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GROW No. 5 december 2016 Royal FloraHolland’s magazine for members and clients

“Do your own breeding to keep a closer eye on varieties” Niels Tesselaar alstroemeria grower

Chemogarden reduces stress in cancer patients Generating energy with plants





Amaryllis is a beloved




The amaryllis is part of the family Amaryllidace (daffodil family). The official Latin name for the amaryllis we’re familiar with, is hippeastrum. The botanist Herbert gave the plant this name, which means ‘knight’s star’, in 1821. The amaryllis is indigenous to South America. In the 19th century, the plant was introduced to Europe and North America. That’s when the first breeding activities started. In the English language ‘Amaryllis’ sometimes is used as a girl’s name. The literal translation is: fresh and sparkling flower. Beloved Amaryllis also is the name of a shepherdess in the writings of the Greek poet Theocritus. Love is the theme of nearly all his poems. That goes too for the idyll that features this name, though spelled slightly differently: Amarullis. In it, a shepherd stands at the entrance of a cave and sings forlornly: “Oh my beautiful Amarullis, why don’t you show your face no more, you there in the cave? Why do you no longer call me to you? Don’t you love me any more? Is my nose too flat when seen up close, my love, my beard to rough? I may hang myself!” Due to the influence of Latin the name later changed into Amaryllis. In the 17th century, the name Amaryllis in pastoral poetry was more or less synonymous with ‘beloved, sweetheart’.



Ronald Koeleman,

Niels Tesselaar is the largest grower of alstroemerias in Holland. “We need innovations for our future’s sake”

orchid grower, came up with the ‘circular orchid’. When this orchid is done blooming, the grower revives it and hands it back so it can bloom again.

p 16

p 27

Perspectives Plant-e designs products that use living plants to generate electricity.

p 29 GROW about innovations Innovation is essential for entrepreneurs to keep up with an ever-changing market. It can help you to stay competitive, or to stand out with your company or your product. Innovation is necessary to have continuity in floriculture. This edition of our magazine for members and buyers features several articles about innovation. Ranging from an energy-generating plant to a hospital that improves the well-being of cancer patients with the aid of a ‘Chemogarden’. Let yourself be inspired.


Four clients talk about innovation and how that benefits them. Gardian, a Let it Grow start-up: “We can’t wait to rock the floriculture sector.”

p 26 What’s driving Lucas Vos The road to 2020 News Big data Globetrotter Cross-fertilization Trends Service Calendar Publishing details

4 6 10 20 24 30 32 34 35 35

What’s driving Lucas Vos

Lucas Vos ”We must get consumers to embrace our innovations” It’s the last day of the Trade Fair and Lucas Vos looks back at 2016 with a feeling of contentment. And he looks ahead to 2017 as well. “We’ll probably end up having a growth rate of about 4 per cent. It’s a long time since it was that high. At the fair, clients and growers are optimistic. Everyone is making money again. Digital has to become the norm – that’s why we’re switching to a virtual clock auction in 2017. Closing some auction halls is part of that process. I find the members of the advisory boards support these decisions. And I see that our clients are with us on this too.” Lucas thinks the floriculture sector is pretty innovative as it is. “And not just the growers, but the breeders and greenhouse designers as well. What’s still lacking though, is how to get consumers to embrace these innovations. So the consumer sees a plant and thinks: ‘this will benefit me’. Or: ‘this flower expresses what I feel’. This is something the innovation platform Let it Grow is addressing – and it does a good job too. It assists innovators in floriculture with their businesses, so they can fulfil the needs of consumers.” Light-emitting plant The seven start-ups of Let it Grow are abundant proof of this. One of the start-ups is called We Umbrella, and its project is called Living Light, for it is about a plant 4


What’s driving Lucas Vos

that lights up when you touch it. This trick is based on the technology of Plant-e (you can read the article about Plant-e on page 29), which turns plants into energy producers. Lucas is very enthusiastic about the light-emitting plant and even pre-ordered one for himself. He wants Let it Grow to be an even bigger player in the sector. “I would like to see Let it Grow backed by everyone in the horticulture ‘industry’, so we get ambassadors promoting it and the project gains fans. And so it will detach itself from Royal FloraHolland. Innovation should be a joint effort.” Members take the lead Lucas also tells with gusto about the developments within the programme Cooperative 2020. “I see good

Lucas already pre-ordered his own lightemitting plant

things happening. The cooperative is successfully reinventing itself. In Cooperative 2020, many members have their say in how they think the future should look like. It’s great to see our members take the helm in the Guidance Team. Members are really talking to each other, and that is a good thing. In 2017, we need to take some important decisions about our membership, governance and tariffs.” Reliable product information What is a concern to Lucas, however, is the quality of the product information. “We need to up the quality. We need product photos that are 100 per cent correct, so we can classify the products correctly. This goes for plants too. Come January, your product

will be last to go into auction if the product photos are inaccurate. The information our growers provide should be flawless. As things are, it’s costing us too much time and money.” This coming year, we’ll be investing heavily in the ICT of our digital sales platform. “I want FloraMondo to grow into the number one mondial platform for floricultural platform. You can tell by the ‘Mondo’ in the name”, Lucas says with a smile. “This platform should be even more 2.0. It already has grown considerably, and I’m rather proud of that.” ← Would you like to know what the six other start-ups of Let it Grow are? Check them out at www.letitgrow.org.

What’s driving Lucas Vos



The road to 2020

“We’re heading for a world in which digital is the norm” From evolution of the clock auction to a platform revolution. That is, in a nutshell, the road to take, as the team behind the project the New Auctioning has decided. According to programme director Ronald Teerds, it takes three major changes to make this marketplace of the future a reality. Marketplace of the future “The first big change we are working on”, Ronald states, “is a 24/7 online transaction platform. That will optimize the trade possibilities as well as the price development. We’re also installing a national, virtual clock auction in Aalsmeer and Naaldwijk. The stands there will therefore become obsolete in due time. At other locations, some non-virtual clock auctions will, for a price, remain operative. We’re heading for a world in which digital is the norm. Of course, we’ll make sure all preconditions are met; the reliability of information is more important than ever.” 6


The road to 2020

Ever more fine-meshed “The third change is to provide growers and clients with fine-meshed logistics. The traded amounts in the sector tend to get ever smaller, and so the logistics become more expensive and more complex. This goes for both the clock auction and direct trade. Our prediction is this trend will gain even more momentum. Therefore, we want to improve the efficiency of these fine-meshed logistics with the aid of robotics. And we’ll try to adjust the volumes to keep the costs low. These three changes will help us to function as a marketplace in a virtual world. A place where a great many members and clients can go to ensure that flowers and plants will reach all corners of the world. And that is what it’s about at the moment.” Today for tomorrow “Clients and growers keep asking us to improve the support for transactions that are made ‘today for tomorrow’”, Ronald continues. “You buy the flowers and plants today, and they’ll be delivered the following morning before 6 a.m. Growers and clients that can plan their processes really need

this kind of transaction. So now we’re looking into what the best way would be to handle these transactions. Via the clock auction or a 24/7 platform?” The team behind the project the New Auctioning will do further research in the coming month to decide which is the best option. Plans for 2017 “The New Auctioning will really take off now. We deliberately took our time researching and designing. We wouldn’t want to rush into a major change such as this one. Now, however, we have a sound and solid plan. In 2017, all parties involved will see this plan take shape.”

So, are there any concrete changes growers and clients can expect? Ronald has a clear answer: “In the beginning of 2017, the clock auction will have 100 per cent product images. And during the year we’ll choose the system to use for ‘today for tomorrow’. And we’ll try out a whole lot more. In the first months of 2017 we expect to experiment with loosening the restrictions for clock auction presale, and swifter product delivery. Later in the year the big experiment with the national clock in Aalsmeer and Naaldwijk will be set in motion. And come winter, the plant clock should have 100 per cent product images as well. Together, we’ll make some real changes in 2017.” ← The road to 2020



The road to 2020

“It’s the outside world that teaches you alternative ways to innovate” In May 2016, Steven van Schilfgaarde started out as chief financial officer (CFO) at Royal FloraHolland. What does he think of the floriculture sector after these months? “In my experience, it’s a very pleasant work environment. People are motivated and truly care. But I also notice the floriculture sector is introverted, with proud people that keep to themselves. But it’s the outside world that teaches you alternative ways to innovate.”

Steven points to opportunities such as digitalization and quality assurance. “The sector is not skilled in product differentiation that consumers want to pay extra for. We see plenty of chances, but find it hard to take them. Some things have remained unchanged for decades now. The members of Royal FloraHolland themselves should take more initiative and seek cooperation with each other. It’s all very push-driven at the moment. And no one is happy about the effectiveness of the push. It’s almost like we’re afraid to experiment.” Together we’re strong Steven cites Paul Smits, CFO of Rotterdam Harbour, who recently held a talk about cooperation within his



The road to 2020

“Will our children buy flowers too? We should adapt to these changes.” we’re strong. That’s the hallmark of this cooperative.” Steven does feel Royal FloraHolland could be clearer in why certain activities are undertaken and under what preconditions. “We should be a bit more transparent in these matters.”

company. “If you want to try out stuff, experiment, you need to do that together, but not with just anyone. That’s what he’s trying to set in motion at Rotterdam Harbour. It would be a shame if you didn’t try out anything because you’re afraid to choose who to involve – and who not to involve – in your experiment. We sell ourselves short at the moment. I have the feeling people in floriculture all wait for someone else to make a move. I challenge our clients and growers to leave the well-trodden paths. Royal FloraHolland itself has, for instance, set up the programme World Flower Exchange (WFE), which looks into the possibility to further open up the Asian markets. If you feel we shouldn’t be doing that, set something up yourself. Try some form of cooperation, for example. Together

Lots of data available Steven thinks there’s plenty to be gained for the floriculture sector. Take tracking and tracing of flowers and plants, for instance. “If you buy a bunch of flowers, there’s no expiry date on it. But consumers kind of expect an expiry date. There’s lots of data available. We’re really not good at using this data throughout the chain, and improving our products by doing so.” “How do our clients choose what to buy at the clock auction at the moment? The reputation of the growers. If you are familiar with a grower and know he supplies quality goods, you buy off him. And some clients make daily rounds in the cold storage to take their pick. I think we could have a more modern approach. We could really improve upon how we highlight the traits and quality of our more exceptional floricultural products.” And what does Steven think about the motto that more people should buy more flowers and plants? “We’re in competition with other products that are sold as gifts. If we can improve the quality of the product from the point of view of consumers, like offering tracking and tracing and a prolonged vase life, it becomes easier to differentiate and increase the value of the sales.” Different era Furthermore, it’s clear to Steven that society is changing. “At the moment, it’s mainly the older customer that buys the flowers. But our children, will they buy flowers too? It really is a different era. They live partly in a virtual world. But you want the younger generation to feel the emotion a living flower or plant can offer as well. My children really view the world in a different way than I do. We should do more with that knowledge.” ← The road to 2020




Decorum: “FloraMondo is the one platform that gets us closer to the customer” Royal FloraHolland’s digital platform FloraMondo has a little experiment going: a cooperation with the growers association Decorum and its members, with the aim to maximize sales. Decorum has high hopes. “FloraMondo is the perfect platform to bring us, together with export companies, closer to the customer”, states Jeroen Boon, account manager at Decorum Company.

Decorum Company has been working closely together with Royal FloraHolland since the beginning of 2016. Decorum used to use the platform FloraXchange, but decided to switch to FloraMondo instead. Why and how did this happen? “FloraXchange has its limitations. We couldn’t guarantee to have several time slots for deliveries. Also, now we can make client-specific deliveries, which means that we can meet customer demands for packaging and delivery times. 10



FloraMondo is more advanced, so we were glad to switch. All our members were unanimous in favour of that decision. It’s brilliant we can use one platform for all our sales. The combined service level of all Decorum growers together is a real plus. FloraMondo is leading the way in digitalization.” Setting off at 13.00 hours As an example of client-specific deliveries, Jeroen tells about how some clients want to set off as early as 13.00 hours, because they

have to catch the ferry to Great Britain or the plane to the United States, for instance. FloraMondo offers the possibility to choose different time slots for delivery, so you can move the goods forward in time in the digital system. For clients that go to Russia it’s of less importance, for that takes them three days at least. A few hours more or less won’t matter to them. Sharing information Royal FloraHolland has installed an API (application

“We want to be the Amazon.com of the flower trade” programming interface) for Decorum. Mohamed Zarraa, coordinator digital services at Royal FloraHolland: “We have had interfaces in FloraMondo for some time now, they were mainly built to help with certain trade options. The APIs give external parties the chance to develop their own ideas to benefit growers and clients, using our platform and our data. By offering this option we’re no longer the only one that invests in finding some new

Grower Ronald Olsthoorn Arcadia Chrysanten

Jeroen Boon, account manager Decorum Company

Grower Ronald Olsthoorn, Arcadia Chrysanten, has been a member of Decorum for one and a half years. The link to FloraMondo actually was one of the reasons why Arcadia joined Decorum. “The process of digitalization can’t go fast enough for me. We don’t have an Amazon.com in the flower trade. I’m a firm believer in a digital flower platform, for you can create a much bigger platform with more types of flowers. You could never do that on your own.”





“This cooperation makes it easier for Decorum to give the client what he wants” Mohamed Zarraa, coordinator digital services Royal FloraHolland

functionality, for everyone can put his own functionalities on offer. This should increase the attractiveness of the platform to external parties.” Mohamed thinks this is a great advantage. “By doing this, you can find out what the client wants. For Decorum, we checked out what kind of Decorum products the end users bought. You used to have Excel, but that really is obsolete now. You jump from raw data directly to ready-to-use information.” 12



New insights What is, according to Decorum, the advantage of the API connection in FloraMondo? Jeroen: “This enables us to link all our online stores to FloraMondo. It gives us new insights in what the clients want. That is why we are now changing our packaging as well as the way we put the products on offer. And now we can see, for instance, how much of our total sales go through the online stores.” Play into our strengths What’s so effective about joining forces within FloraMondo? Mohamed: “We all play into our strengths. Because of the cooperation, Decorum has better insights in the needs and wishes of its clients, and can act accordingly. FloraMondo gains something too, for this link with

Decorum helps us to improve the services to our clients and growers. The grower can use the platform to his advantage because he has a better understanding of the client. All three of us wish for FloraMondo to be a success.” Mohamed points out the developed functionality can be used by other growers associations too. So it’s likely the experiment with Decorum is to be continued in 2017. ←


Trade Fair Aalsmeer: inspiration




News: Trade Fair Aalsmeer

Relive the Trade Fair at www.royalfloraholland.com



The Future is Now!





Niels Tesselaar:

“We come up with good cultivation instructions by keeping a close eye on the varieties” 16



Niels Tesselaar is one of the four owners of the largest alstroemeria nursery in the Netherlands (9 ha). The nursery is unique in that it handles both the breeding and the cultivation. “So, if there’s a problem with one of the varieties, we can take immediately that into account in the breeding process. You have better control when you do your own breeding. We keep a close eye on a variety during the whole process of selection and therefore are able, in that period, to come up with good cultivation instructions.” →

Alstroemeria is, in origin, a South American plant. The temperature of the soil (or other substrate) is very important in cultivation. It has a major influence. The soil should have an average temperature of about 16° Celsius. Niels: “You have to be really careful when to cool. We keep soil temperatures between 13° and 17° Celsius. Each variety has its own soil temperature needs. The perennial plants usually are planted in spring. The first harvest takes place after twelve weeks. The first-year harvest generally is of a higher quality than the harvest of older plants. This means we can supply all of the market, ranging from a top-level floral stylist to a market vendor. And in order to sell our total production, we need all points of sale, as alstroemerias sadly almost never are the biggest sellers; unlike roses or tulips.”

• Niels Tesselaar • Motto: An alstroemeria for every florist! • Residence: Heerhugowaard, The Netherlands. Melvin and Niels live a stone’s throw away from the nursery. “We still go to each others birthdays”, Melvin says jokingly. The two men have no problems whatsoever combining work and personal life, which makes the company all the more solid. • www.tesselaar.eu





Potential in alstroemeria “My father set up business in 1997 and tried out several cultivars before he decided on alstroemeria. He felt it had a lot of potential.” And how did he bring his children into it? Niels’ brother Melvin: “Our playpen was stood in the greenhouse while my mother was binding freesias. It always had our interest. And we both went to the same agricultural college.” Niels, Melvin, their sister Linda and their business partner René officially took over the nursery in 2005. “Our father still is stand-by to give any advice. And he assists when we decide on major investments, like when we bought a new greenhouse recently.” 18



Creating space What are Tesselaar’s growing secrets? “Every year, we renew 20 per cent of our total acreage. We do this because new varieties usually offer some improvements. Disappointing plantings are the first to go. Thus we provide continuity to our range of alstroemerias.” More light Recently a new greenhouse was installed. It’s 0,7 hectares big and has panels of diffuse glass. This is a new type of glass that diffuses the light. Because of this, more light reaches the lower leaves of the plants. “Especially for alstroemerias it’s important the young plants get more light.

This leads to stronger stems and therefore a better quality. The colours intensify as well”, Melvin says. The investment in diffuse glass is a long-term investment. “You have to keep investing, for future’s sake. So you keep ahead of the game.”

“Every year, we renew 20 per cent of our total acreage”

What is Tesselaar? Everyone at the Tesselaar nursery has his or her own strengths, Niels states. He runs the Dutch nursery together with his brother Melvin, his sister Linda and their business partner René Leek. Niels handles the sales, Melvin the breeding and propagation. Linda takes care of human resource management and René is in charge of cultivation itself. The company supplies all major consumer markets (Germany, Great Britain, and France). Tesselaar has a nursery in the Dutch town of Heerhugowaard, but in the summer of 2016 opened up an alstroemeria nursery in Kenya as well. Melvin and René regularly go there to keep an eye on things. ← Ambition



Big data

Carnation production in Colombia is growing →

Worldwide, carnations hold the number one spot, both in production and consumption. Thirty years ago, growers in the Netherlands produced more carnations than roses. In 2016 it’s a completely different story though. There are now twelve carnation growers left in Holland, using just 16 hectares of land. Colombia and Kenya gain importance as carnation producers. You can find more background information on www.royalfloraholland.com: there you can read the interview GROW held with market specialist Sheila Mahmood of Royal FloraHolland.

Europe export value → € 167 million The Netherlands are the main carnation traders in Europe.

Colombia export value → € 170 million

United Kingdom

United States

Colombia is the largest carnation producer. It exports 90 per cent of all production.



The Netherlands Germany







Expanding markets

Kenya, Ethiopia and China

Colombian export 2014

Developments Colombia Mexico

USA - 42% Japan - 18% UK - 8% The Netherlands - 8% Russia - 7% Canada - 4% Spain - 4% Poland - 2% Germany - 1% Other - 6%




→ Colombia grows and distributes its own cuttings. → Changes in supply and demand and developments in export affect production.


→ Most countries grow carnations for the home market. Colombia is the only one to focus on export. → The production in most countries is stable or slowly decreasing. There are no changes expected in the coming years for Brazil, Chile and Mexico.


Market size Europe Production + Imports – Exports = Market size → The total production value for Europe is € 187 million. → The biggest consumer markets are Great Britain and Spain.

< 1 million Tussen 1 - 5 million Tussen 5 - 10 million Tussen 10 - 50 million > 50 million

Carnation production South & North America and Europe, in hectares – 2015/2016 South & North America 1,519 ha

Europe 981 ha

Colombia - 1,106 ha

The Netherlands - 16 ha

Mexico - 250 ha

Spain - 340 ha

Ecuador - 80 ha

Turkey - 200 ha

Argentina - 50 ha

Italy - 180 ha

Chile - 12 ha

Portugal - 55 ha

Guatemala - 10 ha

Greece - 50 ha

Brazil - 5 ha

Bulgaria - 40 ha

USA - 5 ha

Hungary - 30 ha

Costa Rica - 1 ha

Poland - 27 ha Other - 43 ha

Global production 80%


Use of carnations 60%

→ Mexico: people use carnations to decorate their churches in honour of All Saints' Day. → Japan: red carnations for Mother’s Day. → China: marriage → Worldwide production (estimated): 80% standard carnation 20% spray carnation

→ Standard carnations are mainly red, white or pink. 60% of all production has one of these colours.

→ Eastern Europe, Spain: bouquets of just carnations → Funeral flowers: green and white BIG Column DATA




Cancer patients benefit from green Chemogarden The Tergooi hospital in the Dutch town of Hilversum opened the ‘Chemogarden’ for cancer patients in the summer of 2015. Here they can convalesce in the open air. It’s a new concept combining vegetation and health care, and unique in Dutch oncology. “The healing powers of green reduce the patients’ stress”, states Bert Jan Grevink, programme director for New Buildings & Location Development of Tergooi. Tergooi aims for sustainability. The Chemogarden that was constructed last year is a fine example of this ambition. It’s a wooden construction with a glass roof that borders the ‘main ecologic structure’, a nationwide grid of connected natural areas. It offers patients a quiet, secluded environment where they can undergo chemotherapy. Oncologist Pieter van der Berg thought of the idea because he wanted to treat his patients outdoors rather than indoors. Architect Bart van der Salm thought up the design with a beach chair in mind. “It should be a sheltered area, so the privacy of the patients is guaranteed. It’s completely surrounded by vegetation. Every 22



spot of the Chemogarden offers a different view. Also, we have a lot of butterflies and bees in the Chemogarden because there are several kinds of plants and flowers that lure them.” Beneficial influence Chemogarden In the Chemogarden patients can undergo chemotherapy. But they can also go there just to relax. With hospital bed and all, if necessary. How come plants have such healing powers? Bert Jan: “Tergooi has been working on its green ambitions since 2010. The Chemogarden is part of the healing environment we want to create for patients and visitors. We want to make it as pleasant as possible for the patients. The Chemogarden seems to have

a beneficial influence on the patients, so they get less stressed. And perhaps it turns out patients will need less chemotherapy, or a shorter treatment. The first results of the study into the effects of the Chemogarden on the side effects of chemotherapy are promising.” Healthcare and the environment The Chemogarden has put Tergooi on the map. Other hospitals have shown interest and the Chemogarden has been nominated for an award for architecture in the healthcare industry. “It’s a great honour. Apparently we did something special by connecting healthcare to the environment.” In 2020, Tergooi hopes to complete some new construction work. The hospital division in Hilversum is being renovated. And green power will play a part again. “Indoors and outdoors must be connected. It’s still a hospital of course, but it helps to have a pleasant, natural and hospitable environment.” ←

“Let it Grow focuses on entrepreneurs that develop innovative concepts using flowers and plants. With these concepts, they can gain access to consumers that hardly ever buy flowers and plants. Let it Grow functions as a platform, think of it as an open ecosystem that welcomes all parties regardless.” Silke Tijkotte Innovation platform Let it Grow

“We’re very happy and pleased to be selected for the ‘incubation programme’ of Let it Grow. We look forward to exchanging ideas with the mentors, other teams and potential clients. And most of all, we can’t wait to rock the floriculture sector to its core.” Start-up Gardian Let it Grow (this is one of a total of seven start-ups)

“Innovation helps us grow and advance. You have to stay alert. In the world of today, you get punished immediately if you slip up. Look at Nokia and Blackberry. They used to be front-runners, but were overtaken by competitors that invested more in development.”

Rob Creemers trendspotter (see the interview at pages 32-33)

“Innovation offers a chance to grow, and supports horticultural entrepreneurs. Think in terms of designing for consumers too, you can take innovation to the next level there, as to really excite consumers. Innovation and creativity are core values of our company.” Hans Bunnik Bunnik Plants (nominated for the Award for Horticultural Entrepreneurs) INSIGHTS



Globetrotter Eye-catching puppy full of flowers in Spain Those that have visited Bilbao in Spain in recent years already know about him: the ‘West Highland White Terrier’, twelve meters high and full of flowers. 70,000 to be precise. It’s called Puppy and was made by the American artist Jeff Koons. Puppy is probably the most well-travelled dog in the world. The dog was constructed in the USA in 1992 and was exhibited that same year at Documenta in Kassel, Germany. In 1995 Puppy went to Sydney and in 1997 he settled down in Bilbao, but still made a short trip to New York in 2001. The flowers have their roots in 25,000 kilos of earth. The whole construction rests on a steel frame, that doubles as an irrigation system so the flowers can get watered. Gardeners regularly plant new flowers on the dog, so it changes colour regularly too.

Flowers bring good fortune in Thailand Every day of the week, you can buy fresh flowers and plants at the Flower Market in the old town of Bangkok, Thailand. Customers are, among others, Thai that use the flowers as sacrifices. Flowers and plants are put before statues of the Buddha in temples. Or people make little flower chains and hang those in their cars, because they are supposed to bring good fortune. The Flower Market is one of the biggest tourist attractions there. Orchids in particular are ubiquitous in Thailand. Growers, mainly situated in the north of the country, cultivate over a thousand different species. The purple orchid and the ‘dok ratchaphruek’ are the national flowers. The ratchaphruek tree has beautiful yellow flowers. The Thai see yellow as the colour of buddhism and the colour of delight.




This returning section features objects from all over the world, provided they have a direct link to international horticulture and Royal FloraHolland.

Flower sales in Poland are up Flower sales in Poland are up. The export of flowers and plants to Poland has grown significantly in the past few years, says Martijn Homan of the Agriculture Council for Poland, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. “In 2014, the Dutch export of flowers and plants to Poland grew 14 per cent in value, to a total of 152 million euros. 2015 showed another 14 per cent growth, which led to a value of 173 million euros. The figures until August this year indicate another growth, by 8 per cent.” Bettina Denker-Gosch, market specialist Poland of Royal FloraHolland, adds to that: “The consumer market for flowers in Poland is increasing, so export is increasing too.” The demand for quality has grown as well. The Polish economy is the only one in the EU that has succeeded, since the economic crisis struck, to keep on growing every year, with an average of 2 per cent. The cities thrive and flower sales benefit. Homan acknowledges that the level of quality is high. He notices too that the specialised florists and professional courses in Poland maintain a very high standard. “That is reflected in international championships, where Polish florists usually do very well. Of course, this is just a small group. There’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the average florist and average consumer.” Homan grew up surrounded by flowers, and as a child of two florists he has seen the inside of the auction hall many a time. “The rose is the favourite flower of the Polish, but gerberas are in demand as well.”

Floral beauty in scorched Dubai

Dubai has a desert climate. Not the most likely place to construct a large colourful garden for the tourists. But anything goes in Dubai, it seems yet again. Now you can go to this city and visit the Miracle Garden. This miraculous garden is 18 hectares big and has the most beautiful floral art on display. The designers have used about 45 different types of flowers, in all kinds of colours, that smell and look gorgeous together.

Visitors that take a stroll in this huge garden get to see many very different themes, a lot of those hinting at Holland, the flower country par excellence. The garden is opened from October until April, for it’s simply too hot in the summer. Should you ever find yourself in Dubai, it’s well worth the trouble to check this garden out. Find more information on www.miraclegardendubai.net.





“Flowers are loosing their symbolic meaning” Thomas Kastelein Gentlemen’s app

Gentlemen’s app reminds the man of today to give flowers The Gentlemen’s app was dreamed up by a group of young people during a so-called hackathon, instigated by the Chamber of Commerce. At such an event, people (mainly young and for 90 per cent male) from different backgrounds gather to find a solution to a problem. “How do we get consumers to buy more flowers and plants?” was one of the issues that could be tackled during the hackathon. Thomas Kastelein (23) and a group of college students came up with the Gentlemen’s app. The idea is to help modern men stay happy in their relationship, by reminding them of important data that warrant the gift of flowers to their loved ones. “We thought of this because we realised 26



In this section you’ll find thoughts about innovation from four different points of view

it had been some time since we ourselves gave flowers to our girlfriends. We see how flowers are loosing their symbolic meaning. And that’s something we wanted to deal with in the app. How can we remind the men of today of special moments that are great opportunities to give flowers or plants, to make those moments even more special. Most men are too busy and simply forget. With the app, there’s no way around it.” Questions about loved ones The app is handy because it shows the user the important data (opportunities for floral gifts) directly on his screen. And, a single click is enough to get a bouquet delivered to a loved one. The app makes sure the user has filled in all necessary information. The birthday of his wife, girlfriend or mother-in-law, for instance. “The user can choose how often he wants to buy his girlfriend flowers and be reminded of that by the app.” How do you view innovation? “I think the best ideas sprout forth from ‘co-creation’, when developers or creators get together with professionals, the people that have the real skills. Together you have experience and at the same time know of any problems that might arise. I feel a hackathon is a great way to think of new solutions to a problem that may have been unresolved for quite some time.” Who is Thomas Kastelein? Thomas Kastelein is a student Business IT & Management at a college in the north of the Netherlands (Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden). He also has his own company, Presio, together with two partners. Their vision: “Helping entrepreneurs with dreams that can make the world a better place by assisting them with their online marketing.” ←

‘Circular’ orchid lives to bloom another day The orchid is still a popular plant. Research has shown consumers value both sustainability and the orchid as an ornament in the living room. Orchid grower Ronald Koeleman thought of the circular orchid. After this orchid has bloomed, the grower revives it and the customer gets it back to enjoy the plant’s second life. Ronald had his brainwave while travelling in China. He just had had another child. “I couldn’t help but notice the terrible pollution caused by horticultural companies. People use masses of coal here for heating. And we import a lot of our planting material from China. I suddenly started to wonder what kind of world we live in, and how will I leave it behind for my children? And what kind of business do I want to run?” He decided to turn his company around, into a business that’s more about sustainability. “I had been trying, for some time, to shake off the feeling that the customer (retail – editor’s note) is calling the shots. It can’t be right just to produce and produce without knowing if there’s a need for it.” Less energy How did Ronald go about it? “I got inspired by a radio show about circular economy. Someone from ‘The Green Brain’ was talking about sustainability. Suddenly it all clicked. The circular orchid. An orchid that uses up less energy. And the trend in society for reusing things is applied in a way that should speak to millennials.” Ronald was invited by Erasmus University to give a lecture about his ideas. This lead to a cooperation between Ronald and some students, who decided to dedicate their thesis research to the circular orchid. Together, it took them a year to finish the business plan.

up to three times through this cycle. After the third time, the plant is beyond salvation. It is composted and turned into biologic fuel. Koeleman uses this fuel to heat his greenhouses. And the consumer gets a discount on the next plant he buys, which makes it extra appealing. “A kind of deposit”, Ronald says. Sustainability Is the consumer market ready for the circular orchid? “We’re in contact with some European retail chains that embrace sustainability and seem to be eager. Also, it’s been picked up by young consumers (millennials) that really connect to it.” They are a new target group for Koeleman. “The younger generation feels strongly about sustainability. Storytelling is of huge importance, we should do much more of that.” Ronald points out the circular orchid does have a totally different business model and, first and foremost, will take a long-term approach. “You can’t think in terms of increasing the turnover. We don’t wish to be the biggest or the cheapest. I want to be the most creative. The idea of the circular orchid will put a smile on the customer’s face.” The circular orchid certainly is an innovative concept. “We’re always on the lookout for new markets and new concepts.” ←

“The idea of the circular orchid will put a smile on the customer’s face” Ronald Koeleman Orchid grower

Cycle What’s the idea behind the circular orchid? Consumers that notice their orchid is overblown, done blooming, take it to a collection point. Koeleman collects the orchids and takes them back to the greenhouse. There the orchid is pruned and nurtured until it grows back into a fully fledged plant. The orchids can go INSIGHTS



“It’s important to show the customer warmth and passion” Rik Vera trendspotter and inspirer

There are millions and millions of households using Amazon.com.” Rik points out that companies still need knowledge and skill. “It’s about buyers and salespersons adjusting their mindset. Technology is changing human behaviour. There’s really been a major shift in how we buy stuff. Platforms like Airbnb are on the rise, and people like to share things in the sharing economy. The consumer has taken the wheel. He is connected to everyone, all of the time. Respond to that by offering a strategy for the new world.”

“Digitalization is an opportunity, not a threat” Rik Vera is a trendspotter and inspirer. He held a speech at the Trade Fair about digitalization in connection to buyers and salespersons. “Shop assistants have more elbow room these days to show emotion and passion. Your motivation could be just to put a smile on the customer’s face. Digitalization is an opportunity, not a threat.” New world Rik talked about the changing role Royal FloraHolland is playing. More and more clients and growers ‘go digital’, by using FloraMondo, for instance. “We are changing from a transaction-based into a platformbased organisation. This affects what kind of service you offer.” This change echoes the transformation the consumers themselves are going through. “We genuinely live in a new world. Five years ago, we hardly used our smartphones. Now we’re apping like crazy. WhatsApp is keeping whole families together. And e-commerce is gaining influence rapidly. 28



Passion and creativity What does the inspirer think are the opportunities that digitalization brings? “Generating data is of huge importance, combined with the social element. Show the customer passion and creativity. He wants to be acknowledged. See me, make me feel important. Recognise me. I am a person. Therefore you need to be consistent in your approach to the customer.” What role should buyers and salespersons play in digitalization, according to Rik? “It’s important to show the customer warmth and passion. There’ll always be flowers. Because it’s such an emotional product, it is vital to transfer emotion.” Rik stresses you can only show your creativity when you have mastered the basic skills. Use e-commerce to give beautiful products more exposure. Who is Rik Vera? Rik Vera, a Belgian from Flanders, started out as a teacher. Later on, he opted for a career in commerce and worked in sales and marketing, all over the world. In 2009, he decided to follow his heart. “Using my knowledge to inspire people.” He turned into an inspirer and trendspotter. With his own company, Nexxworks, he provides coaching to several businesses on the subject of innovation and digitalization. He gave a course to the commerce division of Royal FloraHolland when the new customer relationship management was introduced. Would you like to see the session at the Trade Fair featuring Rik Vera? Check out www.royalfloraholland.com/floramondo

Plant-e, the energyproducing plant Plant-e is a new Dutch company that focuses on getting plants to produce energy. Innovation is in the DNA of this company. The idea for Plant-e took root at the department of Environmental Technology of Wageningen University. Marjolein Helder did her doctoral research on energy from plants and founded the company in 2009, when her research was still in progress. “We have a high level of innovation because we’re the only ones in the world working with these plants.” How does that work, a plant that produces energy? “We take advantage of the plant’s natural process. Plant-e develops products that generate electricity with the aid of living plants. By photosynthesizing, a plant produces organic matter. Part of this organic material is used for growth, but a large part isn’t. That unused part is secreted, and goes via the root system into the ground. In the ground surrounding the root system are bacteria that decompose the organic matter. Electrons are a by-product of this process of decomposition.” Plant-e uses these electrons as electricity. The plant can grow on undisturbed while producing energy. Growers and Plant-e Does Plant-e use the services of our growers? “We work together with a professional gardener. He listens to our needs and demands and buys the plants from the growers he usually does business with. The technology is not suited for use in greenhouses yet. That may happen in future though. The roots of the plants need a wet soil and need to be very sturdy. We use indoor or outdoor plants, depending on the application. When it comes to garden plants we prefer local, indigenous cultivars. As for houseplants, we sometimes have to use foreign cultivars that have been cultivated in the Netherlands.”

“We take advantage of the plant’s natural process” Marjolein Helder CEO Plant-e

near Ede, on a school playground in Zeist, in the courtyard of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, and in the roof garden of the council offices of Venlo. Plant-e plans to conquer the consumer market as well, but not yet, because the technology renders the product too pricy. “We hope to sell to consumers too in the next two years. If we have more clients, the technology automatically will get more affordable.” The Plant-e technology is patented, so the company from Wageningen can keep ahead of any competitors. Should others want to use the technology as well, they’ll have to pay for a licence. Plant-e has a staff of seven people at the moment. The company has the ambition to grow into an international enterprise. ←

Governments Who are the clients of Plant-e? “The interested parties are mainly local and regional governments, such as city and county councils. And some businesses.” You can find instances of Plant-e along the A12 motorway Perspectives




Holland knows about flowers, Belgium about styling

The cream of the floral sector gathers at Fleuramour, the leading event for floral styling. The combination of Belgian floral artists and the beautiful flowers and plants provided by Dutch growers leads to a powerful synergy. The Belgians excel in arranging flowers, we excel in growing them. “Without our flowers, there wouldn’t be a Fleuramour”, says Jacqueline Boerma of the Boerma Institute, where flower arrangers get their training.

Visitors from all over the world Fleuramour has been going for 21 years and the place of venue has always been the same authentic castle. The event has its origin in the floral magazine Fleur Creatief. This magazine started out to be just for the Dutch-speaking people of Flanders and the Netherlands, but it soon added a French edition for Wallonia and France. Now it is an international publication, appearing in four different languages, which explains why there are so many international visitors. This year, the visitors came from South Korea, Mexico, the USA, China, Japan, the Lebanon and Russia, for instance. The event welcomed a total of 14,830 people in 2016. 30



Arranging takes a lot of time Jacqueline Boerma has 36 years of experience in the floral sector. Her grandfather was a florist and her father a secondary school teacher at a horticultural institute, so she was introduced to the sector at a young age. Her parents founded the Boerma Institute in 1980. The institute yearly has about 500 students, natives of Holland but also of Japan, China, Indonesia and Brazil. Jacqueline teaches, performs floral design demonstrations and sometimes is a judge at flower arranging events. She likes Fleuramour: “It’s a great event. Most of the flowers there are supplied by our growers and our sponsors. We spend two days preparing just to be able to take part. Arranging the flowers takes a lot of time. But it’s really well worth the effort just to be here, because some of the best floral arrangers in the world gather here. The fair expands year by year.” Her son, Mike Boerma, is absolutely thrilled with Fleuramour. “This is one of the coolest floral styling events in Europe. It’s a great opportunity to get inspired and meet people.”

Getting inspired Two Dutch women sit on a low wall by the entrance of the castle on the Fleuramour grounds, enjoying the autumn sun. Why are they here? Karin Wolfert: “The two of us took the professional course Dutch Flower Arrangement together. This is our first visit. It’s wonderful. Every flowerdecorated room is as special as the next. And the colour combinations are truly inspiring. This gives me ideas for flower arrangements I can put in my own home.” Tony Daansen plans to give workshops in flower arranging herself this autumn. “This event is inspiring to me. Flower arranging appeals to more and more people.”

Some of the sponsors of Fleuramour were: Adomex, Alflora Aalsmeer, Dekker Chrysanten B.V., Dragontree - Dracaenakwekerij ‘De Plaats’ B.V., G-Fresh, Florist Gerbera Breeders, Mediaverdi, Pieter Kolk Hydrangea, Rosefruits.nl, OZ Import, Summerflowers.nl, Smithers-Oasis®, Weerman Bloemengroothandel B.V. Kruisbestuiving



Trends Robotization “We’re getting more and more robots in to do the repetitive, standard work. Human labour is too limited, too expensive and too slow to compete with the computer technology of the future and the ever-cheaper robots. This will result in the loss of jobs for the middle classes. How will society as a whole deal with this? Some economists think everyone should get a fixed income. Other economists oppose that thought. The gap between the poor and the rich will widen. And have you lost your job? That most certainly will affect how much you spend at a florist or garden centre.”

Trendspotter and market analyst Rob Creemers of the Technotrends bureau reads three books simultaneously, just to keep up with worldwide developments. And he reads plenty of news every day, of course. Rob Creemers: “There’s a tsunami of developments in biotechnology waiting to happen. The only thing that limits the possibilities is your own fantasy.”

The biorevolution: as far as your fantasy will take you “The biorevolution is the new revolution. A revolution that relies on computers. For two years now, we can alter DNA using CRISPR technology. This technology allows you to remove part of the genetic code from the DNA and replace it with another code. So, this is a fast and cheap way to create a new flower: you take the desirable qualities of one flower and transfer those to another variety. The first CRISPR plants already are available; they’re made by Monsanto, an American multinational that produces goods for the agricultural sector. There’s a tsunami of developments in biotechnology waiting to happen. The only thing that limits the possibilities is your own fantasy. Whatever you dream up, this technology can help fulfil that dream.”




Ageing population “The 65-year-old of today is the 50-yearold of a previous generation. Technology has extended the life expectancy. In Japan, the number of 100-year-olds has increased the most. It’s an opportunity for the floriculture sector, for flowers and plants improve the lives of the elderly. And there’s a new target group: those that don’t leave their homes any more. You can still bring the flowers to their homes, of course. Maybe even by drone, but it’s better to bring the flowers personally to this target group. Flowers are linked to emotion, after all.”

Internet of Things “Devices that have access to the internet get cheaper and cheaper. They’re replacing human interaction. Talking to a computer animation, your fridge or maybe even your plant. With the aid of artificial intelligence we teach machines to act human, we teach them to reason and learn. Computers can respond to our questions in verbal conversation.”

Climate “Because of pollution, we’ll have to cut back on how much oil we use. For if we continue down this road, our children have no future. We must use less fuel. In the road transport of flowers, use self-driving trucks, for instance. It saves fuel because those drive very consistently. Manufacturers say they’ll be available as of 2020.”





On these service columns we share relevant publications from the floriculture sector with you. Also, there’s a horticultural calendar with upcoming important events. Do you have questions? Or do you want to contribute something inspiring from the ornamental horticulture sector? Email the editorial staff: GROW@royalfloraholland.com

← Only pay what you want to pay at the Florists’ Clock Auction Would you like to see a wide range of flowers and plants on offer, while you decide for yourself what to pay? At our clock auctions for florists in Naaldwijk and Eelde, you’ll feel right at home when you’re a florist, garden centre manager or small wholesaler. The Florists’ Clock Auction is meant specially for clients that make small-scale purchases. Why is buying at the Florists’ Clock a good idea? Well, there’s a wide range of cultivars and varieties available. The products are actually there in the auction hall itself, so you can see what you buy. And you can buy small quantities – a container, a tray or a trolley, for instance. Would you like to learn more? Royal FloraHolland offers all new clients personal assistance as well as made-to-measure buyers’ courses. Check out royalfloraholland.com for more information.

← Updated terms and conditions for rooms that have sprinklers installed The company-wide general terms and conditions for the use and layout of rooms that have sprinklers installed, have been harmonised and updated by Royal FloraHolland. These terms and conditions exist to ensure the functionality of the sprinkler system and to comply with national regulations concerning fire safety. In the updated brochure General terms and conditions - Use and layout of rooms with sprinkler(s) you’ll find all you need to know when you rent or use one of our rooms that has a sprinkler system. Online, you’ll find it at www.royalfloraholland.com/en/ algemeen/general-conditions/.





Publishing details

December Clients’ meetings - information about the New Auctioning Locations RFH Naaldwijk: 14.00, Margriet 6.16 RFH Rijnsburg: 14.00, Pioen 2.2.4 RFH Aalsmeer: 1 4.00, Delphinium 121.56 (the restaurant)

Wednesday 14 December Wednesday 14 December Thursday 15 December

January New Year’s Gathering Royal FloraHolland

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Location: Colosseum Theater, Essen

A new-fashioned trade fair for retailers, where products are presented in innovative ways. Location: Frankfurt am Main (Germany) www.floradecora.de

IPM The largest international plants fair in Germany. Location: Essen www.ipm-essen.de

Friday 27 January Monday 30 January 2017

Tuesday 24 January Friday 27 January 2017

February Fruit Logistica Trade fair for wholesalers and retailers. Location: Berlijn www.fruitlogistica.de

Myplant & Garden International trade fair in Fiera Milano (Italy): www.myplantgarden.com

For more information on all events: check out www.royalfloraholland.com

Editorial office GROW, Postbus 220 2670 AE Naaldwijk E-mail GROW@royalfloraholland.com

Award presentation Tuesday 24 January 2017 International Grower of the Year Floradecora

Colofon GROW GROWis the magazine for members and buyers of Royal FloraHolland. It is published six times a year, has a circulation of 10,750 and is also available to read on www.royalfloraholland.com.

Wednesday 8 February Friday 10 February 2017

Wednesday 22 February Friday 24 February 2017

More information about our new magazine can be found at www.royalfloraholland.com/grow. This fifth edition of GROW has been made by: Katja Bouwmeester (editor-in-chief), Rianne Nieuwenhuize (senior editor), Willem Goedendorp (proofreading), printing office Van Deventer bv, Marcel Bosma (graphic design), Erik van der Burgt (photographer), Nils van Houts (photographer), Bertine van Dijk (editor): Globetrotter Dubai, Elske Koopman (editor): Globetrotter Bilbao and Poland, Nancy Bierman (editor): Trends, Thomas Gerkrath (translation). Photography p 24-25 Globetrotter: photo Thailand by Mieke Haaksma
 p 24-25 Globetrotter: photo Dubai by Miracle Garden Dubai p 24-25 Globetrotter: photo Poland by Bettina Denker No advertising Since January 1, 2016 it is no longer possible to advertise in this publication. Questions? For information about or alterations to the receiving of this publication, please send an email to ledenadministratie@ royalfloraholland.com Printing process The printing process of this publication is met by strict demands concerning environment and health. The magazine is printed on FSC certified paper. The foil used for packaging GROW consists of polyethylene and polypropylene.

Calendar & Publishing details



A fascinating world

The world never stops, so we must keep on moving and changing.

Innovating isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just about looking at what was, but also about looking what could be. We should not be afraid to let things go, and we should try out new things as well.

Profile for Royal FloraHolland

GROW about innovation  

Innovation is essential for entrepreneurs to keep up with an ever-changing market. It can help you to stay competitive, or to stand out with...

GROW about innovation  

Innovation is essential for entrepreneurs to keep up with an ever-changing market. It can help you to stay competitive, or to stand out with...