The Amsterdam Area’s rainbow-coloured garden

The Netherlands’ flower industry is valued at approximately €10 billion annually, with the Amsterdam Area home to some 1,500 companies that provide 15,000 direct jobs. One of the biggest names involved in the production and export of flowers and plants is FloraHolland, which sells 12.4 million items per year. The size of their operation in Aalsmeer is the equivalent to 400 football fields, so it’s no surprise that this massive building and auction space has become a tourist attraction in its own right.

Feeding the world

The national food industry is valued at around €42 billion and responsible for 250,000 jobs. Regionally, that equates to 3,600 companies and around 30,000 jobs. Within a 70 km radius of Amsterdam, innovative companies and knowledge institutes are at the forefront in developing solutions to the major issues in the global food market. In particular, the University of Amsterdam, VU University and Wageningen UR (University and Research Centre) form a key partnership in agrifood innovation. An essential element of this is in the Seed Valley, an initiative in seed improvement and green genetics with an economic value of around €2.5 billion.

Importing and exporting

The Amsterdam Area is also a key international cocoa hub. One-fifth of the total global cocoa harvests are transported, stored and processed in the region (approximately 600,000 tons), meaning that the Port of Amsterdam is the world’s top cocoa port. International dairy producers are increasingly choosing the region and it is home to the headquarters of major international firms such as Yakult, Fonterra and Mead Johnson, while Freshport specialises in food transport and logistics.

Companies active in the region

Major players in the region’s food sector include: Ahold, Gerkens Cacao, Nestlé, ADM Cocoa, Heineken, Quality Bakers, Cargill, Kerry, Bio Science, United Biscuits, Duyvis, Incotec and McCain Foods. A coalition known as Zaanstreek First in Food is a collaboration between 45 companies, bodies and organisations, resulting in continued investment that strengthens the sector.

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