The van den Berg family runs the nursery since 1900. Initially the roses were grown outside, but gradually the roses were moved under flat glass frames, and then into primitive greenhouses. The greenhouses were eventually heated. In 1972, brothers Mathijs and Martien van den Berg took over their father`s business, which was established in Oude Leede. After growing vegetables for a couple of years, they started cultivating roses in 1975. First they mainly grew sweetheart varieties. The roses were grown in the ground, resulting in a very low production in winter. In 1981, the business moved to Delfgauw and rapidly developed.
Welcome to the colourful world of Van den Berg Roses, a name that stands for one of the main large-scale international rose growers in the Netherlands. It is a name that stands for quality in all areas, all year long. Van den Berg Roses is headquartered in Delfgauw.
Outside of the Netherlands, it has nurseries in Naivasha (Kenia) and in Kunming (China). In the Netherlands, Van den Berg Roses grows large-bloom roses on 120,000m2. We grow medium-blossom roses on an area of 700,000m2 in Kenya. 95% of our roses are for the international market and find their way to florists from Moscow to Los Angeles and from Oslo to Singapore.
Van den Berg Roses in Kenya aims to be a social safety net for its staff, their families and their town. It provides aid in health care, schooling and clothing.
History - the Netherlands
The Van den Berg family have been growers since the early 1900s. Their flower growing started in Oude Leede, located in the present-day municipality of Pijnacker-Nootdorp. Back then, flowers were traditionally grown in full soil, but gradually went from flat glass (knee-high glasshouses that can be opened from above) to glass greenhouses that workers could walk in. In 1972, the brothers Matthijs and Martien van den Berg continued their father’s company.
From 1981 onward, the company was located in Delfgauw, where it was gradually expanded to its current area of 120,000m2. To be able to grow roses in the Netherlands all year long, Van den Berg Roses started growing them with assimilation lighting in 1987.
Martien stopped working for the company in 2001 and in 2007, Arie took over for his father Matthijs. Matthijs is still active in the company on a daily basis.
History - Kenya
In January 2004, Van den Berg Roses Kenya was founded at the Naivasha Lake in Kenya. The expansion overseas arose from a search for new opportunities in the rose market. Where the increasing labour and energy costs in the Netherlands put pressure on returns, there were more opportunities in Kenya.
We chose Kenya because the country is on the equator, with high plains and thus differences in temperature. The area in which the nursery is located has just the right 24-hour period of temperatures, which is ideal for growing roses. Lower day temperatures in combination with a lot of light yields good-quality roses.
With the help of the Barnhoorn family, the right piece of land was found and the nursery was built. The nursery in Kenya is run by Johan Remeeus. Johan previously worked at Van den Berg Roses in the Netherlands, after which he followed his ambitions to go abroad by setting everything up in Kenya. He is General Manager there now and lives at the nursery with his family.
History - China
IThe nursery in China was founded in collaboration with Nic Pannekeet in 2007. The strategy in China is to continue to expand production and turnover with a wide product range for the local market.
The following is currently being grown there: roses, boat orchids, cut and pot anthurium, tulips, curcuma and amaryllis. Sales and turnover is 100% locally organised.
MPS A en MPS Socially Qualified
The MPS A label indicates that Van den Berg Roses has the highest ranking within the MPS certification system. This means that crop protection equipment, fertiliser, energy and waste are registered and used following a sustainable policy.
Van den Berg Roses has also implemented IPM (Integrated Pest Management). IPM means a focus on the growth of a healthy crop with minimal disruption of the agro-ecosystem, while stimulating natural pestilence control at the same time.
The MPS-SQ certificate is based on universal human rights and the behavioural codes of represented local organisations. The certificate supports the importance of working under the ethical behavioural norms and is a confirmation of the current work method.
The employees’ children in Kenya are encouraged to follow education at one of the three primary schools sponsored by Van den Berg Roses nearby the nursery. We also have a number of teachers on our payroll.
Clothing is collected yearly in the Netherlands and distributed in Kenya to orphanages, schools and staff.
Van den Berg Roses has provided clean drinking water for its staff as well as toilet stalls for good hygiene. There is a clinic with two doctors at the nursery, where the employees and their families can be examined and treated. If they need further exams or treatment, employees are referred to the hospital. Employees have free access to the clinic and its services; their family members can be treated at discount prices.
Antiretroviral drugs are also distributed by USAID. However, a vitamin-rich diet is essential for the antiretroviral drugs to actually work. Therefore, Van den Berg Roses set up a vegetable project, in which the vegetables are distributed for free to the employees with HIV.
Waste water from the nursery is purified by the wetlands. Wetlands are large ponds surrounded by water plants and reeds with a purifying effect. The waste water from the nursery flows from one wetland into another. Vertifer grass was planted in and around the channels in front of the rain water drainpipe. Vertiver grass has the special effect of water purification; it also counters deforestation and soil erosion, improving the fertility of the soil.
Green farming is a programme set up for the improvement and expansion of the Dutch suppliers’ market share in the Ethiopian and Kenyan market. The programme is carried out through collaboration in research, development and production.
Van den Berg Roses started growing on substrate and cultivation gutters, allowing the water and fertiliser to be circulated. The process is registered and measured by a local student of agriculture.
Since 2014 Van den Berg Kenya has reached the certificate of Fair Trade. Fair trade is an organized social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as higher social and environmental standards.
Van den Berg Roses manages the entire chain from plant to customer; only the last contact with the retailer goes through a service-provider. This ensures transparency. 24 hours after cutting the roses, the flowers are brought to the Netherlands by way of cooled transport. The flowers are custom made to the wishes of the customer on location in Kenya and sent as air freight.
Kuehne + Nagel provides the daily transport with door-to-door service.
The Kenyan flowers are unloaded at the Van den Berg Roses location, at the ABC Center in Poeldijk.
The flowers are unpacked, put in water and packaged for transport during the last check. They are then picked up by the transporter and brought to the retailer.
The location in Poeldijk is an excellent operating base for both England and the European continent.
Strict temperature checks in the logistics chain guarantee shelf life. Van den Berg works with Flowerwatch; together they carefully supervise quality in the logistics chain. Flowerwatch and Van den Berg Roses hold monthly blossom tests and constantly employ new techniques to improve shelf life, reliability and the cool chain.
To prevent cold and heat damage, the temperature is measured three times in each shipment. The first time is at the nursery, the second time is at the airport and lastly, upon arrival at our location in Poeldijk. Before the flowers are loaded onto the plane in Kenya, the temperature is brought down to two degrees with a vacuum cooler.