Amsterdam Green Campus
Amsterdam Green Campus was recently launched to better translate scientific knowledge into the innovations needed by the green and plant-based businesses in the Amsterdam region. Its founder, Michel Haring, describes it as a platform for bringing together everyone involved in the green industries, with a focus on sustainable horticulture, the breeding of plants and vegetables, green cities, product innovation and sustainable raw materials.
One of its other main aims is to help educational institutions provide the right training and develop the skills the industry needs, from entry-level greenhouse staff to site managers, technicians, researchers and industry leaders. Everybody wins: companies get access to the Amsterdam Science Park and equipment they might not have themselves, and they also get talented students to work on their research, while the students benefit from practical experience and the universities get greater insight into what employers need. Together, these elements will help secure Amsterdam’s position as a leading exponent of green sciences for generations to come.
Amsterdam's leading seed development
Just north of Amsterdam, the firm Enza Zaden is changing the way we eat. The company has grown from a small family business founded in 1938 into a global force in the seed industry, with a staff of about 1,500 around the world. The Dutch are the world’s largest exporters of seeds, also producing about 40% of the world’s new varieties of horticulture seed every year. The country is responsible for a quarter of the global trade in horticultural products – half when it comes to floriculture, or growing flowers.
Enza Zaden owner Jaap Mazereeuw says it can take 7 to 12 years to develop a new variety of seed, so keeping far ahead of the global competition is critical. The cooperation between commercial suppliers, research institutes and government bodies here makes that possible. Commercial research is also a key component, and Enza Zaden spends around 30% of its turnover on research and development. It is also one of the founders of the Seed Valley Foundation, whose goal it is to strengthen the economic position of this cluster.
First published in AMS business magazine. Author: Douglas Heingartner