Greenhouse Canada

Rijk Zwaan regains top spot in Hillenraad 100

October 28, 2012  By Dave Harrison

Oct. 28, 2012, De Lier, the Netherlands — Rijk Zwaan has once again returned to the top spot in the Hillenraad 100.

Oct. 28, 2012, De Lier, the Netherlands — Rijk Zwaan has once again returned to the top spot in the Hillenraad 100. It placed first in 2009 and 2010 and was a close second last year in this prestigious Dutch business awards program.

The Hillenraad judging committee, chaired by Willem Vermeend, said Rijk Zwaan is regarded as a leading example of entrepreneurialism both within and outside the sector. It is a solid company exhibiting strong growth, profitability, solvency and an enviable global market position.


In addition to an impressive labour strategy, RZ belongs to the Dutch cream of the crop in terms of its R&D activities, which includes collaboration with the various research institutes and even direct competitors in the Virtual Lab for Plant Breeding.

Its “Youth Ocean” initiative is particularly impressive, said the judges. This creative think-tank of university students reports directly to the company’s executives and demonstrates how RZ is already laying the foundations for the next generation of top-quality employees and top-quality seeds.

There are over 10,000 businesses operating within the Dutch horticulture and greenhouse horticulture industry, varying from small-scale companies to multinational corporations, and from traditional to innovative firms.

Of these, approximately 250 are actually eligible for ranking in the Hillenraad 100, and are continuously monitored. The fact that a mere one per cent of all the companies in the industry make the Hillenraad 100 is an indication of the strictness of the selection process.

According to the jury report, a few of the reasons Rijk Zwaan deserved the number-one position in the ranking included the company’s ability to successfully combine knowledge and expertise from many different disciplines internally.

It also demonstrates a high degree of external collaboration, predominantly internationally, both within and beyond the vegetable production chain. True partnerships and long-term relationships, said the jury, are the vegetable breeder’s top priority.

Director Marco van Leeuwen, who represented Rijk Zwaan at the “Hortigala van het Jaar” event, said the company's focus on placing its employees and partners "at the heart of our approach is clearly paying off and we are delighted to see that this is not going unnoticed. This ranking is a fantastic outcome and we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our staff and our partners for helping to make it possible.”

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