Significant growth was also recorded in the greenhouse production of tomatoes (75%) and aubergines (61%).

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Europe’s largest rooftop farm planned for the Netherlands

Europe’s biggest commercial urban farm will soon be located in this building in The Hague, in South Holland. Vegetables will be grown in a 1,200 sqm greenhouse to be placed on the roof of what is known as the De Schelde building, a former Philips factory now partially empty. Its conversion into a multi-storey urban farming centre – to be called Urban Farming De Schilde – will involve a €2.6 million investment, according to the Municipality of The Hague, which aims to become a climate-neutral city by 2040

 

Europe’s biggest commercial urban farm will soon be located in this building in The Hague, in South Holland.

Vegetables will be grown in a 1,200 sqm greenhouse to be placed on the roof of what is known as the De Schelde building, a former Philips factory now partially empty.

Its conversion into a multi-storey urban farming centre – to be called Urban Farming De Schilde – will involve a €2.6 million investment, according to the Municipality of The Hague, which aims to become a climate-neutral city by 2040 and says it is offering an attractive rental price to the urban farming tenants.

 

Indoor fish farm, boutique brewery

Two of the building’s storeys, each measuring 1,500 sqm, have been earmarked for urban farming. An indoor fish farm and boutique brewery are also included in the redevelopment plans.

City farming pioneer UrbanFarmers (UF) AG, a Swiss company, has been awarded the rooftop space of 1,500 sqm and 700 sqm on the 6th floor.

According to UF, the building has great access and visibility from both the city center as well as the neighboring Westland, “the Dutch horticultural cluster and ‘Silicon Valley’ for plant growing and green innovation.”

“The concept is further supported by a  digital billboard wrapped around the rooftop farm communicating live status updates around UF and also other information pertinent to what’s going on inside the greenhouse,” it said.

 

Koppert Biological Systems also involved

UF said it is focused on building cost effective, sustainable and reliable urban agriculture systems. De Schilde is its fourth after similar projects in Basel, Zurich and Berlin.

Koppert Biological Systems is to share its expertise with UF for the new project. “The cooperation with Urban Farmers will not only focus on natural enemies, beneficial microorganisms and biostimulants, as we, in our role as a horticultural supplier, will also work on the production of insects as fish feed,” said Maren Schoormans, Koppert’s sales manager for the Netherlands.

“We will be able to show society and consumers the opportunities our integrated system offers to everyone who wishes to improve the health, resilience and productivity of crops,” he said.