Dutch inventiveness in greenhouses is well known. Nowhere else in the world are plants cultivated on such a large scale. Dutch greenhouses cover an area of more than 25 square miles, a virtual city of shining glass protecting 7 percent of the Dutch horticultural production with a low impact on the environment.
Dutch greenhouse growers are entrepreneurs. Together with suppliers of high-tech equipment, they develop new concepts and test their applications. Many innovations are realized in projects that are initiated by growers.
The focus is on concepts and technologies that facilitate energy-efficiency and adaptability to climate change.
The greenhouse industry has built an astonishing logistical network capable of delivering a box of flowers or bell peppers to a New York street vendor on the same day they were harvested in the Netherlands.
At the same time, companies supplying high-tech production systems have developed into a booming export sector on their own. Encouraged by the government, Dutch growers and greenhouse suppliers are investing heavily in environmentally sustainable production systems, including greenhouses that will produce energy rather than consume it.
Such innovations will not only ensure sustainable production at home, but also open new markets elsewhere.