The origin of Dutch greenhouse farming lies in grape growing, in particular in the regions of Aalsmeer, Amsterdam, Loosduinen and Venlo. The location near large cities was necessary because of the perishability of the product, which meant that a short transport time was of vital importance.
Although Dutch greenhouse farming developed substantially because of grape growing, the Dutch climate was not optimal. Therefore the Dutch greenhouse farming sector had to find a new course because of the competition from ‘sunny’ countries. They applied other cultures, so that Dutch growers could compete with the European market. Apart from this climatological aspect, there were factors that could be influenced. For example, production costs, such as energy and labour, or transport costs.
The potential markets, local technical cultivation ‘know-how’ and tradition also determined the greenhouse farming locations. In the Netherlands the importance of these last aspects has changed drastically in the last decade. Whereas it used to suffice to trade traditionally through flower or vegetable auctions in the region, this is not anymore. Consumers are more critical, distribution opportunities are more efficient and therefore faster, and the potential markets have increased. This has, for example, resulted in ‘growing on contract’, purchasing organisations etc.
The quality of the product, pricing and markets will have to be continuously monitored in order to continue in a succesful way. This market mechanism applies to every production unit of flowers, plants or vegetables whereever in the world