The Netherlands still thinks that everything revolves around them

A week and a half ago, just before I was leaving for IFTF, I dropped my kids off at school. I bumped into another parent and being aware that he’s a grower and lily forcer, I asked him whether he was going to Vijfhuizen, too. “No”, he said. “I was at the Trade Fair yesterday, but I’m not going to IFTF. Seeing all the activity that’s going on abroad makes me way too nervous.”

Yes, there is a lot of activity abroad. All those tons of flowers from Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Israel. The amounts are huge. And it just seems to go on and on.  There’s a reason why IFTF has expanded so much. The floricultural industry in the Netherlands hasn’t come to a standstill either. Plenty of developments. But the role of global hub for flower trade, which the auction and the Netherlands have had for a long time, is under pressure. Direct trade outside the Netherlands is increasing and there are more and more problems at Schiphol.

It seems like not everyone is aware of this. The World Floral Summit took place last week, too. A great initiative. Important people from the top flower producing and exporting countries across the world had come to Aalsmeer with high expectations. Unfortunately, they weren’t met. The focus at this ‘World’ summit was mainly on the Netherlands. On Jan Rotmans’ same old story of disruption and on Lucas Vos’s FloraHolland. Quite a few industry leaders pointed this out to me the next day. “You’re thinking from the Dutch perspective way too much.”

Let’s hope that the World Floral Summit is going to try and do better in 2018 and that countries will get an opportunity to learn from each other and inspire each other. Preferably in Vijfhuizen, the location of the international flower fair. Or are there more parties who, just like the lily forcer, want to close their eyes to the international playing field?

Arie-Frans Middelburg

Editor Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij / Floribusiness

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