Zuid-Holland is a densely populated province. More than 3.5 million people live, work and travel in an area of less than 3,000 square kilometres. Zuid-Holland has cities such as the port city of Rotterdam, the government city of The Hague and the university city of Leiden. In addition to cities, towns, villages and infrastructure, Zuid-Holland has rural areas with agriculture and nature, peace and space.
The production of sufficient food of reliable quality is one of the province of Zuid-Holland’s top priorities. Zuid-Holland’s agriculture and horticulture sectors play a significant role in ensuring a steady food supply and in meeting societal challenges such as food safety, food security, sustainable energy and the bio-economy.
In the Netherlands, large horticultural clusters where plants, trees, flowers, flower bulbs and vegetables are cultivated, are referred to as greenports. Europe’s leading greenport (Greenport West-Holland), is based in Zuid-Holland. The region has ranked among Europe’s top five food exporters for many years. Zuid-Holland has four Greenports, each with a distinct own character. (1) Greenport West-Holland, with a focus on technology, trade and logistics and production of vegetables. (2) Greenport Aalsmeer, with a focus on the trade and production of flowers, adjacent to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (3) Greenport Duin & Bollenstreek, with a focus on flowerbulbs (4) Greenport Boskoop, which specializes in plants and trees.
Vast quantities of fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants are produced in Zuid-Hollands Greenports and/orimported and exported via the port of Rotterdam. One key asset of the greenports is the strong synergy with the maritime and transport sectors, ensuring that fresh produce is efficiently and quickly transported to destinations across the globe. The greenport is also forging ever-closer links with the bio & life sciences sector, as the greenhouse is considered to be the pharmacy of the future: an incubator of new medicines. And with new technologies such as robotization, drones and digitization.
The greenport sprovides fertile ground for new solutions to global food and energy issues in metropolitan areas. Therefore the greenport and its companiescooperate with worldclass universities (Wageningen UR, TU Delft, Universiteit Leiden & Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam and with different schools and colleges.Many of the sustainability objectives have a cross-sector dimension: the logistics sector is working on food transportation by water, the energy sector is mobilising thermal and residual heat for food production, and food and biomass waste is being harnessed as a new energy source.
The agri & horticultural sector in Zuid-Holland is distinguished in particular by its high degree of sustainability and constant innovation. Sustainability is a feature throughout the chain, from sustainable production to the recycling of energy and CO2. The entire sector is energy-efficient and makes increasing use of renewable energy. No water is wasted (“more crop per drop”). Horticulture is also a highly innovative sector, with a great deal of cross-sector innovation. The latest ICT applications are used and there is increasing upscaling, thus guaranteeing maximum yields per square metre and truly excellent quality. In this way, Zuid-Hollands horticultural regions contribute to the world’s food supply and also guarantees food safety.
The horticultural sector in Zuid-Holland is a leader in European and global horticulture. It can serve as a model for establishing top-class European horticulture in many different ways. The Zuid-Holland horticultural cluster is of very high quality, and it involves numerous SMEs. It has achieved that high standard through constant innovation in production methods, products, logistics, and supply chain organisation. Growers work with knowledge institutions within demonstration and innovation centres so as to develop sustainable products. There is also collaboration with suppliers in the fields of greenhouse construction, energy and water management, transport, and trade. Scientific research and practical applications go hand in hand, with the regional authorities supporting innovation.
The Provincie Zuid-Holland is the regional government of the Province of South-Holland.